- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

When Lord Fairfax granted the land for Hickory Vale Farms in Great Falls in 1779, he certainly never could have imagined the luxurious homes that would be available on the property in the 21st century.

Fourteen years ago, this former dairy farm and stable was sold to developers for conversion into a community of 42 homes built by a variety of builders. Originally, each builder was allowed only two homes in the community to ensure a variety of home styles, but eventually one builder was allowed to buy 10 lots.

Hickory Vale Farms includes a renovated former barn and a renovated Cape Cod-style home, each of which were part of the dairy farm.

One of the first new homes to be built in the community, the Normandy, is now on the market for $1.3 million. The luxurious lifestyle inside this home is matched by the low-maintenance needs outside the home. Homeowners' fees at Hickory Vale Farms include lawn mowing and garden mulching for each home, along with snow removal for each individual driveway.

The all-brick exterior of the home includes a circular driveway with a portico entrance covering part of the driveway as well as the entrance to the home, so that guests can be welcomed with ease no matter the weather.

The owners of the home at 10101 Nedra Drive helped add finishing touches to their property when it was built and enjoyed watching the care the builder took with every detail. For example, the curving staircase that leads from the two-story foyer to the upper level gallery has a long piece of molding along the wall that the builder painstakingly kept wet for several days while slowly curving it into place.

The elegant foyer provided the perfect setting for two weddings held in the home, with a graceful "Romeo-and-Juliet" balcony overlooking the room. A solid wood front door with leaded glass windows and sidelights provides a grand entrance into the room, which includes crown and chair-rail moldings.

The formal living room, a few steps down from the foyer, features 10-foot-high ceilings, dentil moldings, oak floors, and a set of folding doors leading into the hall. At the front of the room is a deep-box bay window, and along one wall is a fireplace with a Colonial-style mantel and a marble surround. The formal dining room, on the opposite side of the foyer, features nine-foot ceilings, a deep-box bay window, a brass chandelier and elaborate moldings, including dentil moldings, chair rail and wainscoting.

Across the back of the home are the less formal rooms that are enjoyed equally by family and friends. The two-story family room, which features oak flooring and a sliding glass door to a covered deck, has a floor-to-ceiling raised hearth stone fireplace. Adjoining this dramatic fireplace is a floor-to-ceiling cherry cabinet with display areas, cabinets and a wet bar.

The family room is open to the breakfast area, which has a floor-to-ceiling wall of windows with five skylights above, and sliding glass doors on either side lead to the covered decks. The decks are connected with a narrower balcony-style deck area, which adds to the ease of entertaining.

Both the breakfast area and the kitchen have ceiling fans. The kitchen includes a breakfast bar, cherry cabinets, white Corian counters, ceramic tile flooring and recessed lighting. This custom-designed kitchen includes pull-out drawers and shelves in the cabinets, along with Lazy Susans in all the corners, and a triple-bowl porcelain sink with a pull-up faucet, a soap dispenser and instant hot water. The upgraded appliances include matching cherry panels.

Beyond the kitchen is a large laundry room and mudroom that includes built-in cabinets, a door to the deck, a brick walkway to the garage, as well as an interior door to the garage and a powder room.

On the opposite side of the main level is the first-floor master suite. The first room entered in the suite is the sitting room, which has a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, an oak floor and a deep-box bay window overlooking the grounds. The sitting room has an entrance to the oversized bedroom, which has two double-size closets and a deep-box bay window alcove overlooking the front of the home.

The carpeted bedroom includes crown moldings and pocket doors, which lead into a dressing area with two more double-door closets. Beyond the dressing room is a large bathroom with ceramic tile flooring, a whirlpool tub, a separate glass-enclosed shower, and a double-sink cherry vanity with a Corian top and a porcelain sink with brass fittings.

The upper level includes three more large bedrooms, each with nine-foot ceilings and large closets. On either end of this level are large spaces of under-eave storage. The largest bedroom, equal to the size of the master suite below, includes a private bath with ceramic tile flooring, and a deep-box bay window.

The second bedroom, overlooking the back yard, also has a private bath. The third bedroom, with a box bay window with a view of the front yard, uses a bath that is accessed from the hall. The hall also has a balcony overlooking the family room, as well as one overlooking the foyer.

The finished lower level covers the entire footprint of the home, allowing for plenty of space for entertaining friends and family with ease.

In one corner is a large library with two full walls of built-in bookcases along with one wall of closet space. At the opposite side of the house is the recreation room, which has two sets of French doors leading to a brick patio, full-size windows, 10-foot ceilings, built-in bookshelves and a computer nook.

At the center of this level is a game room with views of the recreation room and entertainment room. This room has a deep, wide closet of shelves perfect for storing children's toys and games. The entertainment room has a large oak wet bar with lots of cabinets and counter space, along with an under-counter refrigerator.

A brick wall on one side of this room has a flue that allows for easy conversion to a future fireplace or wood stove. In addition, this level has a full bath, a workshop with storage space and additional unfinished storage space.

Additional amenities of this home include three-zone heating and air conditioning, two water heaters, dimmer switches and recessed lighting, an intercom, a security system and a central vacuum system.

A neutral decor and perfectly maintained rooms will allow new owners to move into this elegant home with ease and will also provide the backdrop for easy entertaining in the future.

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