From 1925 until World War II, a partnership of two brothers, W.C. and A.N. Miller, developed hundreds of houses in Northwest Washington, such as this French-style home in Wesley Heights.
The Millers built many of their homes in the Spring Valley and Wesley Heights neighborhoods. Although the houses built in Spring Valley were overwhelmingly Colonial, the ones in Wesley Heights were a mixture of Colonial, Tudor Revival, Norman Spanish and other styles. The Millers’ in-house architect, Gordon Earl MacNeil, strove to make each Wesley Heights home distinctive.
Built in 1928, the house was called “the latest addition in the triumphs of architectural effectiveness and practical homeyness” in a Washington Star ad that ran at the time.
The first owners were J. Douglas and Frances E. Rollow. He founded Capital Chemical in 1936. She was the daughter of William E. Edmonston, president of Columbia Title. Son J. Douglas Rollow Jr., who succeeded his father at Capital Chemical, was awarded the Navy Cross in 1942 for helping to sink a Japanese aircraft carrier in the Battle of Midway as a Marine dive-bomber pilot. Another son, William E. Rollow, served with the Army on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.M.
After Frances Rollow died in 1976, the house was sold a handful of times before the current owners bought it in 2003.
Washington architect Ankie Barnes of Barnes Vanze, who has researched the Millers and their homes, worked on two renovations of the house — one for the current owners and another for a previous owner. Over the years, he has redone the master bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms, added onto the back of the house and put in new landscaping. (Barnes is especially pleased with how the circular driveway turned out. He saved the magnolia trees by creating a floating concrete surface.)
Despite those changes, Barnes says, the central plan layout of the house remains essentially the same. Only the finishes have been altered over the years.
“The scale of the house has been maintained,” Barnes said. “While we did a fairly sizable renovation, we did it without changing the character of the house.”
The elegant canopy, which is original to the home, over an arched front door provides a graceful welcome. The stucco exterior has been painted a cheery yellow.
The formal living room has venetian plaster walls and a fireplace with a carved wood mantel. Two sets of French doors open to the upper terrace.
The wood-paneled library with its coffered ceiling is flanked by built-in bookshelves. The music room is brightened by the large arched windows and doors. A limestone fireplace warms the space. The formal dining room has a tray ceiling and a crystal-and-brass chandelier.
The spacious kitchen features slate green Kirkstone countertops, known for their strength and durability. The breakfast area is anchored by a rustic, Lew French-designed stone fireplace.
Upstairs, the master suite has a bay window, two walk-in closets and a study. The lower level includes an exercise room, wine cellar, bedroom and bathroom.
A loggia with arched openings leads to a 40-foot pool and expansive grounds.
The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 6,550-square-foot house is listed at $6,495,000.
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