House of the Week | D.C. contemporary for $1,598,800

Nestled in a quiet neighborhood of Chevy Chase in the District, this contemporary home offers an oasis of calm. It invites you to retreat to the screened-in porch that overlooks the leafy back yard and feel your worries melt away as you listen to the babble of the fountain and the chirping of the birds.

Built in 1960, this house is a tribute to the Arts & Architecture-sponsored Case Study Houses that were built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, mostly in California. The magazine asked architects to design postwar dwellings that were affordable. The editors hoped these midcentury modern homes would become prototypes that would inspire other architects, builders and home buyers, and this house seems to have sprung from such inspiration.

Many of the home’s features recall aspects of the Case Study Houses — the V-shaped roof, the wood and metal staircase, the modular rooms, the abundance of glass, and the location in a hillside.

Maureen Flanagan bought the home in 2004 and spent the following year and close to $800,000 renovating it, restoring much of its original character.

“I basically did all sorts of research on the features of the house and tried to make it more of what it was,” she said.

Flanagan enhanced the footprint of the house with a 72-foot addition across the front of the home, extending the roof and adding more glass. She put in 107 double-paned, argon gas glass windows and 12 new exterior doors. She switched the brick-and-concrete two-car garage to a glass-and-wood structure more in keeping with the style of the home. She ripped out the wall-to-wall carpet and added Brazilian cherry hardwood and Turkish limestone floors.

“I love contemporary houses,” she said. “I love neat and spare, although you can see from the pictures that I tend to furnish things traditionally to make them comfortable.”

The main level has an open floor plan with a movable wall between the living room and dining room. The 250-square-foot entry hall spans the width of the house. The kitchen has European-designed oak cabinets, a five-burner gas range, custom granite countertops, a Bosch dishwasher and a center isle that can accommodate four counter stools. The master bedroom has French doors that open onto a deck.

Living in a glass house during the District’s scorching summers may seem foolhardy, but Flanagan said she keeps the thermostat at 77 degrees even on the warmest days.

“Even though it’s all glass, it has very low utilities because of the design, quality of windows and trees,” Flanagan said. “I do have film on the glass in the front. That’s the west exposure. In the winter, the light comes in and warms the house and brightens up [the space]. There are a lot of skylights, as well.”

Near Rock Creek Park and one block from Western Avenue, this five-bedroom, five-bath house is listed at $1,598,800. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Listing: 7025 31st ST. NW

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Do you have a home that deserves to be the House of the Week? Send an e-mail to kathy.orton@washpost.com.

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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Kathy Orton · July 25, 2013