- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2000

From the front porch, the only sound you hear is the rat-a-tat of a woodpecker high up in a tree. Down the road, horses graze peacefully in a pasture. Across the street, a deer steals into a cornfield, foraging for lunch.

Most people would call the one-lane road a dirt road. It's actually a bed of crushed stone, but it's not as crunchy-sounding as the house's gravel driveway. It all seems too far out in the country to be part of sophisticated Montgomery County, but it is.

The one-lane unpaved road is among the rural roads the county has designated for preservation to keep alive the memory of the county's rustic agricultural society. Rustic though it is, it is a public road maintained by the county.

Elton Farm Road dead ends within walking distance of the house, at the wooded Patuxent River State Park. A park ranger patrols the area, and the Patuxent River flows through the parkland. Across the river is Howard County.

The 5-year-old custom Colonial is on the market, priced at $435,000. Its mailing address is Brookeville, but the house is not in the small, historic, incorporated town that served as capital of the United States for a day during the War of 1812. The house is about five miles away in the larger postal zone of Brookeville, which rambles out into one of the most rural areas of Montgomery County, encompassing the old unincorporated towns of Sunshine and Unity.

The house sits on a wooded lot of about 2 acres It has beige siding with a Williamsburg red roof and matching front door. The door has a sunburst window above and is flanked by Colonial lantern light fixtures and sidelights. A side door and other trim is a Williamsburg teal.

Large windows in all the rooms capture the woodsy view. And two decks on the first floor and a second-floor covered deck off the master bedroom suite are available to enjoy the scenery.

A spacious entry hall and formal dining room are at the front of the house. A wide arched entryway graced by two ornamental fluted columns leads from the front hall to the dining room. Off the dining room is a butler's pantry with a cherry wood wet bar.

A large great room with a cathedral ceiling serves as both living room and family room at the rear of the house, and is open to a breakfast room and the kitchen. A fluted column defines the corner where the breakfast room meets the great room.

The house has two double coat closets, one in the entry hall and one at the rear near the great room. Double French doors at the side of the great room lead to one deck and double French doors at the back of the room lead to another deck. The great room has a fireplace with a classic white wood mantelpiece and an off-white marble surround and hearth. The master bedroom has a similar fireplace with black marble. An interior balcony on the second-floor hall overlooks the great room and faces large windows.

All four bedrooms are on the second floor, as are the two full baths. The powder room is on the first floor as is a finished laundry room and a walk-in kitchen pantry.

Most of the flooring on the first floor is oak, including in the powder room. The kitchen and laundry floors are of beige vinyl. The great room floor is carpeted in beige, as are the bedroom floors. The bathroom floors are ceramic tile. The kitchen has cherry cabinets and a built-in cherry desk. The countertops are a soft Williamsburg teal.

All the bedrooms have double closets, and the master bedroom has a large walk-in closet. The hall and master bedroom have linen closets.

The master bath has a built-in cherry dressing table flanked by two sinks of a double vanity with a triple mirror above all three. The master bath also has a whirlpool tub under corner windows and a separate shower. It also has a separate water closet and a skylight.

A pull-down staircase in a wide side hall on the second floor leads to the attic, part of the ample storage space in the house. The house has a large, unfinished lower level and an attached two-car side-entry garage.

The lower level has sliding glass doors that lead to the back yard. It has a high ceiling and roughed-in plumbing for a bathroom, offering the future owner the option of creating additional finished living space.

As far off the beaten path as the property is, it is convenient to several shopping areas. Laytonsville is a traffic-free drive about seven miles away, with a large garden center and several antique shops in addition to convenience stores, a post office, a bank and other businesses.

For supermarkets, drug stores, a multiscreen movie theater and other stores and restaurants, Olney is about seven miles in the other direction, down Georgia Avenue. The drive to Gaithersburg and Lakeforest Mall is a little farther, but still easy.

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