Richard and Elizabeth Sandza went looking for a larger house in 1996 to accommodate four children. Their search brought them to this 1931 English Tudor on what Richard described as “the prettiest street in Washington.”
The house, at 4301 Forest Lane NW in Wesley Heights, came with history. One former owner was Frederick Ayer Jr., who served as an FBI special agent in the United States and Europe during World War II and was involved in a military aid program in Greece after the war. He is remembered for helping solve the murder in 1948 of CBS’s chief Middle Eastern correspondent and for his books, which include a memoir of a famous uncle, Gen. George S. Patton.
Another owner, Nancy Young Duncan, was national treasurer of Planned Parenthood in the 1970s and helped found the Center for Youth Services, a program that aided D.C. youth. She also served on the board of the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington.
Across the street is the house occupied by Richard M. Nixon and his wife, Pat, during his vice presidency. Before the Nixons’ tenure, the property was owned by Homer Stille Cummings, chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1919 and 1920 and the U.S. attorney general under President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1939.
Current neighbors include Anthony S. Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell; and a daughter and grandchildren of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.
The current owners at 4301 Forest Lane, former Newsweek correspondent Richard Sandza and his wife, Elizabeth, now practice law at a firm of their own.
They are downsizing and moving to Georgetown, they said, but not before renovating nearly every part of the house, including the basement. They attached a Juliet balcony to the primary bedroom, put a patio in the backyard and installed additional windows throughout.
The house has four levels, including the finished basement.
The main level, the first floor above the basement, has a dining room, an updated kitchen, a breakfast nook with a high ceiling, a living room with a wood-burning fireplace and a glass-walled sunroom that the Sandzas upgraded from a screened porch.
The layout is “great for entertaining,” Elizabeth said in an email, “because it has a huge dining room and so many rooms in which to socialize on the first floor.” She held a yearly Christmas open house for the neighbors, and once hosted a reception for Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), D.C.’s nonvoting delegate to Congress.
The primary bedroom suite, with en suite bathroom, is on the second floor, which also has a family room with a wood-burning fireplace, three additional bedrooms and two additional bathrooms. Besides the balcony, recent renovations to the primary suite include an updated bathroom and a dressing room.
The top level has another bedroom with an en suite bathroom.
The basement has a recreation room with a wood-burning fireplace, a laundry room and storage space, as well as an in-law suite that includes a kitchenette, a bedroom and an en suite bathroom.
The back of the house is lined with beech trees. The backyard has a wood deck, a flagstone patio and a cabana-style lounge. The property is within walking distance to Glover Archbold Park.
- Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/6
- Approximate square-footage: 6,100
- Lot size: 0.43 acres
- Features: This 1931 house has a living room with a wood-burning fireplace; a rec room with a wood-burning fireplace; a family room with a wood-burning fireplace, a cathedral ceiling and built-in shelving; and a sunroom. The kitchen has a butler’s pantry and a breakfast nook. An in-law suite on the basement level has a kitchenette, a bedroom and an en suite bathroom. There is a patio in the backyard.
- Listing agent: Robert Hryniewicki, Adam Rackliffe, Christopher Leary and Micah Smith, HRL Partners at Washington Fine Properties.
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