- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

Buyers may be surprised to discover the whimsical touches found inside the stately Colonial-style home at 2801 Brandywine St. N in Arlington. Secret tunnels, princess towers and wall murals depicting flowers, squirrels and birds delight the homeowners’ grandchildren and guests. A gazebo in the backyard provides a covered seating area near a brick terrace and garden beds.

Now on the market for $1,398,000, this home has more than 5,000 square feet. Designed for entertaining and enjoying fresh air and natural light, the home has five sets of French doors across the back of the home.

The brick-front home has a terra-cotta tile roof across the front, with concrete tile roofing over the back of the garage. A flagstone walk and professionally landscaped garden beds provide an impressive entry sequence.

The landscaping continues around the sides and back of the house to the back garden, where an 8-foot-high brick wall provides privacy and complements the brick terrace. Low brick walls define garden beds and offer extra seating for entertaining. A bridge leads the way to the gazebo and beyond to a level lawn.

Guests arriving in the black-and-white tile foyer are drawn into an octagonal-shaped dining room. The walls and ceiling of the dining room feature a mural depicting columns, railings and garden scenes with birds and squirrels resting in the faux trellis overhead. Four china closets are hidden in the walls of this unique room, which also has a hidden door to the adjacent kitchen.

At the front of the home is a formal living room with recessed and track lighting, a gas fireplace and red walls. The floors throughout the main level are made of pale bleached wood, which adds to the light in each room. An arched entrance links the living room with the family room, which has three skylights overhead, three sets of French doors to the brick terrace and two exposed brick walls.

On the opposite side of the home is a library, which also functions as a first-floor bedroom. This charming room includes built-in bookcases and cabinets, a gas fireplace, a closet and a private full bath.

Around the corner is a large kitchen, which has two more sets of French doors to the terrace. The center-island kitchen includes long expanses of Corian counters with overhangs that create a breakfast bar, cherry cabinets and three pantries. Upgraded appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a range, a separate gas cooktop and a dishwasher.

A spiral staircase in a corner of the kitchen leads upstairs to the master bath or higher up to the princess tower, which overlooks the entire property.

Just past the kitchen is a home office separated into his-and-her sections. The white desks, cabinets, bookcases and shelving are surrounded by windows on three sides. Adjacent to the home office are a laundry room and stairs to the unfinished basement, which offers extensive storage space.

On the opposite side of this home is the entrance to the garage, which has a few surprises of its own, including a powder room and a door to the terrace. A wet bar adjacent to this entrance provides easy access when entertaining outside.

A carpeted staircase leads from the back of the garage to a bonus room that the owners call “grandmother’s garret.” Sloping ceilings and a round window add charm to the space, which makes a perfect playroom. A secret tunnel rises from this room to a walk-in closet in an upper-level bedroom.

The master suite features bleached wood floors, while the spa bath has been designed for every possible pampering pleasure. A deep whirlpool tub is set into one corner, while a glass-block wall encloses a steam shower. The bath includes two separate sinks and an additional vanity area with drawers and Corian counters. There is an adjacent walk-in closet.

The second bedroom includes a sitting area, three windows, a double-door closet and a private full bath with a mural depicting a window with a cat on the sill. Across from this room are another full bath and a walk-in linen closet.

The third bedroom on the upper level has sloping ceilings, under-the-eaves storage, a sitting area and a walk-in closet with access to the tunnel to the bonus room/playroom over the garage.

The current owners clearly loved playing with their home and the functions of various rooms to suit their needs, yet the new owners should find the spaces adaptable to their needs. Along with all the whimsical elements, buyers will also appreciate the practical additions and updates to the home.

Address: 2801 Brandywine St. N, Arlington VA 22207

Community: Shirley Woods

Age: Built in 1950

Price: $1,398,000

Home size: 5,100 square feet

Lot size: 0.42 acres

Taxes: $8,107 in 2008

Exterior features: Colonial-style single-family home of brick and siding; flagstone walk; professionally landscaped front, side and rear yards with gazebo, lawn areas and garden beds; brick terrace; backyard enclosed with brick walls; two-car garage; terra-cotta tile and concrete roofing

Interior features: Four bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths; foyer with black-and-white tile floor; octagonal-shaped dining room with a mural on the walls and ceiling; “secret door” and built-in hidden china closets in dining room; formal living room; recessed and track lighting; skylights in the family room; five sets of French doors that open to the brick terrace; hardwood floors; expansive kitchen with three pantries, cherry cabinets, Corian counters, center-island breakfast bar and upgraded appliances; two staircases (one spiral); home office for two with built-in desks and cabinets; main-level library/fourth bedroom, built-in bookcases, closet and attached full bath; main-level laundry room; powder room and wet bar in garage with stairs to bonus room/playroom (with secret passage to another bedroom); master suite includes walk-in closet and spa bath with glass block walls, whirlpool tub, steam shower and vanities with drawers and Corian counter plus spiral staircase to kitchen and tower overlooking garden; second bedroom with private full bath; third bedroom with hall bath; walk-in linen closet; unfinished basement with extensive storage space; exposed brick walls in multiple rooms; two gas fireplaces; intercom/speaker system throughout home; dual-zoned heating and air conditioning; two electronic air filters and two water heaters

Close by: Near Washington Golf and Country Club, close to shopping areas in Arlington, minutes to downtown Washington via Chain, Key or Roosevelt bridges

Schools: Jamestown Elementary School, Williamsburg Middle School, Yorktown High School

Open house: 1 to 4 p.m. May 10

Contact: Associate broker Pat Buck with McEnearney Associates at 703/738-9537

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