“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
So said Jonathan Swift, who clearly was onto something. To everyone else, the brick house at 4401 W St. NW was ready to be torn down. It was old, cramped and in need of repair. But to the eyes of master designer Andreas Xenophontos, there was beauty hiding in that wreck — a jewel box with classic (read: human-scale) proportions, elegant touches and craftsmanship built on obsessive attention to even the smallest detail. What he envisioned was the ultimate “forever home,” perfect for a family as it grew and evolved.
Originally built in 1962, the house was wholly re-imagined, gutted and renovated over a 13-month period beginning in 2016. Only the exterior brick walls — now painted a pure gray color that changes based on the light or weather conditions — and slate roof remain. Many of the original plantings were also kept and moved to new locations.
The home now offers 5,400 square feet of living space on four levels and features six bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, two fireplaces (one gas, one wood-burning), a beautifully landscaped front yard, and a back patio and herringbone-patterned brick courtyard. Backing to Glover Archbold Park, the home is on the market for $3,595,000.
Sitting on a corner lot, the neo-colonial presents a clean and unadorned facade. A decorative brick and bluestone walkway and steps lead up to a columned portico bordered by windows and anchored by a massive African mahogany double door — one of many architectural elements custom-designed by Xenophontos.
Inside, so many unusual details command your attention: a glass-walled fireplace in the great room straight ahead; mahogany columns (“harp strings,” the designer calls them) that frame the floating oak and glass staircase to the left; the wood-burning fireplace with a fabulous carved black-and-white marble mantel (a relic of the original home) and a mahogany hearth holding court in the living room or, if you prefer, dining room. (The open floor plan is eminently adaptable to the owner’s lifestyle.) Oversized six-paned windows bring abundant light into every room, and white oak flooring runs throughout.
To the left off the main hall is an inviting library or formal dining room, as well as a powder room with a wood vanity and sensuously curved vessel sink.
Pocket doors open from the library to the kitchen and family room, which overlook the rear terrace via floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors. The kitchen is a vision in white and silver gray, with custom-designed white cabinetry and an island with extensive storage and seating for four. Calacatta Gold Silestone forms the counter, backsplash and waterfall edge of the island. Thermador appliances (mostly integrated) include a gas cooktop on the island, a hood, microwave and convection ovens, a French door refrigerator and freezer, and a dishwasher. Under-cabinet LED lighting adds a touch of glam.
In the center of this space — between the kitchen and bright family room — is the aforementioned glass-walled gas fireplace, whose leathered granite square mantel frames a view of the terrace and gardens.
Upstairs on the second floor are three spacious bedrooms, including the master. Each has a custom-fitted closet and its own bathroom, luxuriously finished with Italian marble and porcelain tile backsplash and flooring, deep tubs (one designed by Philippe Starck) or glass-door showers, Grohe fixtures, Duravit water-saving commodes and floating lacquer cabinets.
The aerie of a master suite has two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the garden and parkland. It also has two expansive walk-in closets with built-in shelving and armoires to accommodate all manner of garments and accessories. The seamless Japanese-inspired master bath also features Bianco Dolomiti Italian marble tile; heated floors; a double vanity with dimmable lighted mirror; an open walk-in shower; a BainUltra free-standing tub; and a private commode.
Up on the third floor is a large playroom or bedroom with a pitched ceiling, a wall-to-wall window seat, an elegantly finished full bathroom and plenty of closet space.
The lowest level opens onto a suite of rooms every bit as thoughtfully designed as the rest of the house. There is a large family room/media room; two bedrooms separated by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom; a large laundry room and folding room; and a mudroom, which opens onto the brick courtyard. There is even room for a wine cellar underneath the mahogany-columned staircase.
To ensure the house truly meets 21st-century standards inside and out, it features a variety of energy-efficient and “smart home” features including a particularly energy-efficient water heater, a low-voltage recessed LED lighting, a four-zone HVAC system, soundproofing in all rooms and between floors, and an electric car charger.
Located in Foxhall along Glover Archbold Park, the home balances privacy and green space with easy access to Georgetown, downtown and Northern Virginia.
The six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath neo-colonial at 4401 W St. NW is listed for $3,595,000 with Washington Fine Properties. For details, contact Robert Hryniewicki, Adam T. Rackliffe and Christopher R. Leary of HRL Partners at 202-243-1620 or Robert.H@wfp.com. For a virtual tour, visit bit.ly/2yEaIGw.