House of the Week | McLean mansion for $15 million

August 23, 2013

You get the feeling that Ernest Hemingway would have been right at home in this mansion in McLean.

The novelist, whose books “The Sun Also Rises,” “Death in the Afternoon” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” celebrated Spanish culture, probably would have appreciated its many Iberian influences.

Designed by Maryland architect Richard Foster and constructed by the Galileo Group from 2009 to 2011, the exterior is a tribute to the Renaissance palaces built during the 15th and 16th centuries in the northern part of the country.

Inside the 15,635-square-foot home, wall sconces and candelabra imported from Spain carry forward the theme. Moroccan mosaic tiles designed by the owner create a dramatic backdrop in the kitchen. A lower-level tapas bar is flanked by heads of two bulls mounted on the wall, a nod to Spain’s bullfighting heritage.

The details in the 36-room house are exceptional. An oval skylight drenches the two-story foyer with natural light. A dramatic curved wrought-iron staircase sweeps up to the second floor, while an elevator glides among all three floors. In the dining room, the fireplace has a honed French limestone mantel with herringbone firebrick.

The spacious family room has a coffered ceiling, a marble fireplace and white oak flooring with a French washed stain that has been laid in parquet pattern Fontainbleau. The mahogany-paneled library is cantilevered in the trees above the river.

Besides the Spanish influence, the panoramic vista is the most remarkable feature of this home. Balconies and terraces, all of which offer sweeping views of the Potomac River, encircle the mansion. In the master bedroom suite, which has a private balcony, the soaking tub overlooks the river.

“It is incredibly rare to see a new home of this caliber, size and detail in such a prized location,” Michael Anastasia wrote in an e-mail. Anastasia of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is the listing agent.

“But my favorite aspect is the orientation toward the river. The sprawling terraces and balconies really bring indoor-outdoor living to a new level, and there is a commanding view from nearly every window.”

This is an elegant home that is also kid-friendly. Two of the bedrooms on the upper level have ladder-accessible lofts that are like indoor treehouses. A custom playground on rubber mulch provides a place for children to burn off excess energy.

There’s fun for the adults, too. A home theater with stadium seating features a 161-inch movie screen and 3-D theater system. A storage space in the basement could be turned into a wine cellar with room to accommodate a tasting table.

Perhaps the home’s most unusual feature is a 30-foot concrete encased tunnel that leads from the lower level to the second lot. The owner had planned to construct a guesthouse, swimming pool, indoor basketball court and tennis courts on that land.

The six-bedroom, 10-bath home is listed at $15 million.

Listing: 624 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean | video

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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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Kathy Orton | August 22, 2013