The Washington Post

House of the Week | A classic Dutch Colonial in Northwest Washington for $1.775 million

View Photo Gallery: The Washington Post’s picks of distinguished homes on the D.C. area market.

When George Magher’s wife, Guida, had dementia diagnosed, the renovation of their home was put on hold. When she died in 2005, George couldn’t bear returning to the place where they had been so happy together.

“I was lost,” he said.

But the house in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Northwest Washington became George’s way back.

Guida bought the home in the 1960s before she met George. After they married in the 1970s, George moved into the home and they lived there for nearly 15 years before deciding to renovate the 1926 Martha Washington Sears home.

Sears homes were prefabricated homes that were ordered through the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue and shipped to the homeowner for assembly. In an early 1920s catalogue, the Martha Washington house, a top-of-the-line classic Dutch Colonial, retailed for $3,028.

George, a general contractor, began renovating the home in 1988. He removed the walls and ceilings, taking the home down to the studs and floor joists. He replaced all the old wiring and plumbing.

Because the original floor plan had the home’s entry in the middle of the living room, George put an addition onto the side of the house to create a new entrance. The new soaring ­two-story foyer with its curved staircase leads to a master suite on the second floor. The design of the glass for the front door, which was done by the family that installed the glass at the Washington National Cathedral, is in sympathy with original entryway glasswork that George left as a feature in the living room.

In 1995, Guida became ill and George stopped his work on the home and devoted his time to taking care of her. It wasn’t until three years after Guida’s death that George resumed work on the house.

Rather than hurry to finish, George undertook labor-intensive projects, such as redoing the wood floor in the living room in a complicated herringbone pattern. This was not only in keeping with the style of the era in which the home was built but also therapeutic.

“I needed a really big-time distraction,” he said.

The living room floor wasn’t the only place that received special treatment. From the tile work in the showers to chair rails in the bedroom to the bead board barrel ceiling on the porch, special touches abound. In many ways, George retained the home’s character while modernizing it.

“It lends a warmth,” he said. “It’s not a cold home.”

Now remarried, George is letting go of the home he calls Azadia, a name he found on an old deed. He hopes to find a buyer who will have as many happy memories in the home as he did.

The six-bedroom, seven-bath house, which is co-listed by Rita Liptz and Barbara Finkelstein of W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, a Long and Foster company, is on the market for $1.775 million. An open house is scheduled Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Listing: 2965 Brandywine St. NW

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Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.


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