One of the most distinctive homes in the North Hills of Sligo Creek neighborhood, this head-turning, Normandy-style home was designed and built by award-winning Washington architect Arthur L. Anderson (1891–1980). His credits included Rockville’s modernist Suburban Trust Company Bank (now the Bank of America building), the Forest Glen Medical Center, shopping centers in Wheaton and Arlington, and numerous other buildings in Washington and Northern Virginia. Local historian Sally Gagné (St. Andrews Lane) is particularly interested in the architectural aspects and history of this house.
Nestled on a quiet cul-de-sac away from traffic, this home, with its expansive, split-level backyards, offers an oasis of quiet country living inside the Beltway, only 1.6 miles from downtown Silver Spring. Ride On and school buses stop at the corner of Guilford Street and Brunett Avenue. The Sligo Creek Trail, which is used for biking, walking, and running, is only a couple blocks away. Holy Cross Hospital is nearby. Film buffs appreciate the American Film Institute’s Silver Theater in downtown Silver Spring, which also has the Town Center, the Fillmore, many restaurants, a new library, a Whole Foods, and a Strosnider’s hardware store.
The home features a Mansard slate roof, two elegant chimneys, copper gutters and downspouts, three flagstone and brick patios in front, and a private driveway shaded by tall oak and holly trees. Unlike the homes on Brunett Avenue, one has to take only two steps up to the handcrafted walnut portico, which is covered by a copper roof. Michael Byrd of Design in Glass built the portico and installed the two front walnut doors. Jill Byrd did the leaded-glass work for the entrance door. The Byrds designed the door based on a French design that I provided.
Two of the three front doors feature Bouvet hardware. The third front door opens to a hidden walled flagstone patio shaded by camellia trees and azelea bushes. The freshly painted upper two floors feature oak floors, 3 bedrooms (1 carpeted), 3 upgraded bathrooms (1 fully disability-equipped and with a walk-in shower, another with a solid-iron, squarish, white bathtub), living and dining rooms with new Kichler chandeliers divided by a ceiling beam, a beautifully renovated kitchen, and a family room with a beamed cathedral ceiling, 5 leaded-glass windows, and a large rear-view picture window. The upper floors have two wood-burning fireplaces, two Casablanca ceiling fans, 11 Pella windows, and six leaded-glass windows.
A walk-up, foam-insulated attic with a new floor provides ample storage room. The guest room also has an attic and if an exterior stairway were built into this attic, it could be converted to a good-sized loft.
The compact but well equipped and gorgeous gourmet kitchen is a chef’s delight with like-new stainless-steel appliances. It has a natural gas Thermador cooktop with a dazzling copper hood and a hand-painted (in Jerusalem) tile mural; Electrolux double wall ovens (1 never used); an Electrolux refrigerator with French doors; a Bosch dishwasher (never used); a British Shaws fireclay 34-inch wide sink with a Grohe faucet, in-sink grid, and InSinkErator; capacious custom wood cabinetry with self-closing drawers; stunning green Brazilian granite counters (which alone cost $8,000), 4 Maxim ceiling lights, undercounter lights, and a porcelain-tiled floor. Case Designs designed and built the kitchen over three months in late 2010/early 2011. The copper hood is original.
Step out the 44-inch wide ProVia door opposite the kitchen onto the newly rebuilt deck, which features ornate iron railing and views of the lower backyard and homes below and on the opposite hill. Step down to the walled, flagstone rear patio shaded by wisteria vines and a holly tree. The two back yards are divided by a rare thorn bush known as Poncitrus trifoliate (Trifoliate orange), which is native to Korea and China. It was used in nineteenth-century Virginia to keep cows from wandering.
The certified dry, renovated basement is a naturally cool third floor with a small bathroom/shower with window; a large room with a high ceiling, tiled floor, and E-Z Breathe Ventilation System (newly installed along with two exterior French drains); a bedroom with a ProVia exterior door and Pella window; a cool cellar (wine room); and a utility room, a large sink tub with a pump motor, a natural gas furnace (Carrier), a natural gas water heater (50-gallon); a sump pump (replaced three or four years ago), and a 200-amp switch box.
The basement has three ProVia exterior rear doors and eight new windows. The basement bedroom is as secluded as the garage guest room, but has its own exterior door. The basement fireplace is quite unusual. The County historian has suggested it was used in the early days as a grill for cookouts, given its access to the backyard.
The secluded and enclosed rear porch/sun room has large windows, two storm doors, a red-tiled floor, and a copper roof. A new wood fence on the left side and two wood gates on both front sides maximize privacy.
I had the privilege of being the homeowner since 1999. I bought the house from Dr. William and Helen Avery, who occupied it with their family since 1947. Dr. Avery was a renowned, Harvard-educated, rocket propulsion and jet-engine scientist, who played major roles in developing the ramjet engine, which uses supersonic speeds with no moving parts, and the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion program. Sometimes he would take his family to the nearby Sligo Creek Golf Course to launch model rockets (In more recent decades, only golfers have had the privilege of using these publically owned and maintained grounds). As for myself, I had a more mundane desk job doing international affairs research for the Library of Congress.
-R H, current owner