Washingtonian Magazine - May 2012

Best Places To Live

Kimberly Palmer And Mollie Reilly 0000-00-00 00:00:00

Whether you’re buying a first home, trading up, or downsizing, here are a dozen great neighborhoods— from small-town charm to city cool, waterfront living to arts hub IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY AND . . . ARE LOOKING FOR A SMALL-TOWN FEEL FALLS CHURCH The City of Falls Church in Northern Virginia has its own mayor, police department, and school system. "You have a community center, new restaurants, unique shops, and a farmers market," says real-estate agent Colin Storm. "That's what a lot of America is losing.that mom-and-pop feel." While single-family homes abound. Largely ramblers and Cape Cods built in the mid-1900s.new developments offer condos as well. Over the past few years, prices in the 22046 Zip code have held relatively steady, hovering in the low $500,000s. In February, traditionally a slow month for real estate, more than half of the homes that closed in Falls Church City went under contract in less than 30 days. One of the most popular areas for families is Broadmont, where tree-lined roads wind past brick Colonials and ramblers on deep lots. In the neighborhoods surrounding Thomas Jefferson and Mount Daniel elementary schools, sidewalks are often filled with kids on bikes. Pete Davis, 22, grew up in Falls Church City and says he dreams of raising his own children there. He and his childhood friends refer to themselves as "lifers." They went to school together from kindergarten through high school and know one another's parents. "It's like having aunts all over the place," Davis says. "There's a lot of parent involvement." Annette Hennessey, a 49-year-old mother of two, moved to Falls Church from Arlington in 1998 to get a larger house for her family. She experienced the small-town feel almost immediately when she called city hall about a parking permit: "They transferred me to someone who knew exactly which house was mine." DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP THE CITY LIFESTYLE CAPITOL HILL Real-estate agent Roby Thompson calls Capitol Hill a ¡°mecca¡± for young families. On weekends, the neighborhood's half dozen parks fill with moms and dads pushing strollers. Parents say play groups and activities are easy to find.the newly renoated Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital offers moms' groups, children's music classes, and summer camps. Robin Leon, 35, a stay-at-home mother, says she and her 18-month-old spend most of their days outside: “It’s so great to be able to walk everywhere. We have a teeny back yard, but we’ll be outside all day long.” Leon often meets other moms for coffee and attends children’s concerts at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street, Northeast. The community comes together for annual events such as the neighborhood’s Fourth of July parade and “Hilloween,” featuring hayrides and games at Eastern Market. Jon Penndorf, a 34-year-old architect, says his four-year-old daughter loves stopping for a cupcake at Hello Cupcake or the Sweet Lobby. One of their favorite restaurants, Lavagna, lets her grind her own Parmesan cheese. The neighborhood’s popularity has pushed prices up; the median home price in the 20003 Zip code was $565,000 in 2011, an increase of almost 11 percent over the previous year and of 16.5 percent over the past three. Families often gravitate to the neighborhood’s Victorian and Federal-style rowhouses, many of which were built in the early 1900s. Recently renovated homes tend to be the most expensive; updated rowhouses with two or more bedrooms typically start around $600,000. And homes tend to sell quickly: In 2011, they sat on the market an average of 50 days—28 days fewer than the Washingtonarea average. WANT TO BE WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS HEADED HERNDON Over the past three years, median prices in Herndon’s 20170 Zip code have risen by 39 percent—more than in any other Zip code in Washington—from $240,000 in 2008 to $333,500 in 2011. Prices in Herndon’s other Zip code, 20171, have also spiked—from $426,950 in 2008 to $485,000 in 2011. Long & Foster agent Brad Rozansky attributes the area’s growth to Metro’s new Silver Line, which will pass through Herndon as it runs from Falls Church to Dulles. Rozansky says the grueling commute along I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road scared off would-be homebuyers in the past, but “all that is going to change with the Silver Line going in.” Families can find large Colonials with big back yards as well as townhouses and condos. One of the most popular neighborhoods for families, Old Dranesville Hunt Club, off Dranesville Road, hosts a Fourth of July parade. Resident Hallie Giuliano, 37, was drawn to the neighborhood for the communal pool and tennis courts as well as proximity to running trails and a nearby stream. She also liked the area’s affordability, which enabled her to become a stay-at-home mom while still living in a four-bedroom home on a half acre of land. Family music nights on Herndon’s town green in summer, a dozen local playgrounds, and the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail add to the family appeal. “As busy as we all are,” says town mayor Steve DeBenedittis, “people still get to know each other.” WANT A BIG BACK YARD POTOMAC For families looking for a lot of space, Potomac, just outside the Beltway in Montgomery County, may be the answer. While houses are expensive—the median price for the 20854 Zip code was $825,000 in 2011—prices have softened over the last several years, declining by 4.6 percent from $865,000 in 2008. And with homes sitting on the market an average of 93 days in 2011, more sellers may be willing to bargain. “Some of the best deals we’re seeing now are in the farther-out suburbs like Potomac,” says Jason Mandel of Washington Fine Properties. “If you want a big house and a big lot, the opportunities are out there.” Malusa Rios Powell, a 37-year-old mother of two who recently moved to Potomac from Rockville, says she was able to get more for her money there than in closer-in Bethesda. “We were able to have that back yard,” she says. Another draw for Powell was excellent schools. In 2011, U.S. News included the area’s two high schools, Churchill and Wootton, among the top 100 in the country for math and science. Powell often takes her daughters, ages two and four, to Hadley’s Playground, which has a play castle and pirate ship, and to ballet classes at the community center off of Falls Road. “We wanted our kids in the best school system; we wanted a great back yard and a great community,” she says. “Potomac has all of that.” Kimberly Palmer can be reached at kim@ generationearn.com. Mollie Reilly is at molliereilly@ gmail.com. IF YOU’RE SINGLE AND . . . HANDY WITH TOOLS PETWORTH Seven years ago, Anne Stom moved into a house in DC’s Petworth that had been lived in by the same couple for 40 years. “Like many of the homes here, it was well built and had good bones,” Stom says. After making “600 million trips to Home Depot” while she renovated— and seeing many of her neighbors do the same—she decided the neighborhood was ripe for a hardware store. In February, she opened Annie’s Ace Hardware, one of many new businesses that have set up shop in an area undergoing tremendous change. Built mostly in the early 1900s, Petworth was a thriving middle-class community for the first half of the 20th century. After the riots of 1968, the neighborhood declined dramatically. The opening of the Georgia Avenue–Petworth Metro station in 1999 sparked development that has been gaining momentum ever since. And more is on the horizon, including a Walmart and a streetcar line along Georgia Avenue. Young professionals are drawn to the affordability, close-in location, and beautiful houses, including Wardman-style rowhouses and bungalows in a rainbow of colors. Although prices have risen—the median sale price went from $289,000 in 2010 to $320,000 in 2011—there are still bargains. Despite the changes, many of the neighborhood’s longtime residents have stayed. Vivian and Paul Henderson have lived in their three-bedroom Colonial just north of Petworth for more than 50 years. “We went through a period where there were no children in the area,” says Vivian. “The neighborhood is coming back alive. We’re thrilled to see services that were here when we first moved in in 1959.” WANT TO BE IN THE CENTER OF IT ALL CLARENDON A short commute to downtown DC, thriving nightlife and restaurants, and a wealth of condos and apartments draw many singles to Clarendon. “If you want to be in the best neighborhood in Arlington, you move to Clarendon,” says Jeff Grieco, who bought a two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the neighborhood last year. City planners have long praised Arlington’s Wilson Boulevard corridor, which runs through Clarendon, as one of the nation’s most walkable and densely populated suburban communities. High-rise condos and apartments are filled with singles and couples. “It’s sort of like a halfway house between college and the real world,” says Grieco. On weekend evenings, the neighborhood is packed with bar-hopping young professionals— they might stop at the live-music venue Iota Club & Café, the sports bar Spider Kelly’s, or the hipster favorite Galaxy Hut. Seven Clarendon restaurants made The Washingtonian’s list of 100 Very Best Restaurants this year. From 2010 to 2011, median prices jumped by about 10 percent—from $449,000 to $495,000—and the average number of days on the market dropped from 51 to 46. In addition to condos and rowhouses close to the Metro, nearby neighborhoods are lined with Arts and Crafts bungalows, Colonials, and split-levels. Two popular buildings for single buyers are Clarendon 1021 and the Phoenix, both of which have open kitchens with granite countertops and rooftop pools. According to Adam Gallegos of Arbour Realty, condos in the Phoenix sat on the market an average of only 21 days last year. LOOKING FOR THE NEXT BIG THING BLOOMINGDALE When real-estate broker Suzanne Des Marais first started selling in DC’s Bloomingdale in 2001, she described her properties as being in LeDroit Park because few people had heard of Blooming dale. “Now people are calling Eckington and Truxton Circle Bloomingdale,” she says. In the easternmost part of the District’s Northwest quadrant, Bloomingdale was long a settled, predominantly African-American community in the shadow of Howard University. But as development pushed east in the early 2000s—from Dupont Circle to Logan Circle to U Street and Shaw—Bloomingdale began to attract young buyers looking for affordable homes within walking distance of DC’s hottest neighborhoods. “Everywhere you turn, there’s renovations,” says Gary Mendel, who moved to the neighborhood in 2009 and spent two years renovating his house on Rhode Island Avenue. Many of the homes are Victorians with bay windows, built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thanks to primarily residential zoning, developers and builders have taken to fixing them up rather than tearing them down and building anew. “It’s a very attractive, cohesive neighborhood without a lot of infill lots,” says Des Marais. Median prices in the 20001 Zip code have already seen a bump—from $410,000 in 2010 to $417,000 in 2011. Rowhouses range from about $350,000 for one in need of a major renovation to $800,000 for a home already redone. Condos—many of which are in converted rowhouses—start around $200,000 for a one-bedroom and top out around $500,000 for a three-bedroom. WANT THE WALKABLE LIFESTYLE WITHOUT THE CRAZY PRICE TAG SILVER SPRING Families have long flocked to this Maryland suburb for its affordable prices, good schools, and easy commute to DC. But as downtown Silver Spring has developed, the neighborhood has attracted single buyers as well. “I was looking for something affordable, convenient, and close to the Metro,” says Susan Pologruto, whose three-bedroom townhouse is on the edge of Sligo Creek Park and within walking distance of the Silver Spring Metro. “It’d be very difficult to find a one-bedroom in Logan Circle for what you would pay for a two-bedroom, two-bath in Silver Spring,” says real-estate agent Melinda Estridge. Downtown Silver Spring began its transformation in the late 1990s when the American Film Institute committed to refurbishing the Silver Theatre and Discovery decided to move its headquarters nearby. Recently, the Fillmore, a concert venue that opened last fall, has brought acts such as Mary J. Blige, Blondie, and Wale to town. Ethnic restaurants including Mandalay and Addis Ababa have flourished along with chains such as Lebanese Taverna and Copper Canyon Grill. In the early and mid-2000s, a crop of luxury condos popped up in the 20910 Zip code, where most of the area’s attractions are located. Estridge recently sold a two-bedroom penthouse apartment in the Crescent, a 14-story condominium that opened in 2006 near the Metro, for $390,000. Restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum capitalized on the influx of twenty- and thirtysomethings by opening a hip lounge called Sidebar two years ago. With vintage furniture, chandeliers, and a backlit bar, the speakeasy-style place would fit well on DC’s H Street, Northeast. Says Greenbaum of the bar: “It draws heavily from the younger population that’s moved into the nearby buildings.” IF YOU’RE DOWNSIZING AND . . . ALWAYS DREAMED OF LIVING BY THE WATER ANNAPOLIS Real-estate agent Mike Hamby says he gets contacted every week by about a dozen potential buyers who want to move to Annapolis after their children have left home. For empty-nesters who fantasize about living near the water, now may be a good time to buy in the Annapolis area. Three of the city’s Zip codes—21401, 21403, and 21409—have seen prices fall in recent years. In 21401, median prices have dropped by 5½ percent over the past three years, to $375,000; in 21409, median prices fell by just over 3 percent, to $347,000. The biggest decline was in Zip code 21403, just south of downtown Annapolis, where prices are down by almost 20 percent, to a median 2011 price of $318,500. In all three Zip codes, homes sat on the market more than 100 days. Real-estate agent Kimberly Barton says foreclosures played a big role in dragging prices down. While foreclosures are finally leveling off, there are still good deals to be had, especially for buyers willing to do some work, such as renovating a kitchen. In addition to water views and a strong boating culture, Annapolis offers continuing education at Anne Arundel Community College, performances by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and art classes and exhibits at Maryland Hall. Murray Hill resident and magazine publisher Donna Jefferson, whose youngest son is in college, sees many of the same faces at her favorite coffee shop, Hard Bean Coffee & Booksellers, every morning. She loves to walk along the water. “You get so you know when high tide is,” Jefferson says, “when the jellyfish and crabs are coming in—you get into that whole rhythm.” LOVE ART AND CULTURE DC’S WEST END/FOGGY BOTTOM Recent development has breathed new life into the West End and Foggy Bottom. A mixed-use project on George Washington University’s campus called Square 54 has added a 36,000-square-foot Whole Foods as well as office space, a luxury apartment building, and a handful of new restaurants. “There are a lot of students, a lot of young professionals, more and more young families, and a large retired community,” says Asher Corson, president of the Foggy Bottom Association. While much of the neighborhood consists of rowhouses built in the early 20th century, a good many high-end, modern condo buildings have opened recently. With amenities such as concierges, valet parking, and fitness centers, they’ve become popular with emptynesters who no longer want the headache of maintaining a single-family home. The revitalization may help explain why prices in the 20037 Zip code are up by close to 15 percent over the last three years—and up by 6 percent from 2010 to 2011, when the median home price reached $505,000. Prices in the new, high-end condo buildings can be much higher—a two-bedroom, two-bath in 22 West, in the West End, sold in September for $1.6 million. The neighborhood offers easy access to the Foggy Bottom Metro station, several bus lines, and the Capital Crescent Trail. The restaurants and shops of Dupont Circle and Georgetown are 15-minute walks away. Nearby museums include the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection. George Washington University, which lets neighborhood seniors audit college courses at a reduced rate, is another draw. Barbara Howey, 65, and her husband moved to the Watergate after raising their family near San Francisco. They attend the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage performances almost every evening. “We just walk down there,” Howey says. “It’s ideal.” WANT YOUR MONEY TO GO A LONG WAY CHANTILLY Chantilly offers easy access to the Appalachian Trail, the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia wineries, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. But perhaps the biggest draw for empty-nesters is its affordability. “You can get quite a bit of house,” says real-estate agent Colin Storm, “or downsize and real ly cut costs.” Storm adds that many emptynesters make the move before they retire, especially if they work in Northern Virginia. About 25 miles west of Washington, Chantilly comprises two Zip codes: 20152, which had a 2011 median house price of $416,850, and 20151, where the median was $339,950. Although both Zip codes have held their value pretty well in recent years, the more rural 20152 has seen prices soften as new developments created an oversupply of housing. In 20151, the neighborhoods consist mostly of large Colonials built in the 1980s and ’90s. Because of the limited housing supply, the market there has been stronger. Grace Han Wolf, owner of the paint-yourown-pottery studio Clay Cafe Chantilly, says grandmothers often bring their grandchildren into the store. The local community center, the Cub Run RECenter, has a pool, a fitness center, and a nature program for adults. The Dulles Expo Center regularly hosts events, from flea markets to craft festivals, and residents recently came together to raise money to renovate Chantilly Regional Library, which originally opened in 1995. Quick access to Dulles Airport makes visiting and hosting grandchildren relatively easy. Says Wolf: “There’s everything an empty- nester might want within 30 minutes.” VALUE CONVENIENCE GAITHERSBURG In the past two decades, several large planned developments have been built around Gaithersburg, creating communities where residents can eat, shop, and play within walking distance of home. Lakelands, for example, has more than 1,000 condos, apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes. Residents can dine at Tandoori Nights or Buca di Beppo and do their grocery shopping at the nearby Whole Foods or Giant. The community has its own pool, tennis courts, and clubhouse. “We had a spike in prices back in 2005, 2006, and 2007,” says Gaithersburg broker Roy Kelley. “Now prices are back down.” In the 20882 Zip code, prices have fallen by almost 11 percent over the past three years, bringing the median home price to $580,000 in 2011. Homes sat on the market an average of 112 days in 2011, much longer than the 78-day average in the Washington area. But in certain hot spots, houses sell briskly. Susie Danick, 51, recently traded townhouses in Kentlands. Both sold close to their asking price within two weeks of being listed. “If things are priced appropriately, they sell very quickly,” she says. Danick moved to Kentlands right before her eldest child left for college. “We didn’t want the maintenance of a big house anymore, and I can walk everywhere. It’s easier living.” Built in the 1990s, Kentlands has singlefamily homes, townhouses, and apartments as well as restaurants, an arts center, a theater, clothing boutiques, and a grocery store. Danick walks her dogs every morning around the community’s two lakes. In 2000, Danick launched a business, Transitional Assistance & Design, to help people who are moving to smaller homes. Demand has grown so much that she now has 25 employees. 50 MOST EXPENSIVE HOMES WASHINGTON'S SWEETEST SPRESDS ARE HOME TO JIM KIMSEY, DEGRA LEE, DAN SNYDER, AND OTHER GIGH ROLLRS 1 JIM KIMSEY $45.5 MILLION McLEAN WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A SMALL, RUNDOWN house hampers your view of the Potomac River? If you’re Jim Kimsey—cofounder of AOL and philanthropist—and that house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, you buy it, restore it, and use it as a guesthouse. Kimsey lives in “the Falls,” a 21,000-squarefoot McLean mansion that he has admitted is “ostentatious” and “a monument to wretched excess”—it has four guest suites and underground parking for 40 cars. The Wright house, next door, was owned by Luis and Ethel Marden, who began looking for a buyer to preserve their beloved home in the late 1990s. Kimsey bought the place for $2.5 million without having set foot inside. A restoration brought the minimalist cinder-block structure back to life—it has an 80-foot wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and original concrete-slab floors. One thing Kimsey didn’t preserve was the shabby gravel-and-tar roof, which he could see from the window of his luxurious master bathroom. Now he looks out over a gleaming copper roof—and the Potomac below it. The Falls is assessed at $33.9 million , the “guesthouse” at $11.6 million 2 STEVE CASE $20.4 MILLION McLEAN When Jim Kimsey needs to borrow a cup of sugar, he can walk a quarter mile down the road to former AOL partner Steve Case’s home. The house, Merrywood, sits on seven acres overlooking the Potomac River and was the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Case bought the mansion in 2005 for $24.5 million from William Conway Jr., cofounder of the privateequity powerhouse the Carlyle Group, and his wife, Joanne. At the time, Forbes estimated Case’s worth at $900 million. The Georgian-style home was commissioned in 1919 by stockbroker Hugh Auchincloss, who later married Janet Bouvier and became stepfather to Jackie and her sister, Lee. The nine-bedroom, 16,000-square-foot estate features a swimming pool, a tennis court, a gym, and a carriage house with staffquarters. 3 RODNEY HUNT $20.3 MILLION McLEAN A 2010 episode of MTV’s Teen Cribs gave a peek inside this sprawling river front mansion owned by entrepreneur Rodney P. Hunt. Hunt’s teenage son, Bradley, led a tour of all the spots where he “kicks it,” such as the basketball court his father calls Bradley Arena in his honor. Also showcased: a silk-upholstered chair Barack Obama sat in during a campaign fundraiser. A Prince George’s County native, Hunt sold his tech firm RS Information Systems in 2008 for an undisclosed (but undoubtedly large) sum—it had annual revenue of about $300 million. Now he’s CEO of the Rodney P. Hunt Family Foundation, a nonprofit that gives grants to groups that work with kids, and runs a number of other business ventures, including Currency Clothing, a hip-hop apparel line. 4 ROBERT AND ELENA ALLBRITTON $19.7 MILLION GEORGETOWN Two thousand seven was a big year for Robert Allbritton. That’s when the then-37-year-old head of Allbritton Communications launched the award-winning newspaper and website Politico and plunked down $24 million for the Bowie-Sevier House in Georgetown. At the time, it shattered the record for the most expensive home sale in DC by $10 million; it remains the most expensive ever sold in the District. The Federal-style house was built in the early 1800s by Georgetown harbor merchant Washington Bowie, godson of George Washington. More recently, it belonged to developer Herb Miller and wife Patricia, who spent several years restoring the seven-bedroom, 12-bath home—with eight-car garage— before selling it to Allbritton. 5 RYUJI UENO AND SACHIKO KUNO $18.1 MILLION GEORGETOWN This mansion, called Evermay, sold last year after more than 2½ years on the market. Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno, a pair of media-shy biotech entrepreneurs who own Bethesdabased Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, paid $22 million—less than half the original asking price of $49 million. The 211-year-old brick mansion sits on 3½ acres in the heart of Georgetown. British architect Nicholas King, who helped Pierre L’Enfant design Washington, created the Federal-style estate in 1801. Ueno and Kuno also own Halcyon House (number 30 on this list) plus a Georgetown rowhouse, three homes in Potomac, and two on the Eastern Shore. They plan to live at Evermay and make it the headquarters of their S&R Foundation, which supports young artists and scientists. The ballroom, with 17-foot ceilings, and terraced garden will surely come in handy for fundraisers. 6 DEBRA LEE $17.7 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Debra Lee, CEO of BET, owns two gigantic homes on adjoining lots overlooking Rock Creek Park in this DC neighborhood—and she’s been trying to get rid of one of them for 2½ years. The one on the market (opposite page) has four bedrooms and six baths and was designed by Edward Durell Stone, architect of the Kennedy Center and Radio City Music Hall. Lee put the house on the market for $8.5 million in October 2009; it’s now listed for just under $7 million. Next door is Lee’s permanent residence, a curvy modern structure with glass walls overlooking the park. The 11,000-square-foot home was designed to showcase Lee’s extensive collection of art glass. It has a two-story living and dining space, a stainlesssteel wine cellar, and a separate wing—accessible by a glassenclosed breezeway—for Lee’s two children. The Stone-designed property and Lee’s custom home are assessed for almost $8.9 million each. 7 JOHN AND SHARON ROCKEFELLER $16 MILLION CRESTWOOD Just north of Mount Pleasant in DC lies Crestwood, a leafy, suburban-feeling neighborhood that’s home to John and Sharon Rockefeller’s 15-acre estate. The Rockefellers—he’s a five-term West Virginia senator and scion of one the nation’s wealthiest families; she’s CEO of WETA— bought the 16,700-square-foot house in 1985 for $6.6 million. The 12-bedroom, 20-bath estate was built in 1927, shortly after Crestwood was developed. The property is so large that it has two addresses about a quarter mile apart. Last year, Roll Call listed the senator as the fourthrichest member of Congress and estimated his fortune at $81.6 million. 8 ROBERT AND LOUISA DUEMLING $14.2 MILLION KENT When he wasn’t restoring his family’s 19th-century estate near Philadelphia, the late preservationist James “Jimmy” Biddle lived in this 6,200-square-foot home near DC’s American University. Biddle, who died in 2005, was president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he helped save such landmarks as New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and the exterior of the US Capitol. He also advised First Ladies Jackie Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson on historic furniture. According to campaign-donation records, the six-bedroom, seven-bath house is now home to Biddle’s ex-wife, Louisa, and her husband, former ambassador Robert Duemling. The estate’s six acres are likely brimming with flora and fauna—Louisa was on the board of the Nature Conservancy for nine years. 9 HESTIA INTERNATIONAL LLC $13.7 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Family feuds, a millionaire bachelor, a deathbed marriage ceremony—this home has seen it all. The gated seven-bedroom mansion was built in 1986 for retail mogul Herbert Haft, who owned the old Dart Drug chain. After a nasty divorce and years of bitter disagreements over control of the family business, Haft amended his will two weeks before his death in 2004 to grant control of his $50-million estate to Myrna Ruben, whom he had married that day in his room at Sibley Hospital. About two years later, an unnamed buyer—hidden behind a limited-liability company called Hestia International—paid Ruben $15 million for the DC home, which was then described as having a chandelier that had once hung in the Paris Opera, Italian-marble floors, and fireplaces imported from England. 10 MOEEN QURESHI $13.5 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS It’s a family affair at the Qureshi residence near DC’s Observatory Circle. Dad, Moeen Qureshi, built the house, while son Samir Qureshi is trying to sell it. A former World Bank executive who briefly served as Pakistani prime minister in 1993, Moeen Qureshi paid $2.6 million for two neighboring houses in 2000, which he renovated and combined into an 11,000-square-foot mansion. The 11-bedroom, 12-bath estate is currently listed by Samir for $12 million—$9 million less than its asking price in 2006, when Qureshi first considered selling. The white stucco house has three bedrooms for “staffquarters,” a pool, and motorized crystal chandeliers. 11 MITCHELL RALES $12.5 MILLION POTOMAC According to Forbes, manufacturing tycoon Mitchell Rales has a net worth of $3.7 billion. He lives in a modernist Potomac house designed by the late Charles Gwathmey, who also worked for Steven Spielberg. The 150-acre property includes a lake, a guesthouse, and an art museum guarded by off -duty police. Rales is cofounder with his brother, Steven, of the manufacturing and technology company Dan aher. A National Gallery of Art trustee, Rales owns a collection including Calders, Matisses, and Pollocks, some of which adorn the seven galleries in Glenstone, the zinc-paneled—and tax-exempt—museum on Rales’s property (open by appointment ). 12 CHRISTINE RALES $11.9 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Mitchell Rales’s ex-sisterin- law, Christine, lives in this ten-bedroom, seven-bath DC manse next to Rock Creek Park. In 2003, after 20 years of marriage, Christine and Steven Rales divorced; Forbes estimates Steven’s net worth to be $3.3 billion. Top Washington divorce lawyer Sanford Ain handled the split—and it looks like Christine got to keep the house. The 10,300-square-foot home was built in 1917 by architect Clarke Waggaman, who lived there— and called it his “dream house”— for the last two years of his life. 13 MELVYN ESTRIN $11.5 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Businessman Melvyn Estrin’s stucco house is across the street from the former Herbert Haft mansion (see number 9) and Moeen Qureshi’s compound (number 10). So maybe it was a case of keeping up with the Joneses that led Estrin to install a pair of black-stallion statues on his front lawn and an iron fence topped with brass fleurs-delis around the DC property. The 12,700-square-foot house has nine bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. Estrin has held senior positions at many companies, including Human Service Group, University Research Company, Washington Gas Light Company, and MNC Financial Corporation. He’s a big GOP donor—campaign records show he has generously supported the Republican National Committee, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush. 14 ED AND PENELOPE PESKOWITZ $10.6 MILLION SPRING VALLEY Ed Peskowitz, cofounder of the Gaithersburg-based business-information company United Communications Group, and wife Penelope live in this sprawling Tudor-style house in DC’s Spring Valley. The 10,500-square-foot home sits on a corner lot and has a pool and tennis court. We imagine the house is filled with some good NBA swag— Peskowitz is a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks. 15 DANIEL SNYDER $10.5 MILLION POTOMAC In 2001, Redskins owner Dan Snyder paid nearly $10 million for this limestone-and-stucco chateau on 14 acres, once the US base of Jordan’s King Hussein and his American-born wife, Queen Noor. According to architectural plans, Snyder added an 18-seat movie theater with a popcornand- candy stand, a “fun room” with five plasma screens and a 14-seat bar, a marble-floored wine cellar, and a 12-car garage. In 2004, he cut down a slew of trees to improve his view of the Potomac. Afterward, a neighbor told the Washington Post that he “ought to take some 300-pound lineman up there to replant some of those 30-to-40-foot trees.” 16 ROBERT HACKER $10.4 MILLION GEORGETOWN Once part of the Evermay estate (see number 5), this brick Federal is now home to lawyer Robert Hacker, who advises investment companies and hedge funds at the international law firm K&L Gates. The eight-bedroom, ten-bath house listed for $14.5 million in 2008. Hacker snatched it up for $11.5 million the day it went on the market. The original structure was built in 1880; a large addition was added during the 1950s, and the house now takes up almost an entire block. It boasts two kitchens, walnut-plank flooring, and a one-third-acre garden that abuts Evermay. 17 GERALD AND HELEN HALPIN $10.3 MILLION ALEXANDRIA In 1962, Gerald Halpin sparked the development of Tysons Corner by buying a 125-acre farm, where he eventually built two office parks. At 89, he’s still CEO of McLean-based West Group Management, one of the largest landowners in Tysons. At the end of the day, he retires to this 6,000-square-foot riverfront home on nearly 11 acres at the foot of a drive off George Washington Memorial Parkway. The 16-room stucco house is the only Alexandria property to make the top 50. The Halpins also own Lost Creek Ranch & Spa, an 80-acre guest ranch next to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. 18 DWIGHT AND MARTHA SCHAR $9.9 MILLION McLEAN Dwight Schar’s company, NVR, is one of the largest residential builders in the country, having constructed more than 300,000 custom homes up and down the East Coast. So it’s not surprising he would own a few impressive places himself. Called Windfalls, his sixbedroom, ten-bath gated mansion sits on seven acres next door to Steve Case’s Merrywood (see number 2) and overlooks the Potomac River. But it pales in comparison with Schar’s beachside villa in Palm Beach, Florida, which he bought for $70 million from business magnate Ron Perelman in 2004. The 33,000-square-foot Florida estate has a movie theater, swimming pool and pool house, gym, boat dock, and walk-in humidor. At the time of purchase, the price was said to be the highest ever paid for a house in the United States. A buddy of Dan Snyder, Schar is part owner of the Washington Redskins. 19 EUGENE AND CAROL LUDWIG $9.4 MILLION BERKLEY A nearly three-acre parcel of undeveloped land is hard to come by in Northwest DC, but Eugene and Carol Ludwig bought one on Foxhall Road for $3.5 million in the fall of 1999. A 13,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home now stands on the property. The stone-and-shingle estate is a few doors down from the Spanish ambassador’s residence and the Kreeger Museum. Eugene Ludwig is the founder and CEO of Promontory Financial Group, an international consulting firm. He served as comptroller of the currency for five years during the administration of former Yale Law School buddy Bill Clinton. 20 TOM AND RACHEL SULLIVAN $9.1 MILLION POTOMAC Less than two miles from Mitchell Rales’s house (see number 11), Tom and Rachel Sullivan’s 26,000-square-foot home sits on four acres. Two glass-enclosed structures stand behind the house; according to tax records, one is a 3,400-square-foot clubroom. Sullivan cofounded TeleCorp, a wireless company that sold to AT&T in 2002 for $4.6 billion. After Rachel Sullivan’s battle with breast cancer, the couple began giving generously to Sibley Memorial Hospital, whose Sullivan Center for Breast Health now bears their name. 21 APEKS LLC $9.1 MILLION McLEAN Known as Chateau Noble, this 16,000-square-foot mansion in McLean’s Elmwood Estates neighborhood looks like the Virginia version of Versailles— chandeliers dripping with crystal, a 34-foot coffered-dome foyer, gold-leaf ceilings. Michael Darvishi, president of Noble Construction, built the house in 2006, then put it on the market in April 2008 for $17.5 million. It has seven bedrooms, 11 baths, and a dining “salon” that can seat 24. After more than two years on the market, the gated mansion sold to an unknown buyer for $10.2 million in October 2010. 22 JOHN AND ANGIE MARRIOTT $8.8 MILLION POTOMAC Hotel magnate Bill Marriott’s middle son, John W. Marriott III, paid $4.2 million for this Colonial off Falls Road in spring 2006. When Marriott bought the sevenbedroom, nine-bath house, it had a pool, stable, tennis court, and two-car garage. If the skyrocketing assessment is any indication, some work has likely been done since. We’re betting it includes an updated garage—like his father, Marriott loves cars and collects Ferraris, Camaros, and Firebirds. Marriott is an executive in the family company. 23 ROBERT AND AIMEE LEHRMAN $8.8 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Built in 1926, this 9,000-squarefoot DC house sits on a corner lot next to Rock Creek Park. Behind its grand stucco facade are ten bedrooms and seven baths—and probably a good bit of contemporary art. Lehrman—an heir to the Giant Food fortune—has been collecting art since 1979. He has served on the boards of the Hirshhorn Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art and has lectured on contemporary art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 24 JAMES AND JILL TONKEL $8.7 MILLION GEORGETOWN Statistician Herman Hollerith, who cofounded the company that would evolve into IBM, built this Georgian-style mansion in 1911. It’s now home to financial executive James Rock Tonkel Jr., president of Arlington Asset Investment Corporation, who bought it for $8.5 million in 2005. The renovated house has his-and-hers master baths, a drawing room with a hidden wet bar, and a caterer’s kitchen with a 300-bottle wine cooler. The centerpiece is the light-filled main kitchen, situated in a solarium that was handcrafted in England and rebuilt in Georgetown. 25 TOM AND ANN FRIEDMAN $8.7 MILLION BETHESDA A 2006 profile of Tom Friedman in The Washingtonian said that the three-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author lived in a “palatial 11,400-square-foot house, now valued at $9.3 million, on a 7½-acre parcel just blocks from I-495 and Bethesda Country Club.” After the 2008 release of his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America, many people chastised Friedman for preaching about downsizing when he lived in a megamansion himself. A writer for the New York Times since 1981, Friedman and his wife, Ann, a first-grade teacher, still live there—though the property’s value has fallen by $600,000 in the past six years. 26 ROBERT AND ARLENE KOGOD $8.7 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Once owned by heiress Gladys Vanderbilt, this 27-room Georgian mansion in DC was built in 1918. In 1985, developer Robert Kogod and his wife, Arlene, bought it for just over $2 million. Kogod made his money at the local real-estate firm Charles E. Smith, where he spearheaded the development of Crystal City. He and his wife have been generous philanthropists, as evidenced by several structures around town that bear their name: the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard, American University’s Kogod School of Business, and Arena Stage’s Kogod Cradle. 27 DAVID AND KATHERINE BRADLEY $8.7 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Media mogul David Bradley and his wife, Katherine, live just around the corner from the Kogods (number 26) in this ten-bedroom Georgian. Built in 1931, the 8,800-square-foot home is the site of an annual kickoff party the night before the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Bradley founded the Advisory Board and the Corporate Executive Board, two Washington- based research firms that went public more than a decade ago—and made Bradley serious money. He’s now owner of Atlantic Media Company, which publishes the Atlantic and National Journal. Katherine Bradley is president of the couple’s CityBridge Foundation, which gives grants to DC’s public schools. 28 DAVID AND CARRIE MARRIOTT $8.5 MILLION BETHESDA On the first day of the US Open last summer, David and Carrie Marriott’s children set up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood, which sidles up to Congressional Country Club’s golf courses. The budding entrepreneurs were rewarded with a $500 fine—later nullified— from Montgomery County. The Marriott kids took down their renegade cold drinks sign before going home to their family’s 15,500-square-foot stone house. The youngest son of hotel magnate Bill Marriott, David Marriott is an executive at the corporation founded by his grandfather. Neighbors on the ritzy street include longtime Republican operative Pete Teeley, former Choice Hotels CEO Charles Ledsinger, onetime basketball star Mark Alarie, and former senator Gordon Smith. 29 SRS POTOMAC LLC $8.5 MILLION POTOMAC This gated estate is on the market for $10 million. The 16,000-square-foot house was built in 2009 and has nine bedrooms, 16 baths, a heated pool, a pool house, and a loggia on nearly four acres. An online photo tour reveals gold-leaf ceilings, a mahogany-paneled library, hisand- hers dressing rooms, a bar, and a separate catering kitchen. The house originally listed for $15 million in July 2009. 30 RYUJI UENO AND SACHIKO KUNO $8.5 MILLION GEORGETOWN Four months after buying Evermay (see number 5), Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno dropped $11 million on this estate, called Halcyon House, which first went on the market for $30 million in 2008. The sale brought the couple’s 2011 Georgetown real-estate purchases to $33 million—a staggering figure but still $16 million less than Evermay’s original asking price. On the National Register of Historic Places, Halcyon House was built in 1787 by the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert. Pierre L’Enfant, the French architect who laid out the District in the 1790s, designed the gardens, and Mark Twain’s nephew once lived there. The mansion has nine fireplaces and an outdoor pool that overlooks the Potomac River. 31 TED AND LYNN LEONSIS $8.4 MILLION POTOMAC Former AOL exec and current Caps, Wizards, and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and his wife, Lynn, bought this 13-acre property— known as Marwood—with sweeping views of the Potomac River for $20 million in December 2010. Previous occupants have included John F. Kennedy’s parents, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, and publishing heir Seward Webb Pulitzer. Franklin Roosevelt used it as a presidential retreat before Camp David existed. Leonsis acquired his posh digs through an old-fashioned mansion swap. Chris Rogers, a telecom exec, bought Leonsis’s former eight-bedroom home in McLean for $9 million, while Leonsis moved to Marwood, which the Rogerses had recently renovated. The ten-bedroom house has a tennis court, a pool and pool house, and parking for ten cars. 32 EARL F. GLOCK, TRUSTEE $8.3 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS This eight-bedroom, nine-bath DC home sold for $7.5 million in 2007. The 16,000-squarefoot house on the edge of Rock Creek Park has an indoor pool, sauna, glass-enclosed wine cellar, media room, solarium, elevator, and billiards room. Earl F. Glock is a DC attorney who handles real estate and other matters and probably doesn’t live in this house. “Earl F. Glock Trustee” is also listed as the seller of record for the house Dan Snyder bought in 2001 (number 15). 33 ROBERT AND ANNE BASS $8.2 MILLION GEORGETOWN President Ulysses S. Grant is said to have rented this threestory Federal Revival house, which was built in 1840 and is called the Scott-Grant house. Texas billionaire Robert Bass now owns the stately red-brick home, which has four bedrooms in 7,200 square feet. Bass’s billions started with oil—he and his brothers control Bass Enterprises Production, an oil-drilling company based in Fort Worth. He also cofounded the private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners and is chairman of Aerion Corporation, which is developing supersonic business jets. Last year, Bass—who Forbes estimates is worth $3.6 billion— paid $42 million for a co-op on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 34 ALAN DABBIERE $8.1 MILLION McLEAN John F. Kennedy bought this Georgian manor, called Hickory Hill, in 1953 when he was a newly married Massachusetts senator. Four years later, Robert and Ethel Kennedy bought it from him for $125,000. The couple raised their 11 children in the 13-bedroom house. The six-acre grounds had horse stables, tennis courts, and a pool with a cabana and were the site of many Democratic fundraisers. Ethel Kennedy listed the property for $25 million in October 2003, then dropped the price several times over seven years—to $20 million, then $16.5 million, and finally $12.5 million. In 2010, businessman Alan Dabbiere paid $8.3 million for it. The chairman of a mobile-device management company called AirWatch, Dabbiere has gutted the house and is doing a major renovation. He lives less than a mile away in a five-bedroom home he bought for $3.8 million in 2005. 35 EARL AND AMANDA STAFFORD $8.1 MILLION McLEAN According to campaign-contribution records, this nine-bedroom, 19-bath Provincial-style house in McLean’s exclusive Rivinus subdivision is home to Earl Stafford and his wife, Amanda, who bought it in the spring of 2009 for $7.9 million. On five acres off Georgetown Pike, the house was built in 2006 and has a six-car garage, three levels of landscaped terraces, and, according to the listing, “gracious principal rooms equipped to entertain hundreds.” Stafford is CEO of the Reston- based Went worth Group, a private-equity firm. He also runs the Stafford Foundation, which teamed with Bill Cosby to bring 400 poor, sick, and homeless people to Washington for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. 36 JOHN ROGERS AND DEBORAH LEHR $8.1 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Goldman Sachs bigwig John Rogers and his wife, Deborah Lehr, a former negotiator on China trade policy in the Clinton administration, live in this seven-bedroom, eightbath Georgian along DC’s Embassy Row. They bought the 8,100-square-foot house in 2007 for $8.4 million, and Rogers commutes weekly to Manhattan, where he stays in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South. Rogers is Goldman’s chief of staff and secretary to the board; a 2011 article in Bloomberg Businessweek called him “the single most powerful person at the firm over the past decade.” During the Reagan administration, he became at age 27 the youngest person ever named assistant to the President. 37 RANDALL ODENEAL $8 MILLION McLEAN In 2001, broadcasting tycoon Randall Ode neal paid $10.2 million for this 12,600-squarefoot mansion on almost four acres. The previous owner must have done one heck of a renovation—it had last sold in 1998 for $2.6 million. Until 2004, Odeneal was principal of Sconnix Broadcasting, which owned and operated radio stations along the Eastern Seaboard. 38 ARMEANE AND MARY CHOKSI $8 MILLION KALORAMA This Tudor-style DC mansion made headlines in 2009 when TV’s Connie Chung and Maury Povich—both Washington natives—announced that they had the house under contract. But they never showed up. Their son was accepted into a posh private school in Manhattan, keeping them there at least four more years. A few months later, Armeane and Mary Choksi bought the seven-bedroom, 11- bath home for $8.5 million. The 8,200-square-foot residence has a swimming pool and a koi pond with a waterfall. A former executive vice president at the World Bank, Choksi has experience in foreign affairs that should serve him well at block parties—neighbors include the Embassy of Benin and the French ambassador’s residence. 39 STEPHEN AND MAXINE PHILLIPS $7.9 MILLION ANNAPOLIS Stephen Phillips’s Georgian Revival home sits on 22 acres and has a gorgeous view of the Severn River, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay—the body of water that launched his family’s fortune. Phillips is grandson of Augustus E. Phillips, who founded Phillips Seafood on Hoopers Island in 1914. Today the company is the world’s largest processor of crabmeat, with plants in Asia and Latin America, and Stephen Phillips is its CEO. Built in the 1920s, the house stood empty for 30 years before Phillips bought it for $2.5 million in 2002. After six years of restoration, the 19,600-square-foot home is now filled with antiques and artifacts—teak columns, Indian limestone, ebonized armoires—collected on his frequent trips to Asia. 40 ADRIENNE ARSHT $7.8 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS Jet-setting philanthropist and businesswoman Adrienne Arsht bought this Beaux Arts manse for $8.2 million in 2010. Built in 1927, it originally listed for $14.6 million, sits on one acre, and has staffquarters. The house is also less than three miles from the Kennedy Center, where Arsht is treasurer of the board of trustees and a generous donor—she recently established the Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund with a $5-million donation. Former chairman of a Florida bank, Arsht donated $30 million to Miami’s Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, now the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. 41 MARK EIN $7.7 MILLION GEORGETOWN When the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham lived in the Beall-Washington House, the 142-year-old estate was a revolving door for Georgetown’s elite. But since venture capitalist Mark Ein bought the ninebedroom, eight-bath mansion from Graham’s heirs for $8 million in 2002, it has sat largely untouched. DC tax records list the home as a Class 3 property, which means it’s vacant. Ein, who founded and runs Venturehouse Group and owns the Washington Kastles tennis team, lives instead in DC’s Palisades, in a fourbedroom house assessed at $1.7 million. 42 SUZANNE AND DAVID HILLMAN $7.7 MILLION McLEAN You can’t get much closer to the Potomac River than Suzanne and David Hillman, who live on a meandering, dead-end lane off Chain Bridge Road. Their three-acre waterfront lot is valued at $3.4 million; the six-bedroom, 12- bath house on it accounts for the remaining $4.3 million. Built in 1997, the 11,800-squarefoot home has an indoor pool and enclosed porch that looks out onto the river below. Suzanne is a partner at the accounting firm Hillman & Glorioso; David is founder and CEO of Southern Management Corporation, the largest privately owned real-estate management firm in the region. 43 EDWARD AND DEBRA COHEN $7.5 MILLION SPRING VALLEY Edward and Debra Lerner Cohen share ownership of the Washington Nationals with Debra’s parents and siblings. When not at the ballpark, the couple hangs out at this seven-bedroom, 11-bath DC home near American University, Debra’s alma mater. A former lawyer who specialized in nuclear energy, Edward is now a principal with Lerner Enterprises, the real-estate development company founded by his fatherin- law, Ted Lerner. Debra, also a principal in her father’s company, is involved in the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Foundation and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. 44 PETER AND NINA FITZGERALD $7.5 MILLION McLEAN McLean is the proper residence for proper conservatives. If former Illinois senator Peter Fitzgerald and his wife, Nina, were to have a neighborhood cocktail party, they might invite GOP heavyweights such as Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Antonin Scalia, and Colin Powell, who all live nearby. A US senator from 1999 to 2005, Peter Fitzgerald is now chair of McLean’s Chain Bridge Bank. Nina Fitzgerald went to Harvard Law School. 45 PAUL HORVATH $7.4 MILLION GEORGETOWN When presidential candidate John Edwards put his Georgetown rowhouse on the market in 2005, he hoped his next DC residence would be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. No such luck. But the former senator did make some money from the sale. Paul and Terry Klaassen, founders of Sunrise Senior Living, bought Edwards’s Federal-style home for $5.2 million in 2006—$1.4 million more than Edwards paid in 2002. The Klaassens have since sold it for $6.8 million to finance executive Paul Horvath. Though the house is on a small lot, its landscaped garden has a hot tub, a fire pit, fountains, and a carriage house. The main house has a 37-foot living room with silk-covered walls, a billiards room, and a climate-controlled wine cellar. 46 KENNETH AND CAROLYN BRODY $7.3 MILLION MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE HEIGHTS According to campaign records, Kenneth and Carolyn Brody live in this six-bedroom, six-bath Georgian. The 5,200-square-foot DC house has a wood-paneled library and four fireplaces. An online virtual tour shows plush outdoor spaces: an azalea walk, a heated pool, and a tree-shaded formal garden in back. Kenneth Brody is cofounder of the hedge fund Taconic Capital Advisors. From 1993 to 1996, he was head of the Export-Import Bank, and before that was a partner at Goldman Sachs. His wife, Carolyn Schwenker Brody, chairs the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 47 KINGSTON PROPERTY LLC $7.3 MILLION McLEAN This 14,200-square-foot Colonial is off a winding, dead-end road that descends from Chain Bridge Road to the river below. The house sits on two acres and has eight bedrooms, 21 baths, and a pool. Looking at the immaculately landscaped grounds and red-brick mansion, you’d never guess that a fire ravaged the house in 2005 and did $3.1 million worth of damage. 48 RICHARD AND CHRIS FAIRBANK $7.2 MILLION LORTON On 59 acres along the Potomac River, Overlook Farm is on the market to rent. The asking price: $15,000 a month. The 144-year-old property abuts Gunston Hall, George Mason’s 18th-century plantation. In addition to the four-bedroom, four-bath house, there’s a pool, cabana, guesthouse, and barn. According to the Keller Williams listing, the farm boasts “commanding views in all directions.” Maybe that’s why Carl Fairbank chose the site for his 2008 wedding. His dad, Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank, bought the house in 2005 for $11.7 million from financial guru Marc Leland. 49 MICHAEL AND KELLIE BALLARD $7.2 MILLION POTOMAC In 1996, Michael and Kellie Ballard bought a vineyard in California’s Santa Clara Valley, which they named Savannah Chanelle Vineyards after their two daughters. Three years later, they bought a sprawling four-acre estate on a quiet culde- sac in Potomac Falls for $3.1 million. The Ballards’ nine-bedroom, 12- bath home is now assessed for more than twice what they paid for it. When it went on the market in 1998, it had a tennis court, greenhouse, pool, pool house, and five-car garage. We’re guessing they added a wine cellar. 50 C. BOYDEN GRAY $7.2 MILLION GEORGETOWN K nown as the Robert P. Dodge house, this pale-yellow Italianate home was built in 1853 by Dodge, the son of a wealthy shipping merchant. During World War I it housed a nightclub, and in 1920 it was bought by Warren Delano Robbins, a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1987, lawyer C. Boyden Gray paid $4.1 million for it—a jaw-dropping sum at the time. A former partner at the law firm WilmerHale, Gray was White House counsel under George H.W. Bush and later US ambassador to the European Union. Gray’s place isn’t far from the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham’s former home—the two used to be tennis partners.

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