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

Once he set eyes on this week’s featured house, the late Alexander Haig knew it was where he wanted to reside.

Unfortunately for Haig, his time in the McLean mansion was short. He lived in the three-story Georgian-style house with his wife, Patricia, for only four years before he died in 2010. After his wife died last year, their estate put the home on the market.

Haig had a long and distinguished career in government and the military. As White House chief of staff, he guided Richard M. Nixon through resigning his presidency. He served as supreme commander of NATO during the Ford and Carter administrations. Ronald Reagan tabbed him to be his secretary of state. He briefly campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988.

Although Haig spent very few years at the stately home in McLean, it suited the retired Army general.

“Secretary Haig always loved that house,” said Russell Fire­stone of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Firestone, Michael Rankin and Lawrence Calvert are co-listing agents for the property. “When it became available, he had to have it.

“It has a great formal entrance. The courtyard in the front is phenomenal. The Georgian architecture is really unusual for our area. And then being on the Potomac [River], that row of houses is probably one of the most prominent neighborhoods in all of Washington. Also, the proximity to downtown. In 15 minutes, you can be on [Capitol] Hill. He always admired that house and was really happy to be able to buy it.”

The 11,725-square-foot home, built in 1989, sits on a one-acre lot and was constructed to take advantage of its location on the banks of the Potomac. Almost every room looks out onto the river.

Some of the more impressive views are from the main-floor gallery, whose wall of French doors open to an upper terrace from which you can glimpse Washington through the trees and across the river.

With its large rooms and gracious spaces, this is a house that encourages lavish entertaining. The two-story foyer provides an impressive entrance to the home and leads to a formal living room, dining room, kitchen, family room and library. The library has a full wet bar with a refrigerator and icemaker.

In addition to the five bedrooms, nine bathrooms and eight fireplaces, the house has a covered patio, an exercise room, a sauna and a three-car garage with an in-law suite on the second floor.

The Haigs bought the home in 2006 for $7 million. It is listed at $5.495 million.

Listing: 626 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean

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