- - Thursday, May 26, 2011

In 1925, the home at 4512 Lowell St. NW was designed as a charming city cottage in the heart of the District’s Wesley Heights neighborhood. In 1983, architect Robert Bell transformed the cottage into an elegant, light-filled home with a three-level addition overlooking the garden.

The Wesley Heights neighborhood, though it may have less name recognition than nearby Georgetown or Cleveland Park, is sought after for its tranquillity yet easy accessibility to every part of the Washington area. Mature trees meet above Lowell Street in the heart of summer, and neighbors gather to admire each other’s gardens or chat over a glass of wine or delectable dessert at the neighborhood’s beloved Chef Geoff’s restaurant.

The owners of the Lowell Street home, which is on the market for $1,395,000, call it their “big little house” because although the front view retains its appealing cottage ambience, the interior rooms have high ceilings, generous proportions and plenty of natural light from oversized windows.

The home has a deep lot, making room for garden beds and a brick patio naturally shaded by tall trees. The brick front walk leads past garden beds to a covered front portico with columns, and the back of the house includes a deck off the main level with steps to the patio.

Inside, the original cottage has been expanded seamlessly with an enclosed side porch and the three-story addition. Three wood-burning fireplaces, each with a unique tile surround, offer warmth and a cozy atmosphere in the winter months.

The great room at the back of the house is the main gathering place for friends and family, with hardwood flooring and 10-foot ceilings. The room has space for a formal dining table as well as seating areas. At the back of this room, an oversized Palladian window is flanked by two wide floor-to-ceiling windows, framing a peaceful view of the backyard.

Along one wall are two sets of French doors leading to the deck, while on the opposite wall, a fireplace features a detailed wood mantel with a fan pattern in the center. Walls of custom-built bookcases and cabinets flank the fireplace. Crown molding and deep baseboard molding enhance the classic architecture of the room.

The main level also has a sunroom, formerly a side porch, which has three walls of windows, hardwood flooring and a glass door to the deck. Two glass doors open from this room into the kitchen, allowing for an easy flow for entertaining.

The country kitchen includes a window facing the front garden and a lovely fireplace with white and blue tiles. Above the tiles is a white mantel. The kitchen has crown and baseboard molding and an abundance of white cabinets. The center of the room is the perfect location for a casual dining table, a place where children can do homework while parents prepare meals or where friends can enjoy a casual evening.

On the opposite side of the foyer from the kitchen, a set of French doors opens into the den or library, which has hardwood flooring and windows on two sides for garden views. This level also has a powder room off the center hall, adjacent to a side door leading to the driveway.

Hardwood stairs lead to the upper level, where the three secondary bedrooms all have hardwood flooring, crown molding and oversized windows for natural light. These bedrooms have slightly angled ceilings, adding charm. The second bedroom includes a deep walk-in closet with pocket doors, and the third bedroom has steps to an attic storage space. These three bedrooms share a hall bath.

The master suite, part of the three-story addition, has a 10-foot ceiling and plenty of space for a sitting area next to a wood-burning fireplace. This fireplace includes custom-designed tile and a wood mantel. Built-in bookcases and cabinets frame the fireplace. Two oversized Palladian windows offer a sweeping view of the back garden and treetops.

The suite includes a walk-in closet, a double-door closet and extra storage closets tucked under the ceiling. The renovated master bath has wainscoting on the walls, a skylight and a steam shower.

The finished lower level includes an in-law suite with French doors that face the garden and open onto the brick patio. The suite includes a living and sleeping area, a full kitchen and a full bath.

The lower level also has a laundry area, a utility room and walls of shelving and storage space.

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