4 DC-Area Design and Home Hot Spots to Know

Kelly Magyarics, Carly Roesen and Kristen Schott | June 28, 2019 | Home & Real Estate

From a custom manse in the Berkley 'hood to the enclave that's growing as fast as new neighbor Amazon, these elements define DC's real estate industry right now.

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At this custom property, all of the rear yard-facing rooms have large bifolding doors looking out to the pool and terrace.

Business in the front, party in the back—that sums up this exclusive home in the Berkley neighborhood overlooking Archbold Park by GTM Architects (gtmarchitects.com), which is feting three decades in business. From the front, it’s a traditional form with stone, slate and steel. The back is a glass-encased three-story design with an attic that lets the outdoors in. “The owners wanted to create a contemporary home with a more traditional feel on the front to complement the streetscape,” says Mark Kaufman, partner at GTM and lead architect on this 8,700-square-foot pad. “The house is... at the high point of the block, and the rear of the lot looks out to a forested park that won’t ever be developed.” He created expanses of glass in the main living areas—he pinpoints large windows as a trend—and oriented the L-shaped plan to maximize sun exposure. The shape also allows for privacy; it creates a courtyard and is at one with the forest.

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Listing agent Mary Ellen Rotondo says that interest has been so high, she stayed home from a trip to meet with buyers from across the country.

Wide-planked hardwood floors. Built-in cupboards. A smokehouse that is now a smart office and studio. These are among the elements of the $5.7 million, 9,000-square-foot, six-bedroom home at 217 S. Fairfax St. in Old Town Alexandria. “It’s amazing that something built in the late 1700s would have such enduring strength,” says listing agent Mary Ellen Rotondo of McEnearney Associates (mcenearney.com). One of the highest-priced properties in town, second only to Robert E. Lee’s $6.9 million boyhood home, the estate (two blocks from King Street) sits on a ¼-acre double lot with front and back lawns, gardens and wisteria arbors. It also houses a three-car garage and driveway. Then there’s its past residents—the Sanford-Dempsey family, an historian who restored it to its Colonial style and a reclusive heiress. “She invested millions in high-tech infrastructure, security and architecture,” says Rotondo. “It is the only property of its kind [here].”

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Ocean City, Md., is a top vacay town, but Nancy Reither-Smith of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (coldwellbankerhomes.com) has seen an uptick in second-home buys for those who want to escape year-round. (The city doesn’t shut down after Labor Day.) The modern architectural marvel at 12933 Old Bridge Road speaks to the possibilities. For $3.6 million, buyers get fine craftsmanship, imported materials, steel and mosaic tile. “This owner has [more than] $5.2 million into this home,” she notes. The 6,000-square-foot manse sits on an acre of waterfront, but has a salt-water pool and custom waterfall with a koi pond. “It’s in harmony with the outdoors,” she says. Snap it up before it becomes a hot commodity in August.

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418 E. Windsor Ave. in Del Ray is a renovation/new build, Craftsman-style home common in the area.

Unless you’ve been spending too much time in your flotation chamber, you know Amazon is coming, and it’s making DC boom. “[It’s] increased the [city’s] profile,” says Clint Mann, president of Urban Pace (urbanpace.com), a Long & Foster company. Del Ray, an enclave in Alexandria, is among the hot spots due to its proximity to the planned HQ2. “Since the announcement, there has been a 40 percent increase in contract activity compared to the same period the previous year,” says Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates (mcenearney.com). Properties that have gone under contract in the period have sold for an average of 102 percent of list price. She notes that owners are holding on to homes and tightening inventory. And buyers who wanted to wait are snapping up abodes earlier.



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Photography by: Kevin Weber; Jessica Overcash; Svetlana Leahy ; mcenearney associates