- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Restored to its original splendor, a circa-1787 white house in Upper Marlboro with the two-story front porch offers a slice of American history.

On its three-quarter-acre lot, the historic house, offered at $925,000, feels as if it is in a rural setting. But it actually is in the center of town within view and walking distance of the county courthouse and other historic buildings.

The home at 14518 Church St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has five working fireplaces, authentic period detailing, and the original pine floors through the home. A dramatic center hall stretches from the front of the home to the back door.

Sidelights and an arched fan window around the front door help brighten the center hall. Until 1977, the owners say, the only heating vent for the entire house was in the floor of this hall.

Its current owners, an attorney and public school science teacher, purchased the home 30 years ago and hired restoration architect Thomas Woolen to meticulously restore the home.

While the house is well suited for modern living, it has retained the character of a residence that has been around for 220 years. The current owners have enjoyed the house for 30 years, and the owners before that were in the home for close to 50 years.

In its history, however, the house was vacant for a time and deteriorated to the point that demolition was considered. Area residents insisted on saving the landmark home, the owners say.

Exquisite attention to detail contributed to the success of the restoration. The center hall has a staircase, and it also separates the living room and library on one side from the dining room and kitchen on the other side.

The oldest part of the home, the living room, dates to 1787. It is grand in size and details. The owners say the Italian black and gold marble fireplace surround is identical to a fireplace at Sherwood Forest, President John Tyler’s home on the James River in Virginia. The hearth is Italian white marble.

Impressive detailed crown and chair-rail moldings highlight the living room, which opens onto an adjacent library.

The living room and library were originally one large room. At some point the library was used as a bedroom and full bath. However, during restoration, built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcases were added, and the full bath was converted to a half bath, making room for a hall closet.

There is also a fireplace in the library. Other fireplaces are located in the second-level bedrooms. A large cooking fireplace is in the basement.

The North wing was added in the 1840s. The owners say the wing is thought to have originated as a separate building that was attached to the hallway. An exquisite chandelier from the 1800s is prominently displayed above the table. It carries a patent date of July 29, 1873, and it was originally a gas light.

A door in the front of the dining room was once an entry door, but it has been disguised as a window with a bay for flowers.

Another interesting feature in this formal dining area is a built-in decorated cupboard that works well as a service area for entertaining.

The owners remodeled the kitchen while still keeping the feel of the home’s character. The wood cabinets are timeless and the laminate counters feature wood trim.

Modern touches include General Electric appliances such as the double oven and Jenn-Air cooktop. The kitchen also features a deep ceramic sink and a work desk.

Pine stairs lead to the second-story hall, a room-sized open area that has done duty as a living room. Before the owners added central heat, it was the warmest room in the house. Just off of this hall is a small hallway with a full bath and closet.

Before the restoration, this was the only closet in the home, and it was half the size.

Both bedrooms on this level have fireplaces. In addition, the master suite has a full bath and cedar-lined walk-in closet.

All of the doors in this area have locks that were imported from England.

In the second bedroom, the owners discovered that a false wall had been built covering up the mantel and hearth. The fireplace’s brickwork was revealed when the wall was removed.

Stairs lead to an airy attic room where the ceiling was raised and a skylight and closet were added. The skylight opens to let in fresh air, and a shade can pull down to cover the skylight when needed.

The basement is used as an apartment and includes a full bathroom with a claw-foot tub and pedestal wash basin. This bathroom was once the coal bin, and its window was formerly the coal chute. Although the original floor made the basement ceiling only about six feet, during restoration the owners excavated to make the floor lower for more headroom.

This basement also used to serve as the kitchen and is home to the large cooking fireplace. What once was the primary cooking area is now a laundry and includes a washer, dryer and a 10-foot worktable.

A 3,000-square-foot carriage house with a three-car garage was added behind the main home in 1985 and offers even more usable space. This two-story carriage house has electricity, a television, phone lines. Water and sewer are available for this building, rated for a capacity of up to four bathrooms.

All of the electrical circuits on the property have been upgraded and underground wiring has been installed.

Address: 14518 Church St., Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Community: Upper Marlboro

Homeowner association fees: none

Age: Built around 1787

Price: $925,000.

Size: About 5,000 square feet on a lot of about three-quarters of an acre

Taxes: $5,200 in 2006

Exterior features: Historic home, entry-level and upper-level front porches, long driveway, three-car two-story carriage house, restored brick walkway

Interior features: Three bedrooms; 31/2 baths; library with built-in bookcases; updated kitchen with double oven, Jenn-Air cooktop and desk; basement apartment with private entrance; refinished Georgia pine floors; authentic period molding

Amenities: Five wood-burning fireplaces including a Colonial-style walk-in fireplace with a cooking crane; skylights; walk-in cedar closet; replaced piping and plumbing, copper gutters

Schools: Marlton Elementary, James Madison Middle, Wise High

Close by: Historic downtown Upper Marlboro, county courthouse, Prince George’s Equestrian Center, shopping, restaurants, recreation

Open house: By appointment only

Contact: Martha Brown, Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., 410/721-1500.

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