World acclaimed Greek-Cypriot architect Angelos Demetriou wasn’t sure his clients would approve of his design for their home perched on a cliff above the Potomac River in McLean.
Demetriou, who was known for designing several embassies on Massachusetts Avenue and revitalizing Georgetown’s waterfront and the West End, feared the monastic-like, low-slung dwelling might be off putting to arts patron and philanthropist Elaine Decker Rosensweig and her husband, investor Stanley Rosensweig. Elaine Rosensweig died last year after outliving her husband by 17 years. Demetriou died in 2009.
“He thought they would not like it because it’s a very unusual feel,” said listing agent Penny Yerks of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “But when they saw the plans, they just fell in love with it.”
Demetriou told Dossier magazine, which honored his design with its 1990 Home and Garden Award, that the couple wanted “great serenity and austerity.” And that’s what he gave them. The unusual home was constructed in 1988 using concrete and plaster for the walls, blue stone quarried at Mount Pelion, Greece, for the floors and copper for the roof.
The entrance to the home is through a tunnel-like hallway that opens to a dramatic great room nearly 40 feet long with a 14-foot-high barrel-vaulted ceiling. One end is anchored by an imposing 17th-century fireplace that came from a country house in Gloucestershire in 28 crates. The couple imported from England not only the fireplace but also the stone mason to reassemble it. The remaining rooms unspool over one level.
Soaring archways separate the great room from the river room. Sweeping panoramas of the Potomac can be seen through its enormous curved windows.
“The views of the river are spectacular,” Yerks said.
The 5,724-square-foot home is filled with curves. Besides the archways that lead from room to room and the enormous arch windows, both the dining room and master bedroom are half circles. Large circular skylights illuminate the indoor 40-foot lap pool.
The house is nestled on 5.4 acres of wooded land with 378 feet of waterfront. The outdoor terrace is ideal for outdoor entertaining. The four-bedroom, six bathroom home is listed at $9.995 million.
Listing: 5702 Fern Hill Run, McLean
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