If houses had pedigrees, this Georgetown home would belong in an American version of Debrett’s, the renowned peerage guide of Britain.
A princess had tea here. Heirs of the Pierre du Pont and R.J. Reynolds families lived here. An ambassador stayed here. Politicians, government officials, nationally known political writers, tennis stars and famous architects called it home.
Its next-door neighbor, Evermay, might overshadow it a bit, but the Edwardian house has plenty of glamour on its own.
The house was designed by architect Nicholas R. Grimm and built in 1887 for David Rittenhouse, a banker and a great-nephew of the astronomer and inventor David Rittenhouse.
Ferdinand Lammot Belin bought the house in 1923 when he purchased Evermay. “Mot” Belin, who became ambassador to Poland in 1932 and who was related to the du Ponts by marriage, lived at Evermay and rented out this house. The political writer William Hard was one of his tenants.
Eventually, Belin’s son Peter took up residence at the house. Peter Belin, a naval intelligence officer and longtime president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, lived in the home until his father’s death in 1961. His wife, the former Mary Cootes, was an accomplished tennis player who competed at Wimbledon.
After Peter Belin moved into Evermay, the house was rented to a succession of boldfaced names. Edward Kennedy and his first wife, Joan, moved into the home in the 1960s after he was elected to the Senate. In 1965, Joan Kennedy hosted a tea for Britain’s Princess Margaret during her visit to Washington.
“Princess Margaret balanced a tea cup, a cigarette and nostalgic Kennedy memories of Britain’s Cliveden Set with practiced ease yesterday at a tea in the home of Mrs. Edward Kennedy,” the Washington Evening Star reported.
John Jarman, a congressman from Oklahoma, rented the home, as did Morehead Patterson, former chairman of the Brookings Institution. While Patterson lived here, then-ambassador to Rome Clare Booth Luce stayed with the Pattersons during her visit to Washington.
Jack and Grace Warnecke rented the house. Jack Warnecke was the California architect who designed the John F. Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery and the master plan for Lafayette Square. Grace Warnecke is a top Russia expert and daughter of George F. Kennan.
Smith and Vicki Bagley rented the house. He was R.J. Reynolds’s grandson, and she was finance chairman for Jimmy Carter’s Washington area campaign.
When Harry Belin, Peter’s son, decided to sell the Evermay estate, Cathy Brentzel and Robert C. Hacker bought the house in 2008.
The house has undergone significant changes over the years, but it retains a timeless look, from the marble reception hall to the elegant formal living and dining rooms, to the stately mahogany-paneled study. A private courtyard with a fountain provides a secluded oasis.
The 10-bedroom, 11-bathroom, 10,000-square-foot house is listed at $22 million.
Listing: 1607 28th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Listing agent: Daniel Heider, TTR Sotheby's International Realty
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