- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2002

For 23 years, the home at 2801 27th St. North in the Balmoral section of North Arlington has embraced a large family in a woodland retreat at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.

While guests have been welcomed at gatherings large and small, this wood-and-glass contemporary structure has mostly been the scene of happiness for a growing family playing in the woods, shooting baskets, practicing their backhands or just gathered around one of the five fireplaces.

Amazingly, this house is only one stoplight from downtown Washington and rests just minutes from the George Washington Parkway and Interstate 66, for easy access anywhere in the metropolitan area. The owner described walking to work in 45 minutes during a snowstorm when cars were stranded. The nearest Metro stop is a 25-minute walk away.

Tall windows at every corner and on every wall frame views of the woods on three sides of the house, and skylights overhead fill the rooms with more daylight. This home is a "deck house" design, a contemporary style that allows for fewer interior walls and more windows, for wood beams and lots of glass.

Over time, the home evolved to create more living space for the growing family, but each addition was carefully planned to include even more window space along with the extra room. The first addition was a three-story sunroom that adds a greenhouse window outside the great room, a sunroom with a fireplace on the lower level, and a recreation room extension with a wood stove on the lowest level.

About 12 years ago the kitchen was expanded with a breakfast area/sunroom with a brick fireplace, a master sitting room/sunroom upstairs, and an additional full bath on the lower level.

Priced at $1.35 million, this home has recently been painted, and there is new carpet and new ceramic tile flooring in the kitchen and foyer. While the home rests on a nearly half-acre lot, the surrounding woods, most of which are controlled by the National Park Service, encompass almost 30 acres. The woodlands provide the focal point for the entire house and a playground for deer and other wildlife. It provides, as well, a backdrop for a family playground that includes a swing set, a playhouse, a "zip line" for a breath-taking trip between the trees and a long slide that slips down the side of a hill.

Multilevel decks and balconies are placed outside many rooms, along with a brick patio and a "sports court" with a basketball hoop and a practice wall for tennis. An estimate has recently been written for a swimming pool addition underneath the trees, if future owners want one.

Indoor spaces for relaxation exist on every level, including five fireplaces, a multitude of built-in bookcases, two wet bars and a wine closet. Hardwood flooring or new carpeting is underfoot in most rooms, while, overhead, the ceilings are always cedar, blending with the woods outside.

Guests are welcomed in a comfortable foyer with an open staircase on one side. Straight ahead is a wall of windows overlooking the woods, windows that form the side of the great room and the adjacent dining room. This two-story great room has sliding glass doors that open onto an indoor balcony that hangs over part of the sunroom below. One wall of the great room features built-in bookcases and a wet bar, while the other has a floor-to-ceiling two-sided brick fireplace. On the opposite side of this fireplace is the dining room, which has windows on two sides including a sliding glass door to a wide deck overlooking the woods.

Near the dining room is the renovated kitchen, which has blue-tiled counters, white cabinetry and appliances and new white ceramic tile flooring. The large kitchen is open to the breakfast area, a sun-filled space with two walls of windows, skylights overhead and a brick fireplace in one corner.

Beyond the breakfast area is a hallway leading back to the foyer. Along the hall are a powder room and a huge walk-in pantry with a laundry chute.

The upper level features an open gallery walkway overlooking the great room and with sweeping views through the upper windows of the treetops. This level has a large front bedroom currently in use as a home office.

The rest of this level consists of the original master suite, an oversized bedroom with skylights overhead and an adjacent sitting room with three walls of windows, skylights and a ceiling fan overhead, and parquet flooring. The master bath includes an oversized walk-in closet, a double sink, a separate shower and a soaking tub. This bath links the bedroom used as an office with the master suite.

Two additional living levels are below the main level, each above ground level. The first of these two levels features the second master bedroom suite, added when the owners decided the children's rooms on this level were even nicer than the upper-level suite.

This master suite includes a private entrance to the sunroom addition, a space that seems suspended into the woods and includes a two-story greenhouse window and a fireplace. The bedroom features a sloping cedar ceiling with a ceiling fan, a walk-in closet and a bath with a glass-enclosed shower with multiple shower heads, a whirlpool tub with a waterfall-style spigot and pale whitewashed cabinets.

In addition to the sunroom and the master suite, this level features a warm and comfortable library with bookshelves built into two walls, a ceiling fan and a fireplace. This library also has glass doors that open onto the sunroom.

A bedroom wing includes one large bedroom with multiple windows and a second bedroom that is L-shaped for privacy and as large as two separate bedrooms. This bedroom has a private outside entrance.

The lowest level features a recreation or family room that has been expanded further with an area underneath the sunroom. The room has a wall of windows and a wood stove in one corner. A large wet bar in another corner has a blue-tiled counter, two microwaves, a sink, a refrigerator and plenty of cabinets.

This level also has a bedroom with a private bath on one side of the recreation room and another bedroom with an updated bath on the other side.

This bath includes a soaking tub and separate shower.


Address: 2801 27th St. North, Arlington, VA 22207

Community: Balmoral

Age: 23 years

Price: $1.35 million

Size: 6,700 finished square feet on .46 acre lot

Taxes: $8,594 in 2002

Exterior features: Four-level wood-and-glass contemporary with woods on three sides, decks, patios, balcony, cul-de-sac location, two-car garage.

Interior features: Seven bedrooms; 5 1/2 baths; two-story great room with wet bar, bookcases and two-sided fireplace linked to dining room; deck off dining room; renovated kitchen with adjacent sun-filled breakfast room with fireplace; upper-level gallery overlooking great room; master bedroom with separate sitting room/sunroom, bath with double sink, separate shower and tub; lower level with library including fireplace and bookshelves, sunroom with greenhouse-style windows and fireplace, two bedrooms sharing full bath, second master suite with bath including whirlpool tub and separate shower, and laundry room; additional lower-level space includes recreation room, wet bar with adjacent wine closet, and two additional bedrooms, each with a private full bath.

Amenities: Skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout framing woodland views, brick patio with adjacent "sports court" with basketball hoop and tennis practice wall, five fireplaces, children's play equipment including zip wire, playhouse, and steep slide built along hill.

Close by: Downtown Washington, shopping at Lyon Village Shopping Center, minutes from Interstate 66.

Schools: Taylor Elementary, Swanson Middle, Washington-Lee High

Open house: Sunday, Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Realtors Tanya Sabel and Brent Sykes of RE/MAX South at 703/823-4487

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