- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Homes often reveal a bit about the character of their owners, particularly after a renovation. While some homeowners want to add a bit of splash and contemporary flair to a home, others prefer to honor the home’s original style, updating the home with reverence for period details.

The home at 4251 Vacation Lane, in the Lee Heights neighborhood of Arlington, has had only two owners in its nearly 70-year history, which may help explain its immaculate condition.

Now on the market for $1,100,000, this home includes many traditional details along with a few delightful surprises.

The owners restored the hardwood flooring to its original glory in 2002, when they also renovated the kitchen and finished the lower level. Each renovation project maintained the original integrity of the prewar style.

The front of this all-brick home includes a stone retaining wall and a curving staircase of brick and stones, which leads to the brick-and-stone front stoop. The owners added garden beds, which flank the stairs and complement the front of the home. In addition, they added landscaping lights, which highlight the stately trees and illuminate the stairs at night.

With its placement on a ridge above the street, the front of the home enjoys a treetop view across the street. The owners enjoy relaxing on their front steps, watching neighbors stroll by while birds flit in and out of the trees. Walking trails are also nearby. A park with a swimming pool is also within walking distance.

Shops and restaurants are located within easy walking distance of the home, and just two traffic lights separate the home from access to downtown Washington and Georgetown via Key Bridge.

This Lee Heights home features several places for enjoying outdoor living and a bit of privacy. A screened porch on one side of the home is accessible to the living room and to the brick patio in the back of the house. The screened porch includes a ceiling fan and a bead board ceiling, and is owners’ favorite spot in the home.

The brick patio includes a gate to the front steps and space for dining or relaxing outside. Just beyond the patio is additional yard space with ivy, vinca and stately trees.

Nestled among the trees is the property’s surprise element: a brick bungalow with a wood-burning fireplace. The tiny cottage has electricity and a beamed ceiling, plus windows on each side that fill the space with light. Originally a writer’s retreat, this bungalow now serves as a poker-night party room. Future residents may want to make this a secluded home office or an artist’s studio.

Inside, this home has three finished levels with space for entertaining formally and casually. The living room includes cafe shutters across the front windows, a wood-burning fireplace and a built-in bookcase with a cabinet. The original detailed wood mantel still rests above the fireplace.

The formal dining room has the original chandelier, which has been with the home since it was built. In one corner is the original built-in china cabinet. The dining room has three tall windows and crown and chair-rail moldings.

A swinging door links the dining room with the kitchen, which was renovated in 2002. This sunny space has a window over the sink and a door with a glass inset leading to the back yard. The kitchen renovation included new ceramic tile flooring, granite counters and new appliances, with recessed lighting added to the high ceiling. The white cabinets include some glass-front cabinets, which retain the old-fashioned feel of the room. A tile backsplash adds color to the space.

The main level also has a coat closet and a French door leading to the lower-level staircase, which allows light from the stairwell windows to filter into the main-level hall.

The owners renovated the lower level in 2002, adding recessed lighting, fresh carpet and fresh paint to the space. The recreation room includes several high windows that add light to the room. A closet includes a stacked washer and dryer.

The lower-level bath has been updated with a glass-door shower, new ceramic tile flooring and bead board walls, which blend with the original moldings of the home. This level also has a door to the one-car garage, which is deep enough for extra storage.

Hardwood stairs link the main level to the upper level, which has restored hardwood flooring on the landing and in the main rooms. The master bedroom overlooks the back yard and includes a ceiling fan and three windows. A gently arched ceiling leads into the bedroom, which has a closet and a private full bath with the original tile flooring and tile walls in the shower.

The second and third bedrooms, each at the front of the home, also have arched entrances. Each bedroom has a ceiling fan, three windows and the original closet doors with their original glass doorknobs.

The upper level also has a linen closet and a second full bath that also has its original tile. Both upper-level baths retain the charm of an earlier era, yet are in excellent condition.

Address: 4251 Vacation Lane, Arlington VA 22207

Community: Lee Heights

Age: Built in 1938

Price: $1,100,000

Size: Lot of 7,222 square feet

Taxes: $5,887 in 2006

Homeowner association fee: None

Exterior features: Brick classic Colonial-style home with stone retaining wall, brick-and-stone stairs and stoop; asphalt drive to one-car garage with additional storage space; landscaped front yard; mature trees surround the property.

Interior features: Three bedrooms; three full baths; original hardwood flooring on two upper levels; wood stairs with turned handrail; formal living room with wood-burning fireplace; formal dining room with corner china cabinet and original chandelier; kitchen renovated in 2002 with new appliances, flooring and granite counters; master bedroom with private full bath; lower level renovated in 2002 with full bath, recessed lighting.

Amenities: One-room all-brick bungalow in rear yard with wood-burning fireplace and electricity; screened porch; brick patio; gas heat and hot water.

Close by: Walk to shops and restaurants at Lee Heights; minutes to District via Key Bridge.

Schools: Taylor Elementary; Williamsburg Middle and Yorktown High

Open house: May 6, 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Realtors Caroline Rocco and Freddy Barney of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in McLean at 703/629-9211 or 703/883-9053.

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