- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

American University Park, a residential neighborhood off Wisconsin Avenue in Northwest Washington, is one of the city’s quieter areas, popular with families and couples who appreciate the quiet tree-lined streets along with their proximity to city amenities.

Narrow streets and sidewalks encourage neighbors to chat as they stroll with their dogs and children on their way to local parks such as Boundary Park and the affectionately nicknamed “Turtle Park,” where playground equipment rests under shady trees adjacent to tennis and basketball courts.

While this suburban-sounding lifestyle appeals to many families, the neighborhood also is enjoyed by those who spend their days and evenings in downtown Washington. Less than a mile from the Tenleytown/AU and Friendship Heights Metro stations, this neighborhood offers easy access for commuters in every part of the city. Restaurants and shops are clustered near both Metro stations and in nearby Spring Valley.

American University Park’s single-family homes represent diverse architectural styles, including Colonial-style brick homes, Cape Cod cottages, Victorian homes, Craftsman-style homes and even a few contemporary-style residences. Many have been expanded or updated.

The home at 4901 46th St. NW, on the market for $1,075,000, rests on a corner lot with a level expanse of grass within the fully fenced yard. Built in 1924, this home has been updated with modern amenities such as dual-zone heating and air conditioning and expanded with a dramatic family room and breakfast area. The home has approximately 3,100 finished square feet on three levels, with five bedrooms and four full baths, yet still feels cozy and comfortable.

The main windows of this home face south and east, filling the rooms with plenty of natural light. Hardwood flooring in the original section of the main level has been restored and matches perfectly with the hardwood flooring in the new section. Recessed lighting has been installed throughout the main level.

Outside, the grounds include a front lawn with a brick front walk leading to brick steps and a brick stoop. The brick path leads around the side of the home to the backyard. An elegant flagstone terrace set beneath mature trees provides a shady and private spot for dining outside and entertaining friends. In addition to the terrace, this home has a small deck adjacent to the family room, with the steps leading to the terrace. The level lawn offers a prime setting for family games or outdoor gatherings. A gate at the back of the yard leads to the driveway, which has space for two cars. A storage shed is adjacent to the yard.

Storage is abundant throughout this home, with closets and built-in shelving placed in every possible location. The main entrance into the home leads into the living room, which has track and recessed lighting, hardwood flooring, two windows and a wood-burning fireplace with a brick surround. Built-in cabinets and bookcases flank the fireplace.

Just beyond the living room is the formal dining room, which has a picture window framing a view of the side yard, chair-rail molding, hardwood flooring and a chandelier.

The adjacent kitchen features white appliances, cabinets and counters; hardwood flooring; two pantries; gas cooking; and recessed lighting. At one end of the kitchen are a floor-to-ceiling window with sidelights and a small half-moon window above. The breakfast area next to the kitchen has a double window at one end and a built-in desk, a closet and shelving at the opposite end.

Just past the breakfast area is the focal point for the home, a family room with a vaulted ceiling and a dramatic wall of windows facing the terrace. A second wall of the family room is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass door to the deck. The family room also includes a double-door closet with deep built-in shelving.

The main level also has private a bedroom suite tucked away from the other rooms near the dining room. This suite includes a full bath that is also accessible to guests and a bedroom with windows on two sides and a closet.

Upstairs, the master-bedroom suite includes windows on two sides, recessed lighting, a ceiling fan and an oversized walk-in closet with a built-in storage system. The renovated master bath is flooded with natural light from a Palladian window and includes a Corian-topped vanity, ceramic tile flooring, an abundance of storage and an oversized, glass-enclosed shower with a seat.

Three additional bedrooms on this level have generous closets with built-in organizers. Two of the bedrooms include built-in desks and shelving units. These three bedrooms share an oversized full bath that has a laundry chute, ceramic tile flooring, floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets and a deep tub with a shower. The upper level also has a linen closet and pull-down stairs to attic storage.

The finished lower level provides extra living and storage space. The living area or recreation room includes recessed lighting, tile flooring and built-in shelving. Nearby is a bonus room or sixth bedroom that has two double-door closets and a window. Adjacent to the bonus room is a full bath with ceramic tile flooring. The bedroom and bath enable this area to function as an au-pair suite, especially because there is an exterior door to the side yard nearby.

The lower level also has a walk-in storage room under the stairs, an unfinished storage room and an oversized laundry room with a counter and cabinets, double soaking sinks and extra storage space.

While the spectacular sunlit family room may be the most eye-catching element of this home, practical buyers may be equally enticed by the abundance of bedrooms, baths and storage that make family living more comfortable.

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