- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2006

After looking at more than 50 homes, Michael and Cynthia Krauss moved to Maryland from Canada and chose a New England-style Colonial in Darnestown in 1987. They fell in love with the open floor plan, soaring foyer and especially the 1-acre wooded lot near Turkey Foot Creek.

Darnestown is at the edge of Montgomery County’s rural north, at the intersection of Darnestown and Seneca roads.

While the area still has a small-town feel and its own village, it is not far from shops and cinemas in the Kentlands and Potomac Village. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and the historic Potomac River crossing at White’s Ferry are also just a short drive away.

Although the Krausses bought the house new, they have taken on a number of home improvement projects over the years, including system upgrades, architectural details, professional landscaping and exterior lighting.

The house is now being offered for $759,000.

The two-story foyer offers a splash of color. The bottom portion of the walls are painted red, and the room is accented by chair-rail molding and a checked pattern border.

The foyer also has crown molding, a powder room at the front entrance, and a coat closet.

Pristine hardwood flooring shines throughout the main level and continues up the stairs and into the second-floor hallway.

To the right of the foyer is a large library that has two walls of built-in shelves and white cabinets. Crown and chair-rail molding helps turn this library into a more formal getaway when reading or working. A set of double doors leads into the family room directly behind it.

The family room is warmed by a fireplace. Pella French doors open onto the deck.

This family room has a direct view into the kitchen and is open to the kitchen breakfast nook near the French doors. A long counter with glass-front cabinets above marks the separation between the family room area and the kitchen.

A rich mixture of cherry cabinets, Corian counters and stainless steel appliances makes the kitchen functional and stylish. Appliances include a refrigerator freezer, microwave, KitchenAid stove, dishwasher and built-in microwave.

Recessed lights help brighten the kitchen at night. A white ceramic tile backsplash contrasts with the wood floors.

An entryway from the kitchen offers direct access into the nearby dining room where orange walls help to create a warm and inviting space to enjoy meals. The dining room also has crown molding and chair-rail molding along with a ceiling medallion supporting an elegant chandelier.

The dining room opens into a sizable living room in the front portion of the home. Slightly larger than the family room, this formal living room offers another gathering spot to entertain family and friends.

Take the wood staircase with white spindles to the second floor to four spacious bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

At the top of the stairs, a long hallway leads to the owners’ suite. The 20-foot-by-15-foot bedroom comes complete with his-and-hers walk-in closets with organizers and a full bath with a whirlpool tub and separate shower.

Three more bedrooms down the hall share a full bathroom that has a double vanity and linen closet.

The lower level has the fifth bedroom with pocket doors to access the third full bathroom. This has possibilities as an in-law suite. The walk-out basement has full windows and offers several rooms with various possible functions — an exercise area, game room and recreation room.

Portions of the basement have been left unfinished for storage, a workshop and laundry. There is also a wine closet. French doors lead onto the patio.

Whether accessing the yard by way of the lower-level slate patio or the bilevel deck off the kitchen, a wooded backyard paradise that crosses Turkey Foot Creek awaits.

The deck has built-in seating. The landscaping is anchored by a lush magnolia tree.

The homeowners added a koi pond and water garden in which they planted an array of lilies and irises.

Mrs. Krauss says that from below the fence in the back yard it is easy to lose sight of the house and immediately feel like you’re in another world that had become a private peaceful retreat for creekside picnics and campouts.

The Krausses raised two children in the home. The couple says the neighborhood, Darnestown Hills, is a great mix of older and younger families. While they say that Darnestown is becoming increasingly upscale, formal and manicured, Darnestown Hills is a more casual, laid-back community where children, pets and older families all feel at home.

Darnestown has a Swim and Tennis Club and an active civic association. Residents enjoy co-ed softball leagues and look forward to the town’s annual hoedown dance.

Address: 14617 Dodie Terrace, Darnestown, MD 20878

Community: Darnestown Hills

Homeowner association: None

Age: Built in 1987

Price: $759,000

Size: 4,000 square feet on 1.26 acres

Taxes: $5,720 in 2006

Exterior features: Two-level deck, fish pond with slate surround, exterior lights, professional landscaping, French drain under driveway, split-rail fencing in rear, shaded dog run adjacent to house, wooded parcel beyond fence, two-car garage

Interior features: New England Colonial-style home with five bedrooms, 31/2 baths, library with built-ins, walk-out lower level, remodeled kitchen with cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances, two pantries, hardwood floors throughout main level, crown and chair-rail molding

Amenities: Fireplace in family room, wine closet on lower level, gas stove, recessed lights, dual zone gas furnace replaced in 2002, laundry room, whirlpool tub, walk-in closets

Schools: Darnestown Elementary, Lakelands Park Middle, Northwest High

Close by: Darnestown Village Center, Swim and Tennis Club, Kentlands, Potomac Village, C&O; Canal National Historic Park, horse stables, White’s Ferry, White Flint Mall, restaurants

Open house: By appointment

Contact: Anita M. Centofanti of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., 301/530-2789.

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