- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2007

Architects and artists see things a little differently than the rest of us. When others see a brick-front home with four bedrooms, they may imagine

brightening the space with a few skylights, but architect Bruno Freschi has a bigger vision of how to add light to a home.

When Mr. Freschi and his wife bought the home at 932 26th St. NW in 2003, they spent the next six months completing an extensive renovation, transforming the brick-front, steel-and-concrete home into a surprising contemporary oasis on a quiet city street.

Now on the market for $2,295,000, this open, flexible home has approximately 5,000 finished square feet on four levels.

A playground, garden and small park are across the street from this home, located on a narrow one-way street not far from the Foggy Bottom Metro station, the Kennedy Center and Georgetown.

The front door, a dramatic, bright red carved wooden Mayan calendar, opens into a loft-like main level with nearly 10-foot ceilings.

The kitchen, dining area and living area on this level flow easily together, culminating in a Zen garden with a cobalt blue wall at one end.

Tall sliding glass pocket doors link the living area with the garden and can be pushed back to leave the space completely open.

The cobalt blue theme repeats in several places on this level, beginning with the cobalt blue appliances in the professional-grade kitchen.

A stainless steel farmhouse-style sink, custom-lacquered cabinets and open shelving gleam in the kitchen, which has a cobalt Viking refrigerator, a cobalt Viking wine refrigerator, a Dacor dishwasher, a Viking gas range with steel shelves and a cobalt hood.

A curving, translucent acrylic and glass pantry functions as a practical yet attractive room divider between the kitchen and the foyer.

A dramatic track-lighting fixture with cobalt blue shades over the lights snakes from the kitchen through to the living area, drawing the eye straight through the home to the cobalt wall in the garden.

Inside, a dining area has been created at the front of the house inside a deep box bay window with floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides. Parquet flooring borders the stained concrete flooring, which seems to glow as it flows from the front of the home through into the garden.

Curved copper room dividers, set on wheels for mobility, blur the line between art and practicality. These tall copper pieces can be placed to close the kitchen completely or pushed aside for an open view of the main level.

The main living and dining area include a wood-burning fireplace and extensive wall space for displaying art. Modular bookcases line the walls of the main level and can convey to the buyers.

The focal point of the Zen garden is a cobalt blue “pond” of cut pieces of glass, with tiny lights set among the glass to create a blue glow in the evenings.

Two rows of Bradford pear trees with garden beds at their roots lead the eye to the blue wall at the end of the garden. Landscape lighting, a retractable canopy, glazed garden pots and a gas grill all convey with the property.

The main level also includes a powder room and deep hall closets. Hardwood stairs lead to the upper and lower levels.

The lower level, which currently functions as an office, is a flexible space that could easily serve as an in-law suite. This level is accessible from an exterior door, the garage and the garden in addition to the interior steps.

The office has a deep box bay window, which echoes the casual dining area above and includes translucent shades that can be raised and lowered from the top and the bottom of the window for adding privacy and light.

This level includes parquet flooring, a full bath with slate floors and a kitchenette with a refrigerator and a two-burner cooktop.

The lower level also has a large storage and utility room with access to the garden. This room could function as a media room or exercise room if desired.

The one-car garage also has storage space.

Hardwood stairs lead from the lower level through to each of the upper levels, with a window on each landing adding to the light flow in the home. An elevator could easily be added to this home.

The second level, originally four bedrooms, has been reconfigured into two glass-enclosed studios or offices, both of which are flexible spaces that could easily be rearranged into bedroom space.

The front studio has plate glass windows with views of the trees of Rock Creek Park in summer and of Georgetown and the Potomac River in winter. This studio has a full bath attached to the room. The rear studio, which has a wall of windows overlooking the garden at the back of the room, also has sliding glass doors that open onto a unique two-story terrace.

The terrace has slate paving and a new glass roof with lighting for relaxing in the evenings. The terrace is enclosed by three walls of glass so that it is visible from every room on the second and third levels.

This level also has a second hall bath and two large hall closets. Plumbing is already in place in the rear studio, so another bath could be added on this level.

The upper level is devoted to a spectacular glass-encircled master suite, filled with light and open space. The rooms in this suite have 11-foot ceilings and a stained, polished concrete floor, which glows underfoot.

The sleeping area at the back of this level includes automatic blinds, which are operated with the push of a button. Plate glass windows offer a view from this room straight through the upper windows of the terrace and through the sitting area to the treetops and Georgetown.

Looking the opposite way, from the sitting area, residents can see through the home into the Zen garden below.

The splashy master bath is an open room with walls and floors of 12-inch French vanilla slate tiles, with a 6-foot Waterworks tub placed in front of a window with a view of Georgetown.

The bathroom includes an open shower and two contemporary-style pedestal sinks.

The upper level has a built-in ironing board with a light, a linen closet and a hall closet with a stacked washer and dryer and storage shelves.

The dressing area has a wall of closets, and both the sitting area and sleeping area include walls of closets, often covered with creamy curtains rather than doors for a softer appearance.

The sleeping area also has a narrow exposed brick wall, which could be converted to a fireplace.

Aesthetics and practicality blend easily in this home, which offers a glamorous setting for entertaining along with comfortable spaces for daily life.

Address: 935 26th St. NW, Washington, DC 20037

Community: Foggy Bottom

Age: 37 years, remodeled in 2003

Price: $2,295,000

Size: Approximately 5,000 square feet on lot of 1,979 square feet

Taxes: $11,851 in 2006

Homeowners association fee: None

Exterior features: Four-level contemporary home of steel and concrete, with a brick front, a one-car garage and driveway space for one car. Carved wood door, painted red; two-story, second-level terrace with glass roof; Zen garden with cobalt blue wall, pear trees, retractable canopy for shade, reflecting pool of cobalt blue glass.

Interior features: Four bedrooms; 4 baths; loft-like main level space with open kitchen, dining area and living room linked by curvilinear track lighting, parquet flooring bordering stained concrete floor, wood-burning fireplace, rear wall of glass pocket doors, which allow for indoor-outdoor living and lead to garden; finished lower level with office including exterior door, kitchenette, full bath and additional storage room; second level with two studios or offices, which were once bedrooms, two full baths, hall closets and access to two-story terrace; upper-level master suite, with walls of glass, bath with slate floors and walls, open shower and tub, washer and dryer on upper level.

Amenities: Automatic shades in master bedroom; blinds that open from the top or bottom; alarm system; modular bookcases that can convey; gas heat and hot water; zoned air conditioning.

Close by: Two blocks to Foggy Bottom Metro and George Washington University; walk to the Kennedy Center, Georgetown and K Street.

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Kimberly Casey of Tutt, Taylor & Rankin, Sotheby’s International Realty at 202/361-3228.

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