- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2005

Winding country lanes travel past the beloved L’Auberge Chez Francois restaurant, leading to Southdown Farm, a private equestrian community of just 41 homes built on 5-acre and larger homesites.

Bridle trails and hiking-trail easements coil through the neighborhood, linking the homes to the Potomac River, River Bend Park and Great Falls Park. The 660 acres of Southdown Farm include an 11-acre horse-boarding facility with a 34-stall barn and indoor and outdoor riding rings.

Two 5-acre lots of gently rolling land in Southdown Farm have been joined to create the setting for 111 Commonage Drive in Great Falls, where a replica of the St. George Tucker home in Williamsburg has been built.

On the market for $4,500,000, this home features an array of authentic details on all three levels, including random-width heart-of-pine floors, hand-planed wood paneling, handmade woodwork and moldings, exposed beam ceilings, and circa-1720 Delft tile surrounds for two of the six fireplaces.

The property includes acres of fenced meadows along with professionally landscaped areas, including rows of linden trees, boxwoods, beeches, magnolias, dogwoods, redbuds, birches, maples and crepe myrtles. Outdoor spaces for entertaining and relaxing include a covered rear porch off the family room, a slate patio shaded by a mature oak tree and a brick patio off the keeping room.

A one-car garage is attached to the home. Space for two to four additional cars is available in the detached garage/barn. The barn includes two entrances, a wall of storage cabinets, workbenches and eight windows, along with pull-down steps to a loft area, which could be converted to living space.

A herringbone brick walkway leads from the circular drive to the double wood front doors, which open into the foyer. A painted pine staircase with handmade balusters and wainscoting leads from the foyer to the upper level.

The formal living room represents 18th-century architecture and decorative elements, with two hand-carved built-in corner cupboards flanking the fireplace, which has 1720 Delft tile and an antique brick hearth. Faux-marble pilasters accent the fireplace, and the ceilings include complex moldings with stepped corners.

The formal dining room, planned and built by Stuart Worthing, a master carpenter and former architectural historian, features detailed moldings, a hand-carved corner cupboard, concealed china cabinets and an antique brick hearth fireplace with 1720 Delft tile surround and faux-marble pilasters. An 18th-century painting on pine board is incorporated into the paneling above the fireplace.

At one end of the home is a step-down family room with a 10-foot ceiling, a brick fireplace fitted with a wood stove and French doors leading to the covered porch.

In one corner of this room, the owners installed a reproduction of Colonial Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern bar, which includes a sink, refrigerator, counter and storage. Nearby is a library with double windows framing a view of the meadow; built-in bookcases; and storage closets, including one with a safe.

The emotional and physical center of this home is the combined center-island kitchen, breakfast area and keeping room.

Vermont soapstone counters blend with custom heart-of-pine cupboards and exposed-beam ceilings to create a warm kitchen with professional-grade appliances.

The center island includes a heart-of-pine top, and a six-window bay affords a sweeping view of the meadow.

The kitchen includes pullouts and lazy Susan features in the cabinets, plus a pantry with storage bins and a message center and desk area with cabinets above and below.

The breakfast area features tall triple windows and an exposed-beam ceiling. The keeping room has a brick fireplace, a Dutch door to the patio and an exposed-beam ceiling.

At the rear of the home is a large family entrance/mudroom with storage closets and a laundry alcove, along with one of the two full baths on the main level. Off the mudroom is a slate patio.

Upstairs, a large landing provides a reading nook, a storage closet and the entrance to the attic stairs. The attic extends across the entire 50-foot width of the main part of the house and includes storage space and a cedar closet. The attic easily could be finished to add living space with 9-foot ceilings.

The master suite occupies one end of the upper level and includes a bedroom with two windows, a walk-in closet and a brick fireplace. The adjacent sitting room includes a wall of custom cabinets and bookshelves centered around a fireplace with a mantel.

One lower cabinet conceals a firewood elevator to easily transport wood from the lower level. A wall of windows in the sitting room overlooks the back yard, while two deep dormer windows overlook the front yard. Additional closets are also in this room.

The luxurious master bath has heart-of-pine flooring, bead-board paneling, marble counters, separate vanities, a whirlpool tub and a large glass-enclosed shower.

Two additional bedrooms on this level share a connecting bath.

The fourth bedroom includes two closets and a door to a bath that also is accessible from the hall. The fifth bedroom has a charming sloping ceiling and two dormer windows, one with a built-in desk and one with a built-in window seat. The rear stairs leading to the family room are nearby.

The lower level features a recreation room with an antique brick floor, a beamed ceiling and a rear wall with built-in cabinetry. One end of this room has been outfitted with an authentic antique buttery — a storeroom for provisions — preserved and reassembled from a house in Cape Cod.

Next to the buttery is a temperature-controlled wine cellar with shelving to accommodate 3,600 bottles of wine. An unfinished storage area and workshop complete this level.

Whether future owners choose an equestrian lifestyle or just want to enjoy the meadows and woods that surround their home, they likely will appreciate the extensive attention to detail of the current owners.

Each doorknob and handle in the home has been chosen to blend with the Colonial-style rooms and the extensive custom-crafted woodwork.

Address: 111 Commonage Drive, Great Falls, VA 22066

Community: Southdown Farm

Age: Built in 1978

Price: $4,500,000

Size: About 5,000 finished square feet on 10 acres (two 5-acre lots)

Taxes: $13,348 in 2004

Exterior features: Williamsburg Colonial-style home with herringbone brick walkway, circular front drive; one-car attached garage and two-to-four car detached garage/barn with storage and loft area; professional landscaping

Interior features: Five bedrooms; five full baths; hardwood flooring throughout; foyer with pine staircase; formal living room; formal dining room; step-down family room; center-island kitchen with exposed-beam ceiling, adjoining breakfast area and keeping room; library; large mudroom with beamed ceiling, closets, laundry alcove; two full baths on main level; upper-level foyer with closet and reading area; master suite with bath, large bedroom and separate sitting room, each with fireplace; full attic with cedar closet; lower-level recreation room with antique brick floor and large unfinished storage area/workshop

Amenities: Covered rear porch, slate patio, brick patio, six fireplaces, wine cellar with space for 3,600 bottles, security system

Close by: Great Falls Village, Reston, Tysons Corner, McLean

Schools: Great Falls Elementary, Cooper Middle, Langley High

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Dan Laytham of Long & Foster Realtors in Great Falls, 703/759-9190

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