- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2003

When Washingtonians first began building homes in the Palisades neighborhood of Northwest Washington, the homes were designed to take advantage of the breezes from the Potomac River and the C&O; Canal and from the area’s elevated location.

Tall and wide windows were installed on all four sides of the homes in this neighborhood, along with sleeping porches for summer evenings and wrap-around porches for enjoying the shade on a summer afternoon.

All these design elements appeal just as deeply to the 21st century residents of this charming neighborhood located along MacArthur Boulevard. In addition to the blend of Victorian, Colonial and Cape Cod-style homes, the Palisades neighborhood includes many shops and restaurants within convenient walking distance of the homes, along with parks and the C&O; Canal.

One of the neighborhood’s sweetest Victorian farmhouses, at 5632 MacArthur Blvd. on the corner of Manning Place, has been restored to its original grandeur by the owners during the past two years. Now on the market for $1,169,900, this home includes almost 6,000 finished square feet of living space, both casual and formal.

The butter-colored corner farmhouse is surrounded by landscaped gardens and outdoor living space, the most spectacular of which is the deep porch that wraps around three sides of the home and has access to four rooms. Varying from 10 to 15 feet deep in some places, this porch has a deep sloping bead-board ceiling and is surrounded by a low wall with columns.

Boxwood hedges and other shrubbery provide additional shade and privacy for this porch, and the wall can serve as extra seating during large outdoor parties.

In addition to the porch, a set of brick steps off one side of the home leads to a secluded brick patio with a rustic built-in barbecue. A brick path curves away from this patio and around the rear of the house and is surrounded by perennial plants, including roses and herbs, a pear tree, lilacs, hydrangeas and boxwoods.

An oval central lawn surrounded by garden beds could be converted to a swimming pool, if desired, and other lawn and shrubbery areas could be developed into a garage by future owners. Currently the home has a driveway and carport for one car.

The owners spent the past two years renovating the interior of the home, adding archways off the foyer and crown moldings in many of the rooms in keeping with the home’s architectural period.

Perhaps the most dramatic change was adding a two-sided fireplace between the foyer and family room, so that when guests arrive on a chilly evening their first welcome sight is a glowing wood-burning fireplace with a marble hearth and surround.

Identical arches flank the fireplace and offer entrance to the family room, while on the opposite side of the foyer, a wider arch frames the entrance to the formal living room.

Throughout the main and upper levels, the rooms are given a sense of grandeur by their 10-foot ceilings, and in the foyer and other main-level rooms, the hardwood flooring has been refinished. The formal living room includes elegant dentil moldings and a wood-burning fireplace with a marble hearth and surround.

The family room, a comfortable room on the opposite side of the foyer, features the other side of the two-sided wood-burning fireplace, including a marble hearth and surround. This room also has three tall windows, hardwood flooring and oversized moldings.

The banquet-size formal dining room, accessible from the hall, also has a doorway to the living room, a glass door to the porch, and a swing door to the kitchen. This elegant room, which easily seats 12 to 15 guests, features dentil crown moldings and chair-rail moldings.

The kitchen, with renovations recently completed, has a charming touch of the old house — a narrow exposed brick wall. New bamboo flooring set on an angle adds light and drama. The kitchen has granite counters, hardwood and glass-front cabinets and three unusual awning-style windows that open out for maximum fresh air and light. These picture windows have three-paned transom windows above.

This custom kitchen includes a 10-foot center island, two under-mount sinks, recessed and task lighting, and stainless steel appliances, including a Jenn-Air gas range/oven with convection cooking, a stainless steel range hood with an exhaust system, a dishwasher, and an Amana refrigerator with a lower freezer door.

Near the kitchen are both the front and rear wood staircases, a mudroom with access to the back yard, and two walk-in storage/coat closets along the hall.

The main level also includes a charming retreat tucked behind the stairs, a suite that currently functions as a reading and play room. This corner room has four tall windows on two sides of the room overlooking the garden, hardwood flooring and a 10-foot ceiling. A closet and adjacent full bath are part of the suite, which can function as a guest bedroom or a den or a home office.

The upper level includes five bedrooms and three full baths. Each bedroom has refinished hardwood flooring and 10-foot-high ceilings, and many have ceiling fans. Two of the three baths have been renovated.

The master suite includes a large bedroom with a ceiling fan and built-in bookcases, a dressing area and two walk-in closets.

The dressing area opens onto a private covered balcony overlooking the garden, accessible through a wood door with a large oval glass insert that frames the garden view. The private bath for this bedroom includes built-in corner shelving and a combination tub/shower with tile flooring and surround.

A second bath, also accessible from the hallway, has new bamboo flooring, the original claw-foot tub and a new pedestal sink.

The front bedroom, currently in use as a home office, has windows on two sides, a ceiling fan, a closet and built-in shelving hidden behind shutter doors. The other front bedroom includes high ceilings and hardwood flooring. Between these two rooms is the hall bath, which has a linen closet and a combination tub/shower with ceramic tile flooring and surround.

The fourth bedroom, nearly as large as the master bedroom, includes dentil crown mouldings along the edge of the high ceiling. The fifth bedroom, nestled in the back corner of the home overlooking the garden, has been dramatically transformed by the owners, who raised the ceiling up to the rafters for a peaked cathedral ceiling leaving some of the wood beams exposed.

This room has an exposed brick wall, a porthole window, and a private covered balcony reached through a glass door. An additional storage room off this bedroom could function as a future upper-level laundry room or darkroom, as it already has a sink.

The unfinished lower level has plenty of additional storage space, along with room for a workshop and a laundry area. The owners added new central air conditioning and a security system recently.

Architecturally interesting rooms with arched and exposed ceilings, nooks for enjoying the sun from inside or outside the house, and, of course, the dramatically wide porch that functions as an outdoor living space are all reasons to enjoy this Palisades home.

But perhaps best of all would be to live within walking distance of natural delights in local parks and at the C&O; Canal, and within city delights along MacArthur Boulevard.

More info:

Address: 5632 MacArthur Blvd. NW, Washington, DC 20016

Community: Palisades

Age: Built in 1919

Price: $1,169,900

Size: About 6,000 finished square feet on lot of 7,723 square feet

Taxes: $5,367 in 2002

Exterior features: Wood Victorian-style farmhouse with deep wrap-around porch; brick side patio with built-in barbecue; oval lawn surrounded by garden beds; side garden; one-car carport

Interior features: Six bedrooms; four full baths; elegant open foyer with arches and marble fireplace; formal living room; family room; formal dining room; new kitchen; first-level den or guest suite with full bath and closet space; mudroom accessible to kitchen and hallway; two hardwood staircases; five upper-level bedrooms with three full baths; two private covered balconies overlooking garden; unfinished lower level with ample workshop, laundry room and storage space.

Amenities: Deep wood front porch on three sides of house with bead-board ceiling; three fireplaces; new central air conditioning; crown moldings; new windows; refinished hardwood flooring; ceiling fans in multiple rooms; security system.

Close by: Walk to C&O; Canal, shops and restaurants of the Palisades neighborhood; five minutes to Georgetown; easy access to downtown Washington and to Virginia via Chain Bridge.

Open house: Sunday, Sept. 21, 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Realtors Leigh Reed and Jamie Coley of Long & Foster Realtors, 202/333-4107.

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