- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002

When you visit her lovely home, you don't have to meet Donae Eckert to know two things about her: She has an eye for color, and she loves gardens.

Mrs. Eckert and husband, Bob, bought their house in Brookeville two years ago. It was new, still under construction, and the builder, NVHomes, "originally intended it to be its model in the Brookeville Farms development," Mrs. Eckert says. The couple do not know why, but the builder "put it on the market about halfway through construction."

The four-bedroom, 31/2-bath house "was completely framed, but the walls were still open when we found it," Mrs. Eckert says. "I think because it was to be the model, the plan already included most of the upper-end building options such as the very large sunroom, the two-story stone fireplace extensive crown moldings, tray ceilings, French doors and columns throughout.

"We then selected the hardwood floors and tile for the entire first floor, upgraded carpeting for the second floor and basement and added the ceramic cooktop" in the kitchen, she says.

"After closing," she says, "we continued to upgrade the house with interior custom painting; high-end ceiling fans and added lighting; window treatments, including custom Roman shades in the sunroom and remote-controlled [blinds] on the two-story windows surrounding the fireplace."

Planning to stay much longer than two years, they hired a landscape architect to design a plan for the Colonial-style home's 2-acre lot. They were making good progress on installing the trees and other plants in this plan when a job transfer precipitated a need to move from the area.

The result is a gracious property on the market, waiting for a new owner. The asking price is $650,000.

"We have lived at 10 different addresses in 13 years, and, by far, these are the best neighbors we have ever had," Mrs. Eckert says. "With all our moves, I have never been depressed about leaving a house before. We thought we'd be here much longer, and we put a lot of energy into making this house a perfect cocoon for us, but we hope someone else will appreciate it. The first year that someone [new] spends in the house, they will need to walk around the yard at least once a week to let themselves be surprised by whatever is blooming."

It is clear from the time one enters the house that it is beautifully appointed and has been lovingly maintained.

There is a two-story entry foyer with elegant ornamental columns and a balcony on the second floor. On either side of the foyer are formal living and dining rooms. These three rooms and all the first-floor rooms except the sunroom have gleaming oak floors.

The kitchen, breakfast room and two-story family room are across the back of the house. Another second-story balcony overlooks the family room.

There is a third balcony, overlooking the sunroom at one end of the house, from a landing on the formal staircase. The sunroom and the family room have ceiling fans, as does the master bedroom.

At the other end of the house is a two-car side-entry garage in front, and an office at the rear with a ceiling-to-floor bay window.

There is a powder room on the first floor, and a combination laundry and mudroom.

There are four bedrooms and two baths on the second floor, including a spacious master bedroom suite. The master bedroom has a tray ceiling, as does the dining room.

The master bedroom has two walk-in closets and a laundry chute. The master bath has an oversized soaking tub and separate shower, a double vanity and a separate water closet with a window.

On the lower level is a finished recreation room, a den and a full bath, in addition to unfinished storage and utility rooms.

There is a small deck outside the sunroom and a larger deck off the breakfast room, made of Brazilian hardwood and cedar. Above the larger deck is a classic arbor with lighting.

Outside, among the 68 young trees the Eckerts have installed, is a butterfly garden and a 3/4-acre wildflower garden, both of which create views from the sunroom.

"While the house is 'grand,' we have done everything we can to make it homey and cozy," Mrs. Eckert says. "We hoped we accomplished this by decorating with lots of color and an eclectic style, and by trying to bring the outdoors in.

"Our living pattern is that one of us is always in the kitchen," she says. "We cook, and so the fully open kitchen to family room and dining room was key, but there is even sight access to the sunroom and second floor."

The kitchen boasts Corian counters, 42-inch light maple cabinets with roll-out shelving, double ovens, and an oversized double porcelain sink, among other amenities.

"Our landscaping plan had several purposes. We wanted to keep maintenance at a minimum but not to the point of sacrificing variety and year-round interest," Mrs. Eckert says. "We wanted lots of blooms and berries to attract wildlife. We wanted plantings that were different from the neighbors' .

"[While] the plantings are far from mature, we've had strangers stop by the house to tell us how fabulous it looks, especially when the wildflower meadow is in full bloom . The wildflowers start at the front corner of the property and wrap around the sunroom side until they merge with the evergreen plantings behind the house. The wildflowers are easy and inexpensive to maintain," she says. "You seed them in May and cut them down late in the winter. Blooms start in June, peak in August with glorious black-eyed Susans and coneflowers, bloom intermittently through late fall, and continue to attract birds with their seeds until they are cut."

Brookeville Farms consists of about 60 houses built during the past four years on 2 or more acres.


Address: 2112 Bordly Drive, Brookeville, Md. 20833-2123

Community: Brookeville Farms

Age: 2 years

Price: $650,000

Size: 4,125 square feet, plus finished lower level of 2,325 square feet on lot of 2 acres

Taxes: $5,082

Exterior features: Brick-front Colonial with two-car side-entry garage, two decks of Brazilian hardwood and cedar, landscaping including 68 young trees, butterfly garden and wildflower meadow

Interior features: Two-story entry foyer, formal living and dining rooms, first-floor office, first-floor family room, first-floor sunroom, kitchen open to breakfast room, four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, lower-level recreation room, lower-level den, first-floor laundry/mudroom, three-zone propane gas heat, electric central air conditioning

Amenities: Two-story stone fireplace, oak and ceramic-tile flooring, three interior balcony overlooks, tray ceilings, French doors, bay window, sunburst windows, ornamental columns, crown moldings, ceiling fans, Corian counters, walk-in pantry, laundry chute, whole-house intercom, radio and CD player, TV satellite dish, security system

Schools: Greenwood Elementary, Rosa Parks Middle, Sherwood High

Close by: About 3 1/2 miles to shopping in Olney, about 10 miles to Beltway at New Hampshire Avenue interchange

Open house: Jan. 13, noon-4 p.m.

Contact: Mary Kerr, Weichert Realtors, at 301/681-0555, Ext. 124, or 301/774-6640.

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