- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Wednesday’s preview party for the National Symphony Orchestra Decorators’ Show House brought a Latin American political dynasty back to its family home.

The Neo-Georgian brick mansion called Ayrlawn was built in 1992 for the late Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa, a former ambassador from Nicaragua and longtime dean of the diplomatic corps, and his wife Lillian Somoza de Sevilla-Sacasa, the daughter and sister of two Nicaraguan dictators, Anastasio Somoza Garcia and Anastasio Somoza Debayle. After the Sandinistas seized control of their government, the couple remained in Washington and used the 11-bedroom, 16,672-square-foot house in the Kentdale Estates neighborhood of Potomac as their own private embassy and family sanctuary until Mrs. Sevilla-Sacasa’s death in 2003.

Several of the late owners’ descendants returned to inspect its dramatic transformation by 25 local designers. “My mother would have loved the master bedroom,” said Lorena Sevilla-Somoza, marveling over its serene aqua interior by designer Annette Hannon. Her sisters Julia Sevilla Hopping, who married plastic surgeon Steven Hopping in the house, and Edda Sevilla-Somoza gave their stamp of approval to the renovated kitchen with crystal chandeliers.

Grandson Eduardo “Dito” Sevilla said his favorite redo was the upbeat sunroom, decorated by Kelley Proxmire in turquoise and lime green. “It was my grandfather’s den, where he kept his photographs and medals. He would have loved it.” (Dito’s father, Eduardo Sevilla-Somoza, headed the construction company that built the house and currently serves as Nicaraguan ambassador to the United Nations.) Cousins Mario Sacasa-Sevilla and Julia Sacasa de Checa liked the overhauled family room where designer Sandra Meyers ripped out a bar to make space for a grand piano.

SunTrust executive Scott Wilfong, whose company sponsored the event, and Argentine minister Rodolfo A. Cervino admired the Nicaraguan mahogany paneling in Andy Staszak’s library. “It’s a man’s room,” Mr. Wilfong remarked. “A good place for a Scotch and a cigar.”

After their tour, guests gathered on the pool terrace to dine on paella and grilled beef and watch tango dancers perform. The Sevilla-Somozas, meanwhile, are hoping someone who visits will be interested in buying their family home, which is on the market for $3.6 million.

The show house opens to the public on Sunday.

Deborah K. Dietsch

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide