- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Extensive renovations completed in 1998 updated the systems and appearance of the interior of the home at 709 Prince St. in Old Town Alexandria, but the property retains the atmosphere of a place with a past.

The owner says this home was sold for $20,000 when it was built in 1902. Today this meticulously maintained and updated residence is on the market for $2,100,000.

Just steps from Old Town’s main intersection, King and Washington streets, this is close to the center of Old Town’s active community.

The finished lower level of 709 Prince St., now a separate apartment available for guests, an office or rental space, served as a laboratory for the city of Alexandria, the owner says. Lab workers handled blood tests for marriage licenses and for the hospital one block away in the Lyceum.

The lab technician lived with his wife and three children on the upper floors. The owner says the 700 block of Prince Street was known initially as “Doctor’s Row” because so many of the homeowners were physicians.

Nearby, facing South Washington Street, is the Lyceum, a landmark in Old Town. Alexandria’s Web site reports that the Lyceum, now the city’s history museum, was built as a location for lectures and quiet reading. The Lyceum has functioned as a hospital, private residence and office space since it was built in 1839.

Before the Prince Street home was built, the property was part of a sugar factory, the owner says. Before that, the land was used as a mustering area by the Confederate army. When the home next door was built, its front door faced Washington Street rather than Prince Street, so the lot on which 709 Prince St. was later built functioned for a time as the front yard for that home.

As the owners renovated their historically interesting home, they took care to attend to every detail in each room, developing a sophisticated style linking decorative elements with practical improvements.

The residence is eligible to be designated as a historic property if future owners choose to apply.

Visitors step underneath an arched entryway and into a vestibule with marble flooring and a second glass door with a transom. An archway leads into the hall and the parlor. This room has a closet, a chandelier and the entrance to the main stairs. The parlor, between the formal living room and formal dining room, can be furnished as an additional dining area or sitting area because it is centrally located.

The formal living room, entered through French doors with a transom, has a corner fireplace with an elaborately detailed mantel, a chandelier with a ceiling medallion, chair-rail moldings and a tray ceiling with dentil moldings. At the front of the room are two tall windows facing the street.

The dramatic dining room features wood wainscoting with green fabric panels, a ceiling medallion with a crystal chandelier and two tall windows on the side of the home. Double doors link the dining room with the parlor.

Just beyond the dining room are a closet with a stacked washer and dryer and a charming powder room with a chandelier and a hand-painted pedestal sink.

At the rear of the home, the kitchen includes two windows and a glass door to the rear terrace. Bright-white-painted bead-board cabinets with stainless-steel knobs successfully blend antique and modern tastes, and an arch over one window continues the architectural theme that appears in various areas of the home.

Stainless-steel upgraded appliances and granite counters add a modern touch to the space, and the owners added a built-in wine bar tucked under the rear staircase for additional seating when cooking with friends.

The rear terrace offers an outdoor dining space and leads to the home’s off-street parking area. Stairs also lead down to the lower-level apartment, also accessible from a separate front entrance.

The master suite at the front of the home on the second level has been remodeled to maximize the space and to accommodate a luxurious master bath. Heavy curtains provide a grand entrance into the room, which has two closets, two tall windows and a high ceiling with elaborate moldings. An additional walk-in closet with built-ins is off the hall next to the bedroom.

Knee walls and columns have been used to allow for openness between the bedroom and bath so that light flows between the two spaces. A whirlpool tub has been tucked into one corner of the bath with glass shelves and a window adjacent to the tub. Elaborate moldings decorate the space above the whirlpool tub.

A separate shower with a glass door is also nearby, and the compartment with the sink and commode has a window opening so that light can filter in from the front window.

Two additional bedrooms and an updated second full bath complete this level, which can be accessed from both the main and rear staircases. The second bedroom includes chair-rail moldings and a chandelier and ceiling medallion, which match the wallpaper. The third bedroom, in use as a home office, has two exposed-brick walls and two wood-paneled walls with dentil moldings. The ceiling matches the wood-paneled walls, and the room has windows on two sides.

Stairs lead from near the master suite to the finished upper level of the home, which has a reading nook, then a step-down into a family room with two skylights, wood flooring with contrasting wood inserts, a wood ceiling with panels and two walls of painted murals.

The upper level also includes a glass door to the rooftop deck and garden, a two-level space with ivy along one side and lattice fencing.

The spacious deck includes room for dining areas and sitting areas. The owners enjoy their deck in three seasons, filling the area with flowers and plants in the spring and summer. The upper level of the deck includes a storage shed and grilling area.

The separate apartment now functions as a guest suite. The aboveground space could be rented or converted to a home office. The apartment has a small brick patio in the front of the home and a covered patio in the rear, and plenty of living space.

The front of the apartment includes a living room with a powder room, which contains a stacked washer and dryer. In the middle of the home are a full-size kitchen and an adjacent dining area with a chandelier. At the back of the home are two bedrooms with a full bath off the hall between the two rooms. Details such as crown moldings and ceiling medallions continue in this level of the home.

Buyers looking to enjoy Old Town’s lifestyle of walking to shops, restaurants and entertainment will be tempted by this 103-year-old home, which has been renovated to reflect today’s standards of elegant living.

Address: 709 Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314

Community: Old Town

Age: Built in 1902

Price: $2,100,000

Size: About 3,750 finished square feet on homesite of 2,000 square feet

Taxes: $16,916 in 2004

Exterior features: Brick Colonial-style town home with front garden; two off-street parking spaces; wrought-iron fence and railings at front of property; brick steps to garden-level apartment; terrace off kitchen at rear of property.

Interior features: Five bedrooms, three full baths, two half baths (includes two bedrooms and 11/2 baths in separate lower-level apartment); vestibule entrance with marble floor; hardwood flooring throughout upper three floors with carpet over wood in hall and some rooms; elaborate moldings; crystal chandeliers in many rooms; wainscoting; wood paneling in many rooms; formal living room with fireplace, French doors and transoms; central parlor with chandelier; formal dining room with chandelier; rear kitchen with updated stainless-steel appliances, granite counters, bead-board cabinets and wine bar/breakfast bar along one wall; guest bedroom with chandelier and ceiling medallion; third bedroom in main house with two exposed-brick walls and wood-paneled ceiling and walls; upper-level reading niche, family room and access to rooftop deck; separate lower-level apartment with powder room/laundry room, living room, eat-in kitchen, two bedrooms, a full bath and a back door to a private covered patio.

Amenities: Rooftop deck and garden area with additional deck for storage shed and grill; skylights; luxury master bath with whirlpool tub, glass-door shower.

Close by: Walk to shops, restaurants, Potomac River, parks and marinas; easy commute to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and downtown Washington.

Schools: Lyles Crouch Elementary, George Washington Middle, T.C. Williams High

Open house: By appointment only

Contact: Realtors Vaughn and Diane Paddock of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 703/628-2828.


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