- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

When visitors arrive at Lawton House at 203 Lawton St. in Falls Church, one of this area's most significant historic properties, they will be torn between enjoying the breathtaking scope of the home's gardens and the beauty of the Greek Revival-style home.

This landmark home had the good fortune to have been purchased six years ago by a family dedicated to preserving its charms while expanding its living space. A virtually seamless transition between the original structure and the 6-year-old addition was accomplished with great attention to detail, including an antique post at the bottom of the new staircase, an old-fashioned painted-wood ceiling in the upstairs hall, old doors and antique knobs, matching window trim in the old and new sections, and matching two-pane-over-two-pane windows.

In keeping with their theory that the home should look as if it evolved over time, the new solarium off the breakfast area was designed to look as if it is an old screened porch enclosed at a later date, and a new brick walkway was artificially weathered to match the age of the rest of the home.

Lawton House, set on nearly 2 acres off Broad Street, is now on the market for $1.45 million. Originally built in 1854 by Robert and Ruth Judson, the house was used as temporary Confederate headquarters after the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861.

During their stay, several of the soldiers carved their initials and the date on an attic rafter. In June 1889, the home was sold to Col. Henry Ware Lawton, from whom the home gets its name, although he owned the residence for only two years.

Over the years, the home has had several owners who have renovated the building and extended the gardens. A historic easement dictates that the home and its adjacent lot, which holds an orchard and the gardens, can never be subdivided.

Tulip poplar, wild cherry, sugar maple, black locust and fringe trees cover the grounds, along with an orchard of fruit trees, a formal boxwood garden with both English and American boxwoods and perennial flower beds, and a fenced garden of raised beds for cutting flowers and vegetables. An oval garden on the side of the home includes more perennial and annual flower beds around the shaped lawn.

At the rear of the property is an in-ground swimming pool with a cover. Nearby is the detached one-car garage, accessed from the private drive, which also has plenty of parking spaces for guests.

Multiple entrances to the home allow for easy flow when entertaining guests indoors and out. A wraparound porch on three sides of the home offers shade and sunshine and a relaxing place to socialize or admire the gardens, and French doors offer easy access to the porch.

Off the breakfast area is a large screened-in porch that provides a cozy spot away from rain showers or mosquitoes, but it still provides a lovely garden view. A brick terrace outside the library is an elegant outdoor space, while a smaller brick patio outside the kitchen has a casual atmosphere and currently holds the family barbecue grill and picnic table.

The formal front living room includes one of this home's four working fireplaces, windows on three sides and elaborate egg-and-dart dentil crown moldings.

Twelve-inch-high Georgian-style wood-work lines the lower walls, and raised panels under the windows match the raised panels on the fireplace surround. The original front door and the original back door to the home are near the living room at either of the hardwood-floor foyer.

Across the foyer is the den, which also features crown moldings and deep baseboards. A working fireplace graces this room, which also could serve as a guest bedroom, as it has an adjacent full bath.

Near the den is the library, which has another working fireplace and built-in bookcases, along with a door to the formal brick terrace and oval garden. Extra-tall windows in all the rooms of this home bring in light and frame garden views.

Adjacent to the library is the formal dining room, which has a tongue-and-groove ceiling with boxed beams charac-teristic of the Greek Revival style. This room also overlooks the oval garden.

The new portion of the home adjacent to the dining room features an open area with a solarium on one side, the screened porch on the other and a spacious breakfast area/family room in the center, open to the kitchen. The renovated kitchen has granite counters, cherry cabinets, gourmet-quality appliances and blue-and-white tile walls. Hardwood flooring links this portion of the home with the older section. A pantry with access to the rear yard features a wet bar, blue-and-white tile walls, a large wine rack and cabinets to match the kitchen.

A new staircase links the breakfast area to the upper level, where the hall features hardwood flooring, multiple windows and a painted wood-paneled ceiling similar to a porch ceiling. The master suite begins in the hallway, where two closets with organizers have been built. Inside, the airy bedroom has a wall of windows surrounding a sitting area, with beautiful views of nearly the entire garden. High ceilings and tall windows add to the sense of space in this room, which has a large walk-in closet with a window and built-in shelving. At one side of the bedroom is a private bath with four skylights and several windows, a painted wood floor and an oversized shower with lovely aqua tiling. This modern bath has antique light fixtures and whitewashed wood cabinets for an old-fashioned touch to blend with the rest of the home.

The main upstairs hallway includes access to a laundry room, a thoroughly renovated full bath and an adjacent powder room with an antique sink. In the front wing of the home are three additional bedrooms, each large with a high ceiling and oversized, deep closets. The largest bedroom above the living room has windows on three sides and built-in bookcases. The second bedroom features a working fireplace and windows on three sides of the room, and the third bedroom has a beautifully stenciled floral garland on one wall.

Blending a 19th-century residence with the needs and desires of a 21st-century family is not always easy, but the successive owners of the Lawton House have managed to perfect this lovely estate and keep its integrity intact.

New owners will benefit from the expertise of the earlier owners and need only maintain what the others accomplished.


Address: 203 Lawton St., Falls Church

Community: Lawton Manor

Age: Built 1854

Price: $1.45 million

Size: More than 4,000 finished square feet on 1.6 acres

Taxes: $10,676 in 2000

Exterior features: Greek Revival-style wood farmhouse with wraparound screened and open porches; long, private asphalt drive with several parking areas; one-car garage; variety of trees and shrubs; cutting garden with raised beds; entire property fenced.

Interior features: four bedrooms, three full baths, two half-baths, formal living room, formal dining room, library, den, hardwood floors, some original glass, two staircases, deep baseboards and window trim, detailed crown and chair-rail moldings, gourmet kitchen and oversized breakfast area with adjacent solarium, master suite with sitting area, luxury bath with four skylights, attic and cellar storage space.

Amenities: Gardens with numerous trees and perennial flower beds, boxwood hedges, in-ground swimming pool, four working fireplaces.

Close by: Falls Church shops and restaurants; minutes to Interstate 66, the Capital Beltway and Tysons Corner

Schools: Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, George Mason Middle School and George Mason High School

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Mark McFadden of Pardoe Real Estate at 202/425-4242

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