Friday, February 2, 2001

Sometimes when owners decide it’s time to renovate an older home, they make a few cosmetic changes to bring the house up to current tastes or they remodel the kitchen, the area experts say is the most financially rewarding to renovate.
Very few people take such care of their home that when the renovation takes place, they lay six inches of new subflooring below the foyer to make sure the marble flooring on top won’t crack. Fewer still place elegant matching brass doorknobs not just in the formal rooms, but even in the bedrooms and storage closets, or have beautiful wood shelving built in the pantry, where it will be seen only by the residents.
That meticulous attention to detail is one reason why the elegant contemporary home at 2820 31st St. NW can command a $1.695 million asking price.
Located on a quiet side street in Massachusetts Avenue Heights between Connecticut and Wisconsin avenues, this 6,300-square-foot home offers public rooms for entertaining in style, spacious and sophisticated bedrooms, and a sybaritic spa level with a large indoor pool, an exercise room, a sauna, a steam shower and a private room that currently holds a massage table. In an unusual floor plan for a city home, this residence has a mostly horizontal layout, with only a small portion on the second level.
Each of the public rooms on the main level has access through glass doors to a flagstone terrace with stucco walls that offers privacy and serenity in the Mediterranean style.
A circular driveway provides a graceful entrance to the front of the home as well as additional parking for guests. A small drive from the side street leads into an oversized two-car garage that is long enough to hold two limousines along with storage space.
The main entrance to the home is through double mahogany doors with diamond-shaped etched-glass panels into a vestibule with limestone flooring and then through a second set of mahogany-and-glass doors into a brilliantly sunlit 14-foot-square atrium foyer with skylights above. The diamond-patterned marble flooring of the foyer echoes the etched-glass panels and leads into the dining room, the living room, the library-family room and the kitchen.
The formal living room to the right of the foyer has a private walled terrace outside and recessed lighting. Nearby is a marble full bathroom with a tiled shower. Should the new owner wish to, these rooms could easily be converted into an additional first-floor guest suite.
The oversized dining room includes 12-foot sliding glass doors to another flagstone terrace, which is placed for easy alfresco dining. The dining room has crown moldings, recessed lighting and a swinging mahogany door to the kitchen.
Eighteen custom-milled mahogany doors with brass handles can be found throughout the home, and the main-level rooms, including the kitchen, have gleaming hardwood flooring.
The library-family room resembles two rooms open to each other. The library portion includes 172 linear feet of built-in bookshelves with storage below. A 14-foot-high cathedral ceiling with beams soars above both parts of the room, and in the family-room portion, sliding glass doors open onto the main terrace.
The family room features a fireplace that has been refaced with limestone and includes a raised marble hearth. Adjacent to the fireplace is a built-in entertainment center with space for a television and stereo equipment. The owner had air-conditioning equipment removed from this space to add the entertainment center, recognizing that it is the perfect location for both residents and guests to be comfortably ensconced on a couch enjoying both the fire and a DVD movie. Twenty built-in or wall-mounted stereo speakers have been placed in the house and connected with a central stereo cabinet.
Beyond the library-family room is the master-bedroom suite, which is 45 feet long, including the closets. A double door provides entrance to the suite, which has a cathedral ceiling, two room-sized and customized walk-in closets and two separate bathrooms. Both bathrooms have marble and tile; custom-designed, framed full-height mirrors; lighted magnifying mirrors; and large vanities. One bath includes a deep tub-shower combination with glass doors, while the other includes an oversize shower.
On the opposite side of the house is the gourmet kitchen, which features granite counters imported from Brazil; an oversized center island; an undercounter wine cooler; two full-size sinks; and stainless-steel appliances, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator, two convection ovens, a state-of-the-art dishwasher, a six-burner gas cook top with warming lights above and a built-in microwave.
Space for a breakfast table has been created just under a window overlooking the terrace, and a door leads from the kitchen to the flagstone terrace, where a built-in 10-foot-long outdoor grill and serving bar await warmer weather. Nearby is a room-sized pantry with handsome wood shelving, including wine racks, and access to the garage.
Near the front door are stairs lined with custom-designed wrought-iron railings. At the top of these stairs are two oversized bedrooms, each with a private full bath. Each of these bedrooms includes a high ceiling and mahogany closet doors, and the full baths have glass shower doors.
The lower level includes a fourth bedroom with a private full bath and a built-in refrigerator and microwave in a corner cabinet. This bedroom is being used as a home office but easily could serve as a nanny or guest suite. Nearby is the laundry room, where the detail-oriented owner has placed a drip-dry rack over a drain and built in plenty of storage cabinets with knobs to match those in the formal rooms upstairs.
Down the hall is the true heart of this home for the owner, an area that has been transformed into a private spa. In the center are an exercise room with mirrored walls and a built-in entertainment center with space for a TV and stereo equipment. An oversized steam shower with seating for several people and a handsome cedar sauna that also has space for several guests are nearby.
Around the corner is a large changing room with an attached full bath. The changing room is set up with a massage table to complete the spa experience. A glass door leads from the hall near this room to the 18-by-36-foot indoor swimming pool, which has 42 feet of sliding glass doors leading to a private garden outside, along with an oversized skylight. In summer, the glass doors can be opened to provide an indoor-outdoor swimming experience. For evening entertaining, the pool room is beautifully lit with eight dual-candle sconces, and it includes a marble wet bar with a sink and refrigerator.
As would be expected in a home with so many pampering features, a security system and central vacuum system add to the owners’ comfort. When residents of this home decide they can leave behind their spa for a few hours, they will find myriad city life with all its restaurants and shops within minutes of their front door.

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