- The Washington Times - Friday, March 19, 2010

When Goldie Smith decided to build a house in 1960, she designed Sunset Haven with her seven children in mind. Although all seven were grown and married by then, the 72-year-old wanted to create a family heirloom where all her children and grandchildren could visit comfortably.

Despite her lack of professional architectural training, Smith designed the classic Georgian-style Colonial home with precision and forward-thinking features. Not only does this home have five bedrooms and six full baths (a seventh bath has been converted into a laundry room), but all three finished levels have deep walk-in closets for clothing and storage, each with an overhead light.

The main hall has two oversized closets to handle guests’ coats, and two wide linen closets in the upstairs hall easily accommodate the linens needed for all the bedrooms and baths.

In another innovative design element more commonly seen in 21st-century homes, the upper level contains two master suites, each with a private full bath and a walk-in closet. Two rooms on the main level have adjacent full baths and easily could be converted to first-floor bedrooms.

Sunset Haven has been owned and occupied for the past 31 years by one of Smith’s daughters, Betty Jane Myers, and her husband, Renny Myers. The family property, located at 21 S. Pershing Drive in Arlington, Va., is on the market for $997,500.

Mr. and Mrs. Myers have shared their home with countless family member and friends over the years, hosting wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and Christmas parties as well as a party to celebrate their own 50th wedding anniversary. In addition to all these formal affairs, the Myerses have enjoyed plenty of pool parties with their neighbors and have taught all their grandchildren to swim in the pool.

On the Fourth of July each year, the entire neighborhood gathers at the end of their block to watch the fireworks around the Washington Monument, clearly visible at the end of Route 50.

The Myerses have cared lovingly for Sunset Haven, refinishing the Kentucky white oak flooring, polishing the myriad windows that fill every room with natural light, renovating the kitchen and baths and adding a few touches of their own. Mrs. Myers found a mantel she loved in a 1760 home in Charleston, S.C., and she and her husband found a craftsman to reproduce the mantel for their living room.

The grounds of Sunset Haven include carefully manicured lawns in the front and back of the home and garden beds and flagstone walkways that lead to flagstone porches in front and back. The swimming pool is surrounded by a deck and grass and is fully fenced. An asphalt driveway provides parking and leads to an area behind the swimming pool that could be used to add a detached two-car garage.

Among the most distinctive characteristics of Sunset Haven are the wide hallways, high ceilings and extensive wood trim and moldings. The generously proportioned foyer and hall provide a perfect reception area for guests. At the front of the home, the formal living room includes tall windows on two sides, hardwood flooring and the fireplace with the distinctively detailed 1760-style mantel.

Pocket doors separate the living room from the formal dining room, which has hardwood flooring and a chandelier. French doors lead from the dining room to the sunroom, which has a ceiling fan, flagstone flooring and windows on three sides.

Adjacent to the dining room is the kitchen, another sunny room, with a picture window overlooking the side yard and two more windows over the sink. The kitchen has been remodeled with custom-designed cabinets, black granite counters with beveled edges and black appliances.

Just beyond the kitchen is a separate breakfast room that almost could function as another sunroom; it has windows on three sides and overlooks the swimming pool. The breakfast room has a ceiling fan and a door to the side porch.

Nearby is a family room with another exterior door, a deep pantry and storage closet and a full bath. The Myerses have converted this bath to a main-level laundry room, but it easily could be converted back to a bath.

French doors lead from the breakfast room to the central hall, which has a full bath and two coat closets. At the front of the home is a large home office with a walk-in closet and an adjacent full bath.

Oak stairs lead to the upper level, which has a wide wood landing. At the front of the home on this level is a cozy sitting area with a window overlooking the front lawn.

The upper level features the two master suites. The front master suite includes a private full bath, a walk-in closet and three windows overlooking the front lawn.

The rear master suite has a private full bath, a walk-in closet and three windows overlooking the swimming pool.

Each of three additional bedrooms on this level has a large closet and at least three windows. These bedrooms share a full bath off the hall.

Solid wood stairs lead to an attic with a full floor and plenty of storage space. Future residents easily could expand the attic into additional living space.

The above-ground lower level includes expansive living space, including a full-size kitchen and dining area that can function as a catering area for entertaining or can be used as part of an au-pair suite.

Nearby is a recreation room with flagstone flooring and a wood-burning fireplace. Three closets provide extra storage space for this level.

This level also has built-in bookcases that divide the recreation room to create an additional bedroom for guests. Nearby are an exercise room, a full bath and more closets. The lower level includes a workroom and the original laundry room.

This home has five thermostats to enable the owners to heat or cool only the rooms in use. Heat comes from a 100-year-old boiler (installed in 1960) that uses oil but can be converted to gas.

Sunset Haven has been the setting for many happy occasions in its 50 years and clearly has lived up to the hopes of its designer as a center for family gatherings. Now this home, conveniently located less than five miles from the District, awaits a new generation to fill the rooms and the backyard with joy.


Address: 21 S. Pershing Drive, Arlington, VA 22204

Community: Barcroft

Age: Built in 1960

Price: $997,500

Size: Approximately 5,400 finished square feet on lot of .36 acres

Taxes: $7,051 in 2009

Homeowners association fee: None

Exterior features: Classic Georgian-Colonial single-family home with silicone sand-plaster exterior; portico with columns; black shutters; flagstone walkway, front porch and back porch; asphalt driveway; manicured lawn

Interior features: Three finished levels with five bedrooms, six full baths plus a seventh full bath that has been converted into a laundry room, Kentucky white oak hardwood floors, oak stairs, formal living room with reproduction of 1760s wood mantel over fireplace with marble surround, formal dining room, sunroom with flagstone flooring, family room with full bath, renovated kitchen with granite counters, breakfast room with windows on three sides, home office with full bath, two master suites upstairs with private baths, three additional bedrooms upstairs share a hall bath, wood stairs to attic storage space, and finished lower level with flagstone recreation room, bedroom, full bath, exercise room, woodworking room, storage rooms and full kitchen with dining area

Amenities: In-ground swimming pool surrounded by a deck, lawn and garden beds in a fenced enclosure; two wood-burning fireplaces; extensive woodwork and moldings; five thermostats; numerous storage closets; solid wood six-panel doors; cast-iron baseboard and radiator heat; plaster walls

Close By: Minutes to downtown Washington or Georgetown, close to Rosslyn and Seven Corners for shopping and restaurants.

Schools: Barcroft Elementary, Kenmore Middle, Wakefield High

Open House: By appointment

Contact: Realtor Brad Kintz of Long & Foster Real Estate at 703/548-0888

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