- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

The city of Falls Church, long known for its charming Victorian and Colonial-style homes, is also home to an unexpected treat: a Mediterranean-style villa surrounded by gardens, trellises and gently burbling fountains.

This house might be run-of-the-mill in Morocco, but it stands out in this quiet village.

Placed on a cul-de-sac at 606 Langston Lane, this stucco-and-tile home represents the culmination of efforts of a number of people who shared a vision of a comfortable contemporary style with a bit of exotic flair.

In 1994, architect Robert Larson and builder Christian Dutihl, working closely with interior designer Elaine Evans and the owners of the home, created a unique home surrounded by gardens and filled with sunlight.

Now on the market for $970,000, this home features meticulously designed rooms with comfortable spaces for entertaining and relaxing. A pale gray wrought-iron fence separates the property from the street, and a stone walkway leads past the front lawn to a stone half-octagon porch.

The curving stone walkway continues along the entire front of the house, leading to one arbor that provides a parking haven, while a matching arbor on the opposite side of the home leads to the garden shed and rear garden.

The grounds of this home reflect the dedication of the owners to developing a lovely haven for appreciating nature, and the stucco walls in a “Santa Fe Rose” color blend with the surrounding trees and plants, offering a subtle rose-and-lavender backdrop for the greenery. The color is actually in the stucco, so future owners will not need to repaint the home unless they want to change the color.

Chosen for the 2002 Garden Tour organized by the Garden Club of Fairfax, the landscaped grounds of this home include 11 Leyland cypress trees, a pond with a waterfall, an oval central lawn surrounded by garden beds, and a side garden with a lion fountain. Perennial plantings and stone walkways define each of these separate spaces, and a concealed corner garden offers a secret hideaway for those who wish to slip away alone.

The gardens, pond and fountains also are visible from most rooms of the house, giving residents a feeling of complete privacy. The garden’s design excellence is matched by the interior design of the home.

The half-octagon shape of the front porch is echoed by an octagonal window above the front door, and this octagonal shape is repeated in other areas of the home.

The main entry foyer, a 10-by-10 foot octagon, provides a stunning place for welcoming guests. Italian ceramic tile flooring lies underfoot, and faux-painted full and half columns define the separation between the foyer and living room.

An octagonal balcony overhead allows a glimpse of the great hall upstairs. On either side of the foyer are beveled glass doors that lead into a walk-in closet and to a powder room, which has Italian tile flooring and a custom-designed sink with a brass bowl and tile echoing the patterned tile floor.

The elegant two-level living room has more Italian ceramic tile flooring, crown moldings, a marble fireplace with a portrait light above and three skylights that can be opened on pleasant days to provide more fresh air.

A second set of faux-painted columns separates the living room from the solarium at the rear of the home, which has glass doors leading to the flagstone patio and garden.

The solarium features custom-colored Mexican Saltillo tile, a vaulted ceiling with recessed lighting, and three more skylights, which can be opened. The open design of the center of this home means that guests arriving at the front door can see straight through the living room and solarium to enjoy a garden view.

To the right of the foyer is the family room, accessible through a glass-paned double door. The family room’s centerpiece is a dramatic tiled fireplace, and the walls are lined with built-in bookcases. Alongside the family room are glass doors leading to the arbor and car park, and a wood staircase to the upper level.

More Saltillo tile flooring links the family room and the adjacent open kitchen, which has granite counters; European-style white cabinets, including two appliance garages; and a double-door pantry with inside storage bins.

Appliances include a trash compactor, a dishwasher, a four-burner cooktop, a refrigerator and freezer, and an electric self-cleaning oven with a convection option. Spotlights, recessed lighting and undercounter lighting add to the natural light that pours into the room from multiple windows.

At the rear corner of the home, the formal dining room features dramatic cove lighting, halogen minilights, Italian ceramic tile flooring and a four-casement bay window with a built-in seat for admiring the garden.

Both the rear and side gardens can be enjoyed from this room, and the lion fountain has been placed so diners can hear its gentle sounds during summer dinners.

The opposite wing of this home includes a sunny den or home office overlooking the front lawn. This room has Saltillo tile flooring, built-in bookcases, two phone lines and a large double-door lighted closet. The den also can be used as a sixth bedroom if desired.

Beyond the den is one of the prettiest laundry rooms to be found, featuring blue-and-white tiles, a state-of-the-art washer and dryer, a backup refrigerator and extra cabinets. Along the hallway linking the den to the master suite are multiple closets, including a laundry chute.

The master bedroom features wall-to-wall carpet, a pocket door to the hallway and double doors leading to the solarium. The bedroom features hand-carved wood window treatments from India, a built-in bookcase and two glass doors with transom windows above overlooking the rear garden. The master suite includes a walk-in closet, two double-door closets and one single-door closet.

The dramatic master bath features an oversized shower with a curving glass-block wall and a cobalt blue tile surround, a whirlpool tub with a cobalt blue tile surround, a double-bowl vanity with a mosaic tile countertop and backsplash, and a mosaic tile floor.

The upper-level great hall is an exciting open space with an octagonal gallery overlooking the foyer below, with vaulted ceilings and three skylights that can be opened. The great hall has space in several locations for seating areas and includes a closet with a built-in counter and wiring for a microwave and a minirefrigerator.

On either side of the great hall are bedroom wings. All four bedrooms have vaulted ceilings with angled white support beams overhead adding interest to the rooms.

To the right of the great hall are two large bedrooms, each with recessed lighting, wall-to-wall carpet, a large double-door lighted closet and a ceiling fan. Each bedroom also has a private bath with decorative ceramic tile flooring and a tile counter and surround.

Opposite the great hall, two bedrooms share a full bath that has decorative ceramic tile flooring and a tile counter and tub surround.

The cement-floored lower level has plenty of lighting, high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems, a new hot water heater and plenty of storage.

This Falls Church residence is unique and warm indoors and out and is sure to appeal to the buyer looking for something a little out of the ordinary.

More info:

Address: 606 Langston Lane, Falls Church, VA 22046

Community: Sloan’s Addition to Oak Haven

Age: Built 1994

Price: $970,000

Size: 4,200 finished square feet on 10,058-square-foot lot

Taxes: $9,567 in 2002

Exterior features: Mediterranean-style contemporary in rose-toned stucco, with a wrought-iron fence, a stone walkway, stone half-octagon porch and two arbors, including one that functions as a carport.

Interior features: Five bedrooms; 4 baths; 9-foot ceilings throughout except for a vaulted ceiling in great hall; octagonal foyer with columns; living room with fireplace, ceramic tile flooring; solarium with tile flooring; formal dining room with cove lighting and ceramic tile flooring; updated kitchen with tile flooring; adjacent family room with custom-designed tile fireplace; first-floor den with tile floor; first-floor laundry room; master bedroom with doors to the solarium, extensive closets and bath with whirlpool tub, custom-designed glass-block shower; octagonal great hall on second level with skylights, casual living space; four upstairs bedrooms and three full baths; extensive lower-level storage.

Amenities: Spectacular grounds with 11 Leyland cypress trees, perennial plantings, an oval garden, a pond with a waterfall and a lion fountain; flagstone patio; two-zone gas forced-air furnace with electronic air cleaners and humidifier.

Close by: Minutes to shops and restaurants in Falls Church, easy access to Interstate 66 for downtown Washington

Schools: Thomas Jefferson Elementary, George Mason Middle, George Mason High

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Merelyn Kaye with McEnearney Associates in McLean at 703/241-2577

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