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"We're both honored to be selected to represent this seller," says Kerry Fortune Carlsen on behalf of herself and Kira Epstein, as she takes The Georgetown Dish on a VIP tour of Freedom Place, just listed by Washington Fine Properties. This historic Sheridan-Kalorama residence is documented to be the Presidential Guest House under the Kennedy administration at the time Blair House was being renovated.
Originally constructed in the Beaux Arts style circa 1910, by Charles Doolittle Walcott, the American Paleontologist who was Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute from 1907 to 1927 and encompassing nearly twelve thousand square feet of finished interior space, this exceptional ambassadorial residence, coined “Freedom Place” by its current stewards, is a unique property.
The four prior occupants of this home include prominent world leaders in the fields of science and the arts, business and banking, philanthropy and world politics; each owner expanding and improving upon the property adding bespoke details with thoughtful care resulting in what has today become one of the most admired homes in DC.
Featuring 8 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half baths, an elegant elevator to all floors, 5 fireplaces, staff accommodations, a heated pool with jacuzzi, and parking for 3 cars in the attached garage and driveway, the property boasts countless unique features. Among them several surfaces custom faux-painted by the renowned interior artisan Malcom Robeson, imported European millwork and paneling, the finest custom fixtures and fittings throughout, and radiant heat floors.
The residence is perfectly suited to the most formal entertaining, hosting significant diplomatic events, and housing world recognized art collections, as well as for more casual family gatherings.
Freedom Place has views from every window of the classic expansive DC skyline, the private neighboring gardens of Decatur House and the property’s own verdant and mature walled gardens which feature specimen plantings and the finest landscaping and hardscaping.
Entering the home from the virtually private cul-de-sac at 22nd and S Street and passing through a stately entry door with a fan light crown, on the first floor is a wide gallery receiving area. This opens on one side to an intimate English-style living room featuring antique authentic French Regency entry doors, a wood burning fireplace, custom faux finishes and a balcony overlooking the walled garden and swimming pool. On the other side, the warm and inviting sitting room offering another fireplace and three large windows, rebuilt from historic raised paneling imported from a Virginia English farmhouse where Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington. The embassy-sized 21 x 16.5 foot formal dining room is perfect for enjoyong meals with its wainscoting and double French windows overlooking the neighboring gardens.
From the dining room is a wonderful example of an authentic Chinese Moon Gate in situ in the city and from here the balance of this floor leaves the carefully restored past behind and moves to the updated and recently completed chef’s kitchen. No detail has been spared to create this culinary dream-space, suitable for gourmet meal preparation as well as family dinners, featuring a remarkable custom commissioned copper vent hood stretching the width of the center island, a built in gas-fired wok and hand-made cabinetry with Asian inspired glass and exotic wood details. From here, a glass walled solarium provides both, a living area, complete with interior water feature providing a magnificent transition from inside to outside and opening to the pool deck and walled garden.
A causeway connect the historic home to the more recently constructed award-winning 3 level carriage house. There, a completely private guest suite with full bath, butler’s pantry and juliette balcony overlooking the swimming pool, as well as an executive office suite and the home’s garage and parking.
Leading upstairs from the main entry gallery, an elegant a wide curved stairway with authentic ivory finial leads to the second level where a vast master suite with his and hers dressing areas encompass the entire floor. The third level offers three more bedrooms, two full baths and access to the roof top gazebo room and covered deck allowing for the finest 360 degree city views in the area. The entertainment level boasts casual spaces for intimate gatherings; a family room, a bar, an additional walled garden, a large laundry facility, staff quarters and the home’s mechanical room and wine cellar.
Near diplomatic residences and embassies, the distinguished twelve thousand square foot home enjoys a prominent location on a private peninsula overlooking the Decatur Terrace steps. Locally referred to as the “Spanish Steps” - the delightful four tiered stone and concrete staircase, framed by ornamental lampposts and capped by a granite lion head fountain, was designed by Robert Cook and placed in 1911 on a steep strip of land deeded to the city by noted artist (and 3rd wife of Charles Walcott), Mrs. Mary Veaux Walcott. The Steps were built to create a pedestrian link from S Street to Decatur Place and are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the entirety of Sheridan-Kalorama.
The annual spring tradition of peeking into 10 amazing historic homes, the Georgetown House Tour, kicked off Wednesday evening with a lavish Patron’s Party at the home of Bill Dean.
Frida Burling, Georgetown's own, created the Patron’s Party sixteen years ago to raise additional funds for the Tour. The first Patron’s Party was hosted by author Kitty Kelley.
This year's Hosts are Jill and Capt. Scott Altman. A veteran of four NASA space flights, Altman spent more than 50 days in space and commanded the final two Hubble servicing missions. He also flew F-14s in the movie “Top Gun.”
When the women of St. Johns Episcopal Church ran the first tour 85 years ago, Georgetown had streetcars and Herbert Hoover was President. Today, St. John’s continues to welcome its neighbors and guests for a special day of touring, tea and music.
Patrons and host committee members mingled with party co-chairs Avery Miller and Elizabeth Miller and 350 (up one hundred from last year!) oh so chic guests.
Cocktails and champagne flowed freely as hors d'oeuvres were served under a tented patio and tree-lined pool area.
Inside, guests enjoyed an exquisite buffet and bar service while catching up with friends throughout the elegantly appointed, quintessential Georgetown residence.
The 2016 Georgetown House Tour is Saturday, April 23rd. Doors open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
For tickets, visit Georgetown House Tour.
For those not yet acquainted with Praline, you must go immediately. Far and away the best bakery and bistro in the Washington, DC area. Praline is celebrating it's 10th birthday next week, on April 20th. Croissants for breakfast, crepes for lunch, and steak frites for dinner. Don't forget to try the walnut dacquoise!
Authentic French pastries, macarons, breads, cakes, and their signature praline brioche, in honor of chef Patrick Musel's home town of Lyon. Yes, that's the same Patrick Musel from The White House. Joining him and his stellar team of bakers are Susan Limb (also from the First Family's pastry kitchen) and Ally Bolin, children's book editor, turned pastry chef. A lifelong passion for baking became a business when she started at Praline after completing the pastry program at L'Academie de Cuisine (where she met Susan and Patrick). All three are now partners.
The design for "Praline 2.0" is signature Jacobsen with a centerpiece 1970's 60-quart Hobart mixer painted in the company's flagship "kissable pink." Around the mounted mixer (weighing in at 900 pounds) are 100 Praline boxes swirling from the mammoth device that extends all the way up the cathedral ceiling. As Simon Jacobsen explains, "We're redefining the store with this concept, the design showcasing the legacy work of our firm: soaring cathedral ceiling, eggcrate book shelves modified for baked goods, and a thematic sculptural element." And what better place than the vibrant district of Mosaic for this modern, whimsical confectionery. Sweet!
Praline Bakery is located at 4611 Sangamore Road in Bethesda, MD. Mosaic location (planned opening late summer 2016) is 2985 District Avenue, Suite 140, Fairfax, VA.