Tucked behind a tall brick wall in Georgetown are two houses that were combined into one large residence. An arched gate leads to a narrow courtyard with a whimsical water feature — water tumbles out of the mouths of stone dogs and into a thin pool — and the entrance to the home. The distinctive brick wall was featured on the cover of the book “The Secret Gardens of Georgetown.”
Both entry doors open to a foyer with a marble black-and-white diamond-patterned floor. Arched doorways lead to the living room, dining room and family room, which unfurl along the right side of the house. On the left side, a dramatic curved staircase winds around to the upper and lower floors, and an elevator runs to all levels.
The living room’s wood paneled walls make the space more intimate. French doors in the dining room lead to the garden. The house has two kitchens on the main level — one that opens to the family room, and another that serves as a butler’s pantry. A gas fireplace warms the family room.
Three bedrooms, including the master suite, are on the second level. The top level has two more bedrooms. The lower level has an additional two bedrooms, a media room, a wine cellar and a kitchen with a bar.
Before the two homes were combined in 1998, each one had its share of notable owners. The two houses — 2915 O St. and 2917 O St. — were owned by Emily H. Shepard, who hired W.N. Hall & Sons to build two two-story brick dwellings in 1942. Seven years later, Shepard sold 2915 to Norman S. Paul, who went on to become the undersecretary of the Air Force. Elizabeth P. Guest, known as Lily, bought No. 2915 in 1960. Guest helped found the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and she chaired its friends group for many years.
Harm J. De Blij, a geographer and editor of National Geographic magazine, lived in the home, as did Chase Untermeyer, a former U.S. ambassador to Qatar and a director of Voice of America.
In 1950, Shepard sold 2017 to Polly Wayne Kittelle, a painter and sculptor whose work was shown at the Corcoran. John Osborne, senior editor and columnist for the New Republic magazine, bought it in 1952. After he died in 1981, his widow, Gertrude M. Osborne, remained in the home until 1994.
Real estate investors bought both houses in 1998 and combined them into one dwelling. The next year, Wendy Grubbs, who worked on Capitol Hill and in the White House, bought the home and did an extensive renovation in 2005-2006. When she sold the house in 2014 for $7.4 million, it was the third-most-expensive sale in the District that year.
The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 7,000-square-foot house is listed at just under $8 million.
Listing: 2915 O St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Listing agent: Nancy Taylor Bubes, Washington Fine Properties
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