Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The finest homes in Old Town Alexandria represent the traditional Colonial style with elegance and grace, but few are available with surrounding space for gardens, a lawn and even an in-ground swimming pool.

Now on the market for $3.9 million, the Holland House, at 415 Wolfe St., was first purchased by a British sea captain in 1751. Subsequent owners have maintained the home in pristine condition so that the original craftsmanship shines into the 21st century.

An iron gate opens onto the estate, where lush grounds beckon within a walled enclave. Towering magnolia trees, cedars, crepe myrtle and dogwood offer shade during warmer months. Mature boxwoods define the garden beds, which are filled with camellias, tree peonies, rhododendron, hostas, azaleas, yews, roses and annuals.

In addition to the garden beds, the property includes a lawn and a brick terrace for relaxing, dining and entertaining. An in-ground swimming pool provides the perfect excuse for entertaining often in summer.

In any season, though, guests can be welcomed under a portico entrance, where an antique bell announces arrivals.

Two adjoining six-panel doors lead from the central hall into the formal living room, a double-parlor with raised panels below the chair-rail moldings, which accompany crown and shoe moldings.

The living room has a fireplace with a mantel flanked by shelving and cabinets. A second fireplace tucks into the corner of one of the parlors. Tall windows overlook the gardens from both parlors.

The formal dining room features original woodwork with raised panels and chair-rail and cornice moldings, and the room includes a built-in breakfront and a corner cupboard for ample storage and display of china and crystal. Three windows fill the room with sunlight during the daytime, and a fireplace warms the room in winter.

Two steps lead from the dining room into a small room with wall cabinets, drawers and cupboards, along with access to the breakfast room, kitchen and gathering room.

A swinging door leads into the remodeled kitchen, which has granite counters, a desk and a breakfast counter. Windows on all four sides of the kitchen and breakfast area fill the space with light, and a side door opens onto a small garden perfect for herbs.

Double glass doors lead from the kitchen into the gathering room, which has two more sets of double glass doors leading into the garden. Elaborate crown and chair-rail moldings decorate this room, which includes a fireplace.

The gathering room has in the past been used as a formal dining room. A nearby solarium has a rear staircase to the upper level, along with glass doors leading to a charming breezeway with arched entrances to the garden and guesthouse.

The guesthouse on the property, currently rented, has its own private entrance. Inside are an elegant foyer, a living room, a kitchen and a third multipurpose space. Upstairs are two bedrooms, or one bedroom and a den, and a full bath.

The upper level of the main house includes three large bedrooms, several dressing rooms, three full baths and sitting rooms. The master bedroom has wood floors, a gas fireplace, ample space for a sitting area and windows overlooking the garden.

The master dressing area includes three closets and an entrance to the marble bath, which includes a multihead shower and a marble seat.

The upper-level hall includes a stacked washer and dryer, along with multiple closets and shelves for linens. A generous carpeted bedroom includes high ceilings and detailed moldings.

Off the hall are a ceramic-tile full bath and access to the floored attic for storage. At one end is sitting room, known by the family as the library, which has a fireplace and a wall of built-in bookshelves.

A third bedroom includes a fireplace, a dressing room with multiple closets, and a full bath. The lower level of the home offers storage and a second washer and dryer.

• For information about the Holland House, call Realtor Babs Beckwith of McEnearney Associates Inc. at 703/549-9292, or visit

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