- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2004

An exquisite custom home with four fireplaces is tucked away on a quiet street off River Road in Bethesda, with a sophisticated handmade brick exterior that exudes prestige in a city known for its striking multimillion-dollar houses.

Adding to the luster are Spanish slate and copper roofing, a columned entrance and a solid mahogany front door.

The circular drive helps ease the flow of traffic when guests are visiting, and a three-car side-entry garage offers ample space.

Once inside the $3,950,000 home, it is evident that all of the rooms were built on a grand scale.

The foyer, with an arched entryway, is no exception. Durango pillowed-edge limestone floors, elaborate crown moldings, wainscoting and three guest closets are found in the foyer.

However, the highlight of the foyer is an elegant, flowing hardwood staircase with a custom wrought-iron railing.

All of the rooms on the main level have 10-foot ceilings and towering 8-foot interior doors.

Walnut-stained red birch floors add character throughout many of the first-floor rooms, including the living and dining rooms, library and great room.

The traditional center-hall floor plan places the formal living and dining rooms on either side of the foyer.

The living room offers a bay area that has a gas fireplace with a distinctive limestone hearth and mantel. Four tall windows with beautifully designed gold window treatments enhance the room’s formal setting.

The formal dining room is sized to comfortably seat a number of dinner guests. The dining and living rooms also include built-in stereo speakers and recessed accent lighting to set the mood while entertaining.

A butler’s pantry features customized sandstone-stained maple cabinetry with glass fronts, a wine rack, designer granite counters and a custom limestone backsplash.

One of the most exciting rooms in the home is the kitchen, where green granite counters and high-end appliances combine with a host of custom details designed for function and style.

An enormous island and breakfast bar is the center of attention in the kitchen and features custom cabinetry below and three pendant light fixtures above.

Five picture casement windows drench the kitchen with sunshine. The kitchen is set up so that two cooks can maneuver easily, with each having his or her own work space. Two full-size sinks line the back wall below the set of windows, and a smaller preparation sink is found on the island. There also are two Sub-Zero wood-paneled refrigerators.

Among the other appliances, several of which come in doubles, are two Sub-Zero pull-out freezer drawers, two separate Thermador stainless-steel undercounter convection ovens, two KitchenAid wood-paneled dishwashers and a Thermador professional stainless-steel six-burner gas cooktop with a built-in grill.

This kitchen has detailed crown molding, limestone floors, extensive 42-inch maple cabinetry and built-in stereo speakers. An attractive exhaust hood fan, made by Thermador, features a custom milled and stucco design with a hand-painted stone backsplash.

Almost rivaling the dining room in size is the breakfast room, with its desk and beaded wood-paneled half walls. The breakfast room is prominently situated in the center of the home overlooking two arched entryways into the great room and the sunroom.

The breakfast room flows into the sunroom, separated only by a wide-arched entryway. In the sunroom, a full surround of picture windows with transoms overlooks the wooded lot. A 72-inch designer fan accents the lofty vaulted ceiling. Outdoor entertainment options are endless, with two sets of double atrium glass doors swinging open to access the raised deck on one side and the flagstone patio on the other side.

Warm cranberry-painted walls in the great room stand out against the neutral walls throughout the home.

An inviting room to gather in, the great room has a coffered ceiling and a large gas fireplace with cast-stone surround, which sits between a built-in entertainment cabinet and built-in display shelving unit. French atrium doors with transoms allow convenient access to the deck.

The deck expands almost the width of the back of the house, beginning at the family room and ending at the library on one corner of the home.

French doors with an arched design open into the library with two walls of built-in walnut-stained cherry cabinetry, bookcases and a desk. Matching wood crown molding and recessed lights give the ceiling detail.

The powder room also features elaborate crown molding in addition to a custom vanity with marble counters, a designer Kallista commode, a mirrored wall with graceful chandelier-style wall sconces and limestone flooring with a mosaic-pattern border.

A second powder room is near the mudroom and laundry area, where there also is a second front entry door.

Take the foyer staircase or the rear staircase to get to the second level, where there are five bedrooms and an overlook to the main foyer. A 10-foot tray ceiling with ornamental molding and another 72-inch ceiling fan add drama to this airy retreat, where you can wake up to enjoy the backyard view through a full wall of picture windows while listening to music from the built-in speakers.

On cool evenings, the bedroom is the perfect place to relax by the marble-surround gas fireplace. Getting dressed is more of a pleasure thanks to the room-size dressing room, which features mirrored walls, a closet with organizing features, a built-in ironing board, and a dormer window with seating and storage.

The neatly arranged master bathroom, sporting fashionable hardware and light fixtures, is an eye-catching retreat. The whirlpool tub, set in a limestone platform and custom-milled wood paneling, looks like elegant furniture. Limestone counters, a shower with two heads, custom glass enclosures and a private commode complete this bathroom.

All of the remaining four bedrooms are carpeted. Two of the bedrooms have their own baths; two share an adjoining bathroom.

An expansive walk-out lower level has both a full bath and a powder room.

Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, an exceptional exercise room features fully surrounding mirrored walls, interlocking rubberized floors, two ceiling fans, built-in stereo speakers and a television wall mount.

Entertaining is easy on the lower level, where there’s a family room with a gas fireplace, a slate hearth and doors to the patio. A full-service bar can seat 10 people and boasts black granite counters, black stained wood cabinetry and a built-in wine rack.

Additional rooms on this floor include a game room, hobby room or playroom with customized chalkboard walls, two sets of game closets and heavy-duty vinyl floor tiles in primary colors, and a guest bedroom.

Address: 8811 Clewerwall Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817

Community: Bethesda

Age: Built in 2002

Price: $3,950,000

Size: 88,862 square feet

Taxes: $21,833 in 2003

Exterior features: Custom home with handmade brick, a Spanish slate roof, copper roofing over some rooms, flagstone patio, deck made with Brazilian ironwood, three-car side-entry garage, professionally landscaped yard, irrigation sprinkler system with submeter, circular driveway

Interior features: Six bedrooms, five bathrooms and two powder rooms, walnut-stained wide-plank red birch flooring, Durango limestone flooring, designer granites and ceramic tiles throughout, elaborate crown molding, coffered ceilings, library, sunroom/morning room, kitchen with center island, two laundry chutes, dressing room in master suite, lower-level recreation and hobby room, full-service bar, built-in cabinetry and bookcases, 10-foot ceilings

Amenities: Four fireplaces, French doors, brand-name kitchen appliances, three-zone heating and cooling, designer light fixtures throughout, central vacuum system, security system

Schools: Seven Locks Elementary, Cabin John Middle, Churchill High

Close by: Congressional Country Club, near Capital Beltway, shopping, restaurants

Open house: By appointment only

Contact: Marc Fleischer at 202/364-5200 Ext. 2927.

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