- The Washington Times - Friday, June 28, 2002

Glamour, historical ambience and classic Federal-style architecture come together beautifully in the homes on Georgetown's historic Smith's Row along N Street between 32nd and 34th streets.

This neighborhood is known for providing a haven for some of Washington's most prominent politicians, diplomats, artists and journalists.

Now the home at 3263 N St., former residence of Sen. Stuart Symington and of master builder Marvin Kay, is on the market for $3.8 million.

One of Georgetown's most exquisitely decorated and historically preserved homes, this Federalist treasure was built in 1805 and has been restored impeccably, including most of the original hardwood floors.

Modern conveniences have been placed unobtrusively, so as to blend with the charms of this home, including a convenient elevator with art deco-style mirrors inside, a whole-house stereo system, and state-of-the-art kitchens and bathrooms.

An unexpected treat for an older home are the dozens and dozens of closets and built-in shelves that can accommodate an abundance of possessions.

Designed for entertaining on a grand scale, this home has been the site of elegant formal dinners for ambassadors, members of Congress, members of the Cabinet and the Supreme Court, and other dignitaries. On pleasant evenings, the lighted, two-level flagstone patio and gardens have been enclosed with a tent for a festive atmosphere for 50 to 60 guests.

While deceptively small from the front, this home has more than 7,000 finished square feet and has easily accommodated 200 guests for Christmas gatherings. The owner compares living here to living in Europe, where wonderful spaces are hidden behind walls. The facade of this home gives no hint of the expansiveness of its rooms.

Guests are welcomed in the grand reception hall, which has high ceilings, a breathtaking six-level staircase, and a 50-foot expanse from the front door to the French doors leading to the patio. To the left of the reception hall is a grand salon or double parlor, with marble fireplaces in each room and a set of 12-foot-tall columns that define the spaces.

Art niches and space for book collections have been built into the walls, and French doors at one end open onto a narrow wrought-iron balcony overlooking the garden.

Delightful French-style fabric covers the walls along a hallway linking the parlors to a charming fabric-covered sunroom. Hidden behind these walls are an elevator with art-deco-style mirrored and etched glass walls, and a full-size wet bar for catering with a refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave all in sleek, shiny black. The sunroom has been decorated as a lovely cocoon with soft floral fabric on the walls and ceiling and views of the serene patio and garden.

The flagstone patio has two fountains and has been lighted for nighttime entertaining. Garden beds line the flagstones, and trees and small shrubs add greenery. The garden is enclosed on one end by the three-car garage, accessible from a rear alley. The garage's brick walls and columned and arched doorway resembles a lovely guest home, rather than something as practical as a place to keep cars.

In the typical Federal style, the dining room is placed on a lower level from the living room, which allows guests to be brought to dine together after socializing upstairs. Sophisticated evenings are easy to envision in this awe-inspiring dining room, which has a marble fireplace and French doors at one end opening onto the patio and fountain. The low ceiling has been painted with multiple coats of shiny paint creating a shimmering mirrorlike effect to reflect the glow of candlelight, crystal and silver.

The hardwood floor has been faux-painted to resemble marble. Fabric covers the walls to the dining room and the interior doors so that when the doors are closed, the outside world seems to disappear. A hidden door leads to a large storage room for crystal and silver and large platters, and a swinging door leads into the kitchen.

The oversized black-and-white kitchen includes a multitude of cabinets and a recessed pantry with a second dishwasher and ice maker for entertaining. One wall of the kitchen is devoted to a huge Sub-Zero refrigerator and an equally large Sub-Zero freezer. Adjacent to the kitchen is a generously proportioned informal family room or breakfast room with tile flooring and a door to the front of the home.

The basement level includes stone walls along the staircase and some of the rooms, and has been finished with a full-service fitness facility. At the center of the mirrored exercise room is a wood dance floor that opens to reveal a full-size Jacuzzi underneath. Nearby are a Finnish-style steam bath, a full bath, and a fully equipped laundry room with storage space.

Beyond these rooms lie several narrow hallways lined with closets and storage spaces, including room for another refrigerator and freezer. In addition, all the mechanical systems in the home, including the elevator, are easily accessed on this level.

Upstairs, past the dining room level and the living room level, lies the second level above ground, which has been devoted to the master suite. For complete privacy, the double-door entrance to this suite can be locked. The suite includes a large sitting room with high ceilings overlooking the garden, a marble fireplace and walls of built-in closets and drawers.

Off this room is "his" marble bathroom with a state-of-the-art shower. The master bedroom, done in soft creamy peach and pale green, has its own marble fireplace, additional closets, and "her" marble bathroom with a mirrored and lighted ceiling and an oversized Jacuzzi whirlpool tub. All doorways on this level are arched for an elegant look.

Two more levels rise above this, each with space to pamper friends and family or to expand the family's less formal living space. On the third level is a handsome study with a window overlooking the garden and with built-in bookshelves and a desk. At the front of the home is a splashy art-deco style room, currently in use as a family room, which can also function as a guest room.

Upholstered walls, a mirrored fireplace, and built-in lighted bookshelves create a dramatic ambience for this room, which also has a private art-deco style bath, a sleek kitchenette, a full-size washer and dryer hidden in a closet, and a unique closet with an electric rotating clothes rod. A second large guest room with a fireplace and a private bath overlook the garden.

The fourth and uppermost-level rooms enjoy unique sloping ceilings and deep dormer windows for charming spaces. This level has a full bath and two bedrooms that can be connected by opening a set of pocket doors. A large walk-in closet with walls of storage drawers as well as space for hanging clothing makes a perfect fur storage area, as it always stays cool. The bedroom windows on this level are so high above Georgetown that they offer glimpses of the fireworks on July Fourth each year.

Homes with this level of sophistication require a unique buyer, one who will adequately appreciate not only the ease of living in Georgetown but also the historic responsibility of living in a district designated by the National Register of Historic Places. The owner remarked, however, that while she prefers the Federalist style of decorating for this home, it has looked beautiful in the past with a more modern interior.


Address: 3263 N St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007-2845

Community: Historic Smith's Row in Georgetown

Age: Built 1805

Price: $3.8 million

Size: About 7,000 square feet on lot of 1,230 square feet

Taxes: $17,318 in 2001

Exterior features: Federal-style all-brick row house with black shutters, curving front staircase with wrought-iron railings, private two-level garden with fountains, flagstones, lighting, landscaping, garden beds and low walls for extra seating and flower pots.

Interior features: Five bedrooms, six full baths, two half-baths, reception hall, double-parlor with a fireplace in each section and 12-foot-tall columns in between, detailed crown moldings and trim, fabric-draped sunroom with French doors to enclosed garden, wet bar, lower-level dining room with marble fireplace and French doors to garden and fountain, eat-in kitchen, large adjacent family room/breakfast room with exterior door. Second-level master suite has high ceilings, built-in walls of closets and drawers, a fireplace in the sitting room and bedroom, his-and-her marble baths one with a Jacuzzi tub. Two upper levels of guest rooms have full baths. Finished basement level has fully equipped laundry room, mirrored exercise room with a full Jacuzzi and Finnish steam bath, closets and storage areas.

Amenities: Elevator serving three floors, detached three-car garage entered from rear alley, seven working fireplaces; stereo system throughout home, security system and fire escape, new central air conditioning.

Close by: Two blocks from Wisconsin Avenue shops and restaurants, close to Washington Harbour, Kennedy Center and downtown

Schools: Hyde Elementary, Frances Middle, Wilson High

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Oliver Cowan of Long & Foster Realtors at 202/232-6130

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