- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

Some homes welcome you with open arms and draw you in, begging you to relax with a drink by the fireplace in winter or out under the gazebo in pleasant weather.

The home at 5611 16th St. NW is an elegant, solid structure built in 1922, with character and charm and enough warmth to comfort an extended family and armloads of friends. It has been the scene of gatherings, large and small, with an atmosphere that exudes coziness as much as elegance.

Now on the market for $1.05 million, this 16th Street Heights home is a prime example of a "Wardman home," one of the more than 5,000 homes real estate developer Harry Wardman built in Washington between the 1890s and the 1930s. Known for sturdily built row houses and such elegant structures as the British Embassy and the Hay-Adams Hotel, Mr. Wardman also built attractive single-family homes with such distinctive features as wrap-around porches, hardwood flooring, high ceilings and plaster walls.

The current owners have chosen to decorate their home in keeping with the 1920s style, with a distinctive warm color palette. The sunroom has been painted a deep red, while the bright yellow kitchen is cheerful at any time of day. Both owners are gourmet chefs who prepare and enjoy wonderful meals on a nightly basis, so the kitchen has been renovated with a restaurant-quality Vulcan range/oven, plenty of food preparation areas and both open and closed shelving.

While lucky guests have enjoyed great meals in this home during the past four years, those who visited in pleasant weather reveled in perhaps one of Washington's loveliest private yards. Wood decking has been placed on several levels a few steps apart, creating outdoor rooms for dining and relaxing. Wood benches, lounge chairs and a wooden dining table with a glass top have been placed in the back yard, which also has a brick patio and greenery winding around the gazebos and springing from hanging baskets and pots of all shapes and sizes.

The effect magically transforms the simple elements of wood decking, wood beams and green plants into virtually another world. At the far end is another gazebo that contains a hot tub and twinkling lights placed in the surrounding shrubs. The owners delight in using the hot tub as a burbling fountain when entertaining.

Mature trees overhead provide shade in deep summer, and a new irrigation system waters the garden beds that surround the decking.

This home also features garden beds and lawn on either side of the home, along with a serene front yard and room-size front porch. Wrought-iron fencing encloses the front yard, which has a deep lawn setting the home back from 16th Street and a tree providing shade and privacy for the front of the home.

A flagstone walkway leads to the stone front porch, which has gray-painted columns and plenty of space for entertaining. The porch wraps around one side of the home leading to the front door.

Once inside the home, the sounds of 16th Street disappear. Guests are welcomed in a large vestibule, which opens onto a central hall. Hardwood flooring provides a warm glow underfoot, and most of the main-level rooms have French doors that let light flow from room to room.

Detailed crown moldings and tall baseboard trim add elegance to the rooms, which include a double-size living room with windows on three sides, a French door to the front porch and a large fireplace against one wall.

On the other side of the main hall is the formal dining room, a graceful room with a beamed ceiling and plenty of windows. Beyond the dining room is the cozy sunroom, which has a wall of bookshelves, a lovely arched window framing a view of the back yard and additional windows on another wall.

A similar arched window adds light to the kitchen, a long room with windows all along one side and a breakfast area overlooking the back yard. A door leads from the breakfast area to the yard for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining. The main level also includes a powder room.

A wide staircase leads to the two upper levels. The second level features a master suite that includes a large study with walls of windows, and an oversized bedroom with windows on two walls including a picture window in front of a sitting area overlooking the back yard.

Two ceiling fans twirl gently overhead, and the room includes a private bath with a whirlpool tub. Adjacent to the master suite is a walk-in closet that has been converted from the sixth bedroom. Buyers could choose to reconvert this space to a bedroom accessible from the main hall.

Each of two additional bedrooms on this level has high ceilings, hardwood flooring, two closets and lots of windows. These spacious rooms share a full hall bath with a skylight and a shower with two shower heads. All the bedrooms on the two upper levels have impressive wood doors with the original crystal doorknobs.

Upstairs, the fourth bedroom is so large it can serve as a dorm-style space for several siblings, or it can simply be an expanded bedroom/study space for one child. Sloping ceilings on this level add charm to both bedrooms. The fifth bedroom, currently in use as an office, is also spacious.

The rooms share a full hall bath and have plenty of closet space.

The finished lower level is an expansive space for relaxing with friends and family, with a climate-controlled wine cellar, a full-size wet bar, and two open but separate recreation areas for use as a media room, recreation room and game room. This level also has a full bath and a large utility/laundry room with a door to the back yard.

The owners have improved this home with a new furnace, three-zone central air conditioning, new copper pipes, multiline telephone wiring, a large-capacity rapid-recovery water heater and wiring for cable television.

Whether entertaining indoors or out or enjoying the comforts of home on their own, the new owners of this Wardman house will appreciate the solid lines and quiet of a bygone era.

Details

Address: 5611 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Community: 16th Street Heights

Age: Built in 1922

Price: $1.05 million

Size: Homesite of .19 acre

Taxes: $4,490 in 2002

Exterior features: Solid brick Colonial-style, detached home with original tile roof, corner lot with extensive landscaping on all sides, mature tree in front yard, detached two-car garage, new irrigation system, outdoor shower

Interior features: Six bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, vestibule entrance leading into room-size central hall, formal living room with fireplace, formal dining room, sunroom with built-in bookcases, kitchen with professional-quality equipment and breakfast area, second-level master suite with study and private bath with whirlpool tub, sixth bedroom converted to walk-in closet, third level with large bedrooms and full bath, and a finished lower level with full-size wet bar, wine cellar, full bath, and two separate recreation/entertainment rooms

Amenities: Multiple-level decks and gazebos with greenery and hot tub in back yard, wrap-around front porch

Close by: Across street from Carter Barron Recreation and Tennis Center, near Rock Creek Park

Open house: By appointment only.

Contact: Realtor Michael Bartlett of Tutt, Taylor and Rankin at 202/236-6462


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