- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2001

When the owners of the home at 1502 Basswood Court in the Chesterbrook Woods neighborhood of McLean wanted to move into a larger home in 1967, they found a house that was partially under construction and had been designed to fit its private and quiet site.

They began working with the architect to modify the plans to accommodate what was then a large household that included the couple, their four children and both parents' fathers.

During the designing and building process, the owners made sure the floor plan allowed flexibility to change with fluctuations in the family. The original owners are still enjoying the home as empty-nesters who can choose to live entirely on the main level. Future owners will find that the residence can accommodate almost any size family in comfort, whether the clan needs lots of bedrooms, private space for in-laws or room for more than one home office.

With approximately 5,000 finished square feet of living space and potentially seven bedrooms, one would expect the house to present an imposing exterior. Instead, it sits unpretentiously at the end of a small cul-de-sac in a quiet McLean neighborhood and resembles an attractive but not particularly large rambler.

Now on the market for $879,000, this family-oriented residence retains a cozy and warm ambience on all three finished levels. The owners have enjoyed 34 years of happy memories in their home, including parties for as many as 100 guests.

The large dining room was designed to hold a large extended family on special occasions, while the country-style kitchen serves as the heart of the home. The owners fondly recall watching their young children play in the cul-de-sac just outside the picture windows of the kitchen and then bringing the youngsters inside to warm themselves by the huge kitchen fireplace. They could all sit around the specially made oversized round wood table that dominates the room.

The owners added a heated indoor pool 10 years ago. A carefully designed addition to the rear of the home holds the pool and yet allows light into the house through the original windows. Colorful tiles line the inside edge of the pool, and a whirlpool has been placed in one corner. The owners have a multitude of large plants lining the pool deck, which adds a tropical touch to the room. Tall windows with brick columns between them surround the pool, and several skylights have been placed in the sloping roof. All the windows and skylights can be opened in warm weather, allowing the pool area to seem almost as if it is outdoors. A special ventilation system eliminates the humidity and chlorine odor found in some indoor pools.

A wood deck outside the pool pavilion offers another spot for entertaining and relaxing, and the woods surrounding the property provide complete privacy. The owners have enjoyed establishing perennial gardens and a spectacular collection of azaleas for spring beauty.

The first level of the residence includes a tiled entrance foyer that opens onto the country kitchen. The kitchen was remodeled two years ago with the input of the owners, who chose granite counters; gleaming light oak cabinets that open on two sides; and two ovens, one gas and one electric, to provide for large family gatherings. Adjacent to the refrigerator is a tall cabinet with pull-out drawers to hold all the small appliances an accomplished cook needs.

A conveniently located laundry room links the kitchen and garage, and the kitchen is filled with light from windows at the front and side of the house.

Nearby are the formal dining room and the large living room, which includes a fireplace and windows overlooking the swimming pool.

The first floor originally held the bedrooms used by the fathers of the owners, but one of those rooms has been converted into a library with a wall of built-in bookcases. The space still could be used as a bedroom as it still has double closets and plenty of space for furniture. Another bedroom is still furnished as a guest room, and the master suite remains on this level. Two bedrooms share a full hall bath, while the master suite has a private full bath with a glass-enclosed shower. All the bathrooms have been updated over the years since the house was built.

Upstairs, three additional large bedrooms share a full bath in the hall. All the rooms on the upper two levels of the home have hardwood flooring, and each of the upstairs bedrooms has charming dormer ceilings and large closets. The largest bedroom upstairs is nearly as large as two bedrooms and could be converted easily into a master-bedroom suite with a sitting room.

The owners have discovered that the plumbing lines in the house would make it a simple process to add a private full bath to this room if new owners want to make that addition.

Most recently, this bedroom served as "Santa's workshop" for the owners' grown children, who spent hours there wrapping and storing gifts for their children.

Storage areas have been added into the eaves all across the front of the house on the upper level. In the basement level, areas at the front of the house also are used for storage but could be converted into living space if additional rooms are desired. The space already has light and electricity.

The lower-level recreation room is spacious enough to accommodate large crowds and yet warm enough for smaller groups and includes a large working fireplace. At one end of this level is a bedroom with two closets and three windows. A full bath is off the hall just outside the room. At the opposite end of this level is another home office with a window overlooking the pool pavilion and the deck. Behind the home office are additional storage areas and a large workroom with built-in storage for tools.

Whether a large family or a small one chooses to move into this comfortable home, family members will enjoy living in a neighborhood close enough to Washington to have attracted a number of congressional representatives, Cabinet officers and ambassadors over the years. The rolling hills and winding streets of Chesterbrook Woods make this neighborhood mercifully free of traffic, yet it is just minutes from Chain Bridge and shopping in McLean and Tysons Corner.

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