As a former race car driver, Will Langhorne appreciates a finely tuned engine and a sleek chassis. He brought that same attention to detail into the design of his Georgetown house.
“For me, not only the simplicity of what you see, but the quality of the engineering under the hood or behind the walls is just as important,” said Langhorne, who raced for a Porsche team the past 10 years before retiring.
“Something may seem so simple, but as you get into it, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is really engineered to the nth degree.’ It’s so space efficient. It gives you so much space and utility. You see that with a Porsche 911. It’s not a massively huge American car. It’s small and efficient. But what’s engineered into it is the ultimate in efficiency and quality.”
Langhorne said the 1960s home was built by Georgetown developer Richard Levy for his mother. Langhorne’s parents bought the Colonial from the Levy family and then Langhorne bought it from them.
When Langhorne married in 2010, he and his wife, Samar, decided to expand the house. They were fortunate that it fell outside the historic restrictions of the neighborhood and it was the shortest on the block. That freed them to take the house down to its foundation and add an additional story, turning the 2 1/2 floor house into four levels with the help of District-based Rixey-Rixey Architects. They also added a geothermal heat pump, one of two houses in Georgetown with the energy-efficient system.
Years spent racing in Germany gave Langhorne an appreciation for the European approach to quality in small spaces. Several elements in the home have dual purposes. The elevator shaft is made of glass, allowing the skylight — one of seven in the home — to pour natural light into the center of the home. A wooden bookcase in the master suite doubles as a staircase to the roof.
Everything in the contemporary home is meticulously executed, from the German-designed Bulthaup kitchen to the Bali-inspired master bathroom with its pebble-lined shower wall and screen of bamboo stalks to the oversized glass entrance door that turns from opaque to clear at the touch of a button. No detail was overlooked. A small powder room on the main level has a vanity made from a reclaimed Turkish outdoor basin and old railroad ties from Panama.
With the help of interior designer Mona Hajj, the Langhornes added warm woods and whimsical touches to soften the crisp contemporary aesthetic. A star-strewn ceiling gives the home theater an Arabian Nights feel, a nod to the Palestinian heritage of Langhorne’s wife.
No obstructions disrupt the flow of the second level, which stretches to include room for living, dining and cooking. Folding sheets of glass open to extend the space outdoors. The courtyard has a fire pit and a heated, ozone-treated pool with stars, a light show and fountains.
“We really worked to make that [main] floor as open as possible,” Langhorne said. “We wanted a place that would inspire us to hang out at home. It’s hard to create a sanctuary in the city. You can see we really worked every inch of the design to maximize creating a feel of privacy.”
The 5,680-square foot house is listed at $9.9 million. For more information about the home, go to www.moderngeorgetown.com.
Listing: 3245 N St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Listing agent: Russell Firestone III, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
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