- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2000

Ten years ago, when Phyllis and Fayez Khleifat set out to build their dream house in Derwood, Mrs. Khleifat knew exactly what she wanted. She had seen the house in Boca Raton, Fla.

Of course, it was only half the size of the house she and her husband planned to build. It also lacked a lot of the amenities, but it was a contemporary with exactly the flair Mrs. Khleifat wanted.

"Here, everything is Colonial," she said. "In Florida, it's all wide open… . I love the wide openness."

That openness includes not only an open floor plan, but big windows and cathedral ceilings two stories high throughout the main living level of the Derwood house.

The brick house, with 8,500 square feet of living space, has six bedrooms and 6 1/2 baths, including a master-bedroom suite with his-and-hers luxury baths. A sunken sitting room in a windowed bay of the master-bedroom suite was one of the amenities Mrs. Khleifat added to the floor plan of the house that inspired her. Decorative Ionic columns flank the step down from the bedroom to the sitting room.

"I got the floor plan [of the Florida house] and brought it to a local architect and told him, 'This is the house I want, but twice the size,' " she said.

The architect, Gaith Abdo, "used to do palaces in Saudi Arabia," she said, "so that's where he got the feel of the high ceilings."

Now empty nesters with two grown daughters, the Khleifats have decided it is time to downsize. They have put the house on the market for $1.15 million.

The house has formal living and dining rooms, a first-floor family room and a first-floor study in addition to the modern kitchen with a center island and large breakfast nook.

The whimsical first-floor powder room with theatrical lights takes Mrs. Khleifat's use of mirrored walls to reflect light and space to the ultimate. Not only are all the walls mirrored, but so are the ceiling and door of the powder room, reflecting the room over and over.

The master-bedroom suite with its two baths is on the first floor, as is a second bedroom suite with one bath and two additional bedrooms with a hall bath. The fifth and sixth bedrooms and a fifth full bath are in their own wing on the second floor. Three of the five non-master bathrooms have whirlpool tubs.

The sixth full bath is incorporated into a cabana off the rear patio, which surrounds an in-ground swimming pool. The cabana and an adjacent room have exterior entry doors from the patio rather than from inside the house. The second room, which could be a lounge, has sliding glass doors. The master-bedroom suite and the family room also have sliding glass doors to the patio and pool. A full-size L-shaped wet bar between the living and family rooms backs to a window that opens to a ceramic-tile shelf outside, serving as an outdoor bar. A built-in brick barbecue also is on the patio, and an outdoor whirlpool tub is next to the pool.

If all this does not promise enough fun, the house has a recreation loft on the second floor with balconies overlooking the main living areas. The Khleifats have a pool table in this loft and a television in a sitting area.

The floor of the loft is oak, while other floors in the house are marble, ceramic tile or carpeted. The entry foyer, living and dining rooms and hall all have white marble floors. The white marble floor actually begins outside, on the two-story arched entry porch, and continues through the double oak front doors into the house. The floors in the kitchen and breakfast nook are white ceramic tile, and the family room floor is carpeted in white Berber. The bedrooms also are carpeted. Three of the bathrooms have marble floors, and the others have ceramic-tile floors.

All bedrooms but one have walk-in closets, and that bedroom has two closets. The master bedroom has two walk-in closets. All the bedrooms have ceiling fan-light fixtures, as do the study and family room. Both master baths have bidets.

The two-story free-standing fireplace is marble, with mirrored accents that reflect the mirrored walls in the dining room and hall. It has an L-shaped firebox with the long side facing the living room and the short side facing the wet bar. On the more practical side, the house has lots of storage space, including an unfinished basement and a three-car side-entry garage.

The house is on 2 acres across Muncaster Road from historic Magruder Farm Park, which is owned by the Montgomery County Parks Department. Behind the house is privately owned farmland where cows graze in the distance. Five sheep and a goat graze on the Khleifats' property, beyond the pool fence. These are Mrs. Khleifat's pets, an alternative to dogs or cats, she said, because her husband does not want dogs and cats.

Elsewhere, the neighborhood is typically suburban, three or four miles from the Shady Grove Metro station and about five miles from the Shady Grove Road interchange with Interstate 270. It is within a mile of the Redland shopping area.

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