- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Annual azalea parties have been held for decades in a residence at the end of a quiet Hyattsville street where, along with the azaleas, hundreds of other colorful plants bloom in indoor and outdoor gardens.

The house, on the market for $1,400,000, was completed in 1977, but the impressive gardens were a project more than 20 years in the making. They flourished in part thanks to advice and specimens from friends with knowledge of botany and horticulture.

The couple who owned the home purchased the land at 7114 Eversfield Drive in 1955 and began planting azalea seeds from Japan, planning for what would become an exquisite garden home always filled with friends and family.

Aside from being an avid gardener, the husband wanted to be close to work. He began as a criminology professor in the sociology department at the University of Maryland in 1941 and became the first director of the university’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice 27 years later. From his office window, he could wave to his wife at home when she was standing on the back porch.

Stepping onto this property is like walking into an oasis. The first feature guests notice is the large glass atrium at the entrance to this custom home on 3 acres, where deer frequently roam in the background.

The back yard is lush, too. Here the owners offered guests leisurely tours highlighting the different garden species. A small pond also is on the property.

Inside the home, the reception foyer, painted in calm pastels, has ceramic tile floors, a large coat closet and a half bath next to the entry door.

Straight ahead beyond the foyer is the open living room. The impressive atrium is to the right.

The living room was more often called the entertaining room, as company often flowed from that room into the nearby atrium or through doors in the back of the living room that lead out to the yard by way of a dramatic wide stairway.

This open living room has recessed lights and also offers an entrance into the family room.

Sunlight prevails throughout the house. The atrium has walls of tall windows and glass doors with curtains that usually are left open but can be pulled closed. This room blurs the line between indoor and outdoor space, as it is filled with a variety of trees, bushes and plants.

The atrium can be accessed from either a door leading from outside at the front entrance or from the interior doors off the entertaining room.

The family room has cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides.

Oak floors are found in most of the main-level rooms, including the family room, dining room and breakfast room.

The formal dining room is adjacent to the family room and can be closed off for privacy. More casual dining can be had in the home’s breakfast room, closer to the kitchen. The breakfast room has decorative window coverings that can be opened for a full view of the yard.

A long butler’s pantry is adjacent to the kitchen and has a second sink and more cabinets. It functions as the caterer’s quarters when the couple is entertaining.

Past the kitchen in the left rear corner of the house is a potting room and a doorway that opens into the side greenhouse.

The impressive library has towering cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This library is in the front of the house, off the living room.

A narrow set of stairs leads to a loft overlooking the library. This was the homeowner’s office and has room for even more books. A second loftlike space overlooking the family room is the second of the his-and-hers home offices.

The top level has two bedrooms and a hallway filled with bright windows that open into the atrium. There’s also a large storage area and hall bathroom.

The master bedroom boasts high ceilings and has a full bath with a large tub and a pedestal sink.

Both bedrooms have views of the yard, but the second bedroom has the most extensive view of the property and its gardens.

A wide staircase off the hallway goes down to the finished lower level with 10-foot ceilings. There is a large recreation room, half bath, laundry area, storage room and entrance to a three-car garage.

There also is a maid’s quarters that comes with a large studio-type living and sleeping area with a large closet, kitchenette, full bath and wall of large windows.

This floor plan provides all of the rooms with a view of the atrium and the outdoors. The entire first floor is set up for entertaining, as each room flows effortlessly into the next.

Address: 7114 Eversfield Drive, Hyattsville, MD 20782

Community: College Heights Estates

Homeowners association fee: None

Age: Built in 1977

Price: $1,400,000.

Size: 6,645 square feet on about 3 acres

Taxes: $14,637 in 2007

Exterior features: Brick front exterior with atrium, circular drive, extensive gardens throughout property, three-car garage

Interior features: Two bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths, plus separate maid’s quarters including a bedroom and full bath; recreation room, his-and-hers office lofts, library with floor-to-ceiling shelving, cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors, ceramic tile foyer

Amenities: Greenhouse, potting room, butler’s station, two cedar closets

Schools: University Park Elementary, Hyattsville Middle, Northwestern High

Close by: University of Maryland, College Park Aviation Museum, ice rink, recreation, parks, shops, restaurants

Contact: Dixie Meadows of RE/MAX Sails Inc. at 301/699-8878.

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