At first, the couple had modest renovation goals.
“When we started the process, we were just going to do a small rehab,” Roger said.
Like a lot of renovation projects, this one kept expanding. The expansion was driven in part by a health scare Susan endured during the four-year project. The renovation was a welcome distraction, giving her something other than her illness to focus on.
“We sat down, and we said, ‘You know, we may never get an opportunity to do something like this again,’ ” Roger said. “We don’t know what our future is. Let’s do it all now, do it the way it should be done.”
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And so with the help of architect Michael Beidler of Trout Design Studio they set about creating their dream home.
“He’s got a lot of experience with historic homes and older homes,” Roger said. “His advice was really awesome, wonderful.”
Beidler assembled a highly skilled team — Doug Hellman of Ilex Construction (general contractor), Michael Hampton (interior designer), Gaston and Wyatt (millwork), Lenore Winters Studio (plasterwork), Patrick Cardine (metalwork), Carlisle Wide Plank Floors (flooring), R. Bratti Associates (tile and stonework), Dianne Seiffert Landscape Design (landscaping) and Eric Davidson of American Automation (home automation) — to help him with the project.
“He knew all of the good artisans,” Susan said.
No part of the house was untouched.
“We ended up gutting the entire building structure and rearranging the plan and then put everything back with every possible new technology that’s available,” Beidler said. “We ended up taking off a big addition on the back of the house because they wanted more yard space. We really changed the way the house looks.”
Before work started, Second Chance, a Baltimore deconstruction company, spent two months in the house, salvaging everything it could, including the floors, millwork, windows and plumbing.
The goal was to be respectful of the past while bringing in modern touches. All the doors are eight-foot-tall, two-inch thick, solid walnut. The billiard room has solid walnut paneling, not veneer. The floors are hickory.
“The entire house is all three-coat plaster with a Venetian plaster finish on it,” Beidler said. “There’s no paint on any of the walls in the house. The color is the wall material because that’s what was done when the house was built.”
The front facade was given a facelift.
“There was a lot that really needed some TLC,” Beidler said. “The stone had deteriorated. A lot of the woodwork was rotten and could not be salvaged. The metalwork was all rusted away and falling apart. So rather than just sort of patch and paint, we decided we’re going to make this house proud and we’re going to give it another 100 years.”
They went back to the original quarry in Indiana for the stone for the front steps. The metalwork was gently removed and replicated in copper. The windows were replaced.
Because the Gendrons wanted a place to park their car without losing yard space, Beidler came up with the clever solution of installing a hydraulic car lift that descends below ground. Since they were already digging up the backyard for geothermal wells to heat and cool the house, the lift didn’t require too much extra work.
Roger, a runner, wanted hot and cold plunge pools for after long runs. But after the two stainless-steel pools by Diamond Spas were installed in the backyard, he realized that they weren’t very private. All the neighbors could look down on the pools. So he asked Beidler if he could put two more pools on the roof deck.
“When Roger said he wanted to put a pool on the roof, I thought that was so crazy,” Susan said. “But that roof deck is spectacular. Our elevator goes right to the fourth floor. It was really easy to use, and we were up there a lot.”
The Gendrons had planned to make this their forever home but circumstances changed.
“It’s really bittersweet that we have to sell,” Susan said. “It was such a labor of love.”
The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 5,409-square-foot house is listed at just under $6 million.
Listing: 1711 S St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Listing agents: Kelly Williams and Loic Pritchett, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
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