The ornately carved marble mantel in the living room is believed to be from the Willard Hotel. (HomeVisit/HomeVisit)

Nick and Nancy Robert had finished their lunch in Georgetown when they decided to wander around the neighborhood. On a whim, they popped into an open house. The house didn’t appeal to them, but the real estate agent suggested they check out one around the corner.

“We walked into the house and said, ‘You know, this is a really great house,’ ” Nancy said. “We looked at two other houses and said, ‘Nope, this is the one we’re buying.’ . . . It’s one of those things when you walk into a place and you just know it’s the right place for you.”

The Roberts are just the third owners of the Federal-style home, which overlooks Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School’s fields. The house was designed by E. Burton Corning and built in 1939 by Ralph Hohenstein as a wedding present for his daughter, Phyllis.

Hohenstein was a real estate agent who formed a brokerage with his brother Owen in 1923. John F. Donahue joined the firm in 1954, and it became known as Hohenstein Brothers and Donahue. The firm was the predecessor to Frank Emmet Real Estate.

Phyllis married Edward Beard in 1938, and they moved into the home shortly after their wedding. Beard would go on to serve 23 years as a municipal judge in Washington before retiring from the D.C. Superior Court. When he died in 1987, his obituary in The Washington Post called him “an outspoken and colorful jurist.”

The Beards lived in the home for only a few years before renting it out, according to information the Roberts received from a previous owner. One of the people to live in the home was Carl H. Wilken, who was the executive secretary of the Progressive Farmers and edited the weekly newspaper Progressive Farm News.

The Beard family sold the house in 2002 to Jerry E. Squires. The Squireses updated the home, renovating the kitchen and bathrooms, but left many of the original features, including the wide-plank oak floors, the dining room chandelier and the ornately carved marble mantel over the living room fireplace.

The mantel is said to come from the Willard Hotel. When the prestigious downtown hotel did an extensive renovation in the early 1900s, many of the castoff mantels ended up in Georgetown homes.

The mantel was one of the features that attracted Nancy Robert to the home.

“My grandfather used to carve wood for churches,” she said. “For me, walking in and seeing the fireplace . . . was very meaningful to me.”

Because her attachment to the mantel was so strong, Nancy briefly considered taking it with them when they sold the house. But in the end, she decided against it.

“In my heart, I couldn’t do that to that house,” Nancy said. “But it really is lovely.”


courtyard with fountain lead to garage and studio (HomeVisit/HomeVisit)

After the Roberts bought the house in 2008, they did extensive renovations to the exterior, including the two-car garage. The front part of the garage is now a studio space that gets what Nancy describes as “fabulous light.” The courtyard that connects the house to the garage is a peaceful landscaped oasis with a fountain.

The four-bedroom, four-bathroom 3,075-square-foot house is listed at $2.8 million. An open house is scheduled Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Listing: 1613 35th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Listing agents: Christie-Anne Weiss and Christopher Ritzert, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

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