The unusual facade of this modern home in the Mazza Woods neighborhood of Potomac, Md., gives the impression of a condor that has swooped down from the surrounding trees and unfurled its sprawling wings. Designed by local architect Roy Mason, the 1987 house has stone “wings” flanking the entrance, creating a dramatic yet uncomplicated exterior.

“We did not want the house to appear from the street to be big or complex,” owner Frank Ross said. “We wanted it to be very simple looking.”

Ross and his wife, Cecelia, were referred to Mason by their real estate agent. Known for his innovative designs, the Yale-educated architect and founding member of the World Future Society designed the Xanadu home in Florida, which was constructed from polyurethane foam. In the late 1970s, he created plans for a 50-home community of solar-powered houses in Columbia, Md.


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The Rosses asked Mason to design a modern house that would accommodate their vast and ever-growing art collection. They also wanted a comfortable family home that suited their entertaining needs.

“He was definitely out of the mold,” Cecelia Ross said. “I knew I had to have an unusual house. That’s what led us to okaying his design. It was very unique but not out of this world, because some of his houses are crazy. He could have gone crazy but he didn’t.”

Soaring ceilings and expansive walls provide a backdrop for displaying the art, as do the several niches tucked throughout the nearly 10,000-square-foot home. Large panes of glass frame the woodsy landscape, while skylights bathe rooms in natural light.

Some of the couple’s art was incorporated into the house’s design. In the living room, an ornate Chinese screen folds away to reveal a wet bar with a 24-karat gold sink.


“I had the screen already,” Cecelia Ross said. “I thought it would be perfect. We could close [the bar] off if we wanted to. I thought it was a neat idea.”

Cecelia Ross insisted the kitchen be open to the family room so that guests could move easily between the two spaces. The oak-paneled wall surrounding the fireplace in that room was her idea, too. She originally thought she wanted a stone surround but ultimately decided on oak.

“I wanted to continue that warmth of the hardwood floors,” she said.

In addition to the home’s formal rooms, the indoor pool area with its cedar-plank ceiling lends itself to large-scale entertaining. Any overflow could easily spill out onto the large patio.

The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on more than two acres is listed at $1.995 million.

Listing agent: Cathy Johnson, Long & Foster Bethesda Gateway