When it comes to her writing, poet Linda Pastan never had to go far for inspiration. The setting of her mid-century modern in Potomac, Md., has influenced her work for years.
“All my writer friends go to writers’ colonies to write, and I had my own writers’ colony right there, so I didn’t have to go,” Pastan said.
Pastan, a former poet laureate of Maryland, has published more than a dozen books of poetry and essays. Several of her poems, including “Red Fox,” “Warm Front” and “Wildflowers,” refer to the house’s bucolic surroundings.
“Before we moved there, my poems were sort of obsessed with baking bread,” Pastan said. “Once we moved there, falling leaves are in practically every poem. I would just look out the window, and if I couldn’t think of anything to write, I just had to look at what the trees were doing that day. It was magical.”
Pastan and her husband, Ira, a scientist who founded the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute, built the house in 1973. Designed by noted Washington architect Winthrop W. Faulkner, the low-slung house almost blends into its environment.
“We knew that we really loved Frank Lloyd Wright,” she said. “We wanted a house where every room felt like it was outside.”
Large panes of glass frame woodsy vistas throughout the home. The U-shaped house wraps around a central deck with a small garden at its center. When one steps through the front door, the deck and the woods are immediately visible. Mexican terra cotta tiles ground the space in the hallways and the kitchen.
As one moves into the living room, thin wood beams soar across the vaulted ceiling. The wood mantel on the large fireplace echoes the beams on the ceiling. A geometric bookshelf with clever niches is ideal for displaying artwork and books. Random-width hardwood floors add warmth.
In addition to the formal dining room, there’s a spacious breakfast room in the large kitchen.
The Pastans added on to the house in later years, expanding the master bathroom and tacking on a screened porch.
“You can’t see anything on the screened porch except trees and flowers,” she said. “It’s a magical house, and it was very, very hard to leave it.”
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,756-square-foot house on 6.29 acres is listed at $1.4 million.
Listing agent: Lynda O’Dea, Long & Foster
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