Friday, August 1, 2014

Last month 100 lucky readers got to step into the gorgeous modernist home on the cover of the January/February issue of R.Home. We had a huge response to this tour, with the waiting list a mile long. But wait no longer: When In R.Home takes you on the tour...

The circular dirve entering the Rice House. The home was built in 1964 for Inger and Walter Rice by California architect Richard Neutra. It's one of few homes designed by him on the East Coast.


Entering the front door. The exterior and several interior walls are made of marble from Georgia.


The cantilevered steps take you up to the living quarters upstairs. Downstairs were the children's bedrooms and maid's quarters. The mirrored wall gives visitors a view of the James River, even when climbing the stairs.


Upstairs looking down the steps. The flocked wallpaper was a great '60s touch added by the Rice family and the Capiz-shell chandelier they found in Indonesia. Walter Rice was an ambassador and they brought back many treasures from their travels. 


The house was given by the family to the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation. The foundation is now working, with the help of architects, on a strategic plan for the home. Here Julia Blair Spalding and Robin Moncol of were on hand for our tour to answer any questions and take donations. If you'd like to donate to the refurbishment of the home, contact (804) 861-1541 or


Here architect Steven Reiss of Irvington came in for the tour. He stands with friend Julie Sarver, at the edge of the sunken fireplace. Neutra designed a reflecting pool, rather than a fire screen, to catch sparks from the fireplace. Reflecting pools were one of his signatures and he used them on the home's terraces. On either side of the fireplace are huge panes of glass looking out to a terrace on the west side. 

On that west terrace, you can see the other side of the fireplace. 


Inside, at the top of the stairs, a teak bar area made for easy serving at the Rice's many parties. Here architects Katie and Danny MacNelly chat with the SMVF's Robin Moncol. Outside those sliding-glass doors... 


a terrace and view of the James River. Pony Pasture is across the way.

Looking back at the house from the pool area you can see how it's set in a rocky outcrop. On the bottom level of the home, the children's rooms looked out onto the pool and river beyond.

Julia Carr, executive director of the Science Museum Foundation, talks with tour guests on the large terrace outside the living room.  

One of my favorite pictures: Here you can see how dramatic that terrace is outside the living room. And how large the glass panes are. Truly a stunning view! Also notice the reflecting pools around the terrace. Neutra favored those instead of hand rails. 

Isabel and Katie Benson teetering on the edge of the terrace. 

The living room features a Neutra-designed sofa and terrazzo floor. Walter Rice loved to dance and the living room was the stage.  

Outside on the grass next to the house visitors gaze up at the house. The room to the left was one of the children's — you can see how dramatic their rooms were, with two walls of glass. The covered swimming pool is below.  



From the other side of the circular drive. That wraps the tour, we hope you enjoyed it. 

The next R.Home tour is Sunday, April 26 at 1 p.m. at interior designer Jenny Andrews' home. See the feature on her home in the March/April issue of R.Home. To reserve a spot on the tour email


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