House of the Week | Kalorama home for $5.25M

What first struck John Cecchi of IDI Residential about this Federal-style home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Northwest Washington was not what was in it but what was outside it. The stately 1928 house was on nearly a quarter acre with a large garden on the side that wrapped around the back.

“The wow factor is the garden,” the developer said.

The green space seems almost an extension of the house and appears divided into little rooms or alcoves. The dining room spills out onto a wide staircase that leads to the lawn. Steps from the family room descend to a large circular terrace. Just off the breakfast room is a small square terrace. A walkway with a fountain connects the large and small terraces. Cecchi envisions a hammock with a blanket and a book in a back corner of the yard for whiling away a summer afternoon.

Cecchi, with the help of architect Dale Overmyer, transformed the residence that was once the home of the late William H.G. FitzGerald, bringing it back to its original splendor while adding modern-day conveniences and comforts. FitzGerald was an ambassador to Ireland, a Washington-based private investor and philanthropist, and a Naval Academy graduate and benefactor. The William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center is named in his honor.

“I really enjoy taking these homes that have such potential but have been neglected or have unrealized potential and doing something amazing with them,” Cecchi said. “We try to keep a lot of the traditional elements when we did the renovation, so you still have echoes of what the house once was.”

Cecchi merely tinkered with the layouts to the formal living room and dining room, adding an entry from the foyer to the living room and French doors to the outside in the dining room. Most of the changes to the main floor were to the back of the house, where he modernized and created a more open kitchen.

On the second level, he moved the master bedroom from the front to the back of the house, creating a spacious master suite. He added a pair of bedrooms and a sitting area to the third floor.

The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home is listed at $5.25 million. Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties is the listing agent.

Listing: 2305 Bancroft Pl. 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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