Brooks Ridge is a new development on the estate of former ABC News anchorman Howard K. Smith in Potomac, Md. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

ABC News anchorman Howard K. Smith, who died in 2002, sometimes conducted interviews in the oval library of his Bethesda home. Now that wood-paneled chamber with its curved doors is being refreshed along with the rest of the six-bedroom house.

The free-standing residence adjoins 11 new townhouses in a development called Brookes Ridge on a hilltop overlooking the Potomac. The townhouses are fan-shaped and each is slightly different in size. Together, they create an S-shaped row of buildings on the ridge of the former Smith estate.

Each 4,000-square-foot townhouse has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, an open living-dining-kitchen area and a two-car garage. Ten of the 11 townhouses have private elevators to reach the homes’ four levels and rooftop decks.

“These are homes for people who don’t need a big house, but don’t want to go to a condo,” says Lindsay Reishman, senior vice president of Compass, the real estate firm selling the homes. “The goal was to offer a lot of space with beautiful views but keep the costs in check and not have them driven up by lots of amenities.”

Townhouse prices range from $1.7 million for the only house without an elevator to $2.195 million for the model end unit. Homeowner association fees average about $350 per month and include landscaping and snow removal.

Two of the townhouses, each offered at $1.995 million, are under contract. The price for the Smith house has yet to be determined; Reishman estimates it will be listed within the $3 million to $4 million range later this spring.

Preserved views: Oriented to views of the Potomac, the rowhouses have private rear decks off the living room and walkout basement. These outdoor spaces and the rooftop deck provide vantage points from which to gaze at tree-lined slopes and vistas of McLean and Rosslyn across the river.

The wooded views are preserved because the homeowner association owns the hillside behind the residences and the 1.6 acres have been placed in a conservation easement.

A landscaped common area will replace the construction trailer near the entrance and terraced plantings will screen Brookes Ridge from the Intelligence Community Campus next door.

Nearly completed, the exteriors of the townhouses are brick with corbeled cornices and steel window lintels and sills. Every other residence in the row has bay windows. “The design is traditional, based on rowhouses in the city, but not traditional with a capital T,” says Sassan Gharai of Bethesda-based SGA Cos., the architect and developer of the community.

Interiors are contemporary with floor-to-ceiling glass and large sash windows to fill the rooms with sunlight. A stairway winding up one side is illuminated by more windows and a triangular skylight. “Townhouses are typically dark, but these have tons of light and views,” says Gharai. “When you are climbing the stairs, it feels like you are going into a treehouse.”

Room layouts are adaptable “so you are able to change the spaces to your lifestyle,” Gharai says. The ground level off the garage features a living/media space that could be turned into a bedroom, since it incorporates closets and a bathroom. Below that floor, in the walkout basement, two bedrooms could be used as a home office and a hobby space.

The main living level extends the full length of the second floor with the kitchen set into the center and a gas fireplace at one end. This open floor plan allows the spaces on either side of the kitchen to be turned into a family room or a dining space, depending on the homeowner’s preference.


The kitchen features a 15-foot-long, marble-topped island, providing enough space for five seats. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Two master suites bookend the top floor, where a washer and a dryer are tucked into a hallway closet. “One way to look at this [layout] is as one massive master suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two sets of closets,” says Gharai.

Master bathrooms are fitted with double-sink marble vanities, radiant floor heating and rain shower heads.

High-end fixtures: The kitchen features a 15-foot-long, marble-topped island, providing enough space for five seats. Standard appliances are high-end, including Sub-Zero refrigerators and Wolf ranges, microwaves, warming drawers and ovens. Buyers have a choice of finishes, including the pale maple flooring in the model.

“For the homes that aren’t completed, we are happy to work with homeowners on choosing cabinets, counters and floors, all of which would be included in the list price within reason,” says Reishman.

Among the few extras are the outdoor kitchen bar with gas grill, refrigerator and granite countertop, and gas fire pit on the rooftop deck at an added cost of about $40,000.

Reishman says the townhouses will be ready for delivery this fall. Renovation of the Smith house will be completed by year’s end. Says Reishman: “We are open to working with a buyer to customize the [Smith] home if we found the right fit.”

What’s nearby: Brookes Ridge is within easy walking distance of the Shops at Sumner Village, which includes a Safeway, a CVS and restaurants. The C&O Canal and Capital Crescent Trail are close by and Friendship Heights, Bethesda Row and Georgetown are within a short drive.

Schools: Bannockburn Elementary, Thomas W. Pyle Middle and Walt Whitman High.

Transit: Bus stops for the D5 to downtown Washington and Ride-On Route 23 to Sibley Hospital and Friendship Heights are within walking distance.


Among the few extras are the outdoor kitchen bar with gas grill, refrigerator and granite countertop, and gas fire pit on the rooftop deck at an added cost of about $40,000. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)
Brookes Ridge

6450 Brookes Lane, Bethesda, Md.

The development comprises 11 townhouses, priced from $1.7 million to $2.195 million, and a single-family, freestanding house (price to be determined). Two townhouses are currently under contract.

Builder: Reiss Construction

Architect: SGA Companies

Features: The 11 townhouses have two-car garages, roof decks and two-zone heating and cooling systems. Ten of the 11 townhouses have elevators. Living spaces incorporate gas fireplaces and outdoor decks. Kitchen appliances include Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers, Asko dishwashers and Wolf ranges, microwaves, warming drawers and ovens. Standard finishes in the kitchen and bathrooms include marble, granite and quartz. Master bathrooms have radiant floor heating. Buyers can get a $500 credit at settlement from KVS Law Group.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 4 / 5 (townhouses); 6 / 6 (single-family)

Square footage: 4,000 (townhouse); 9,000 (single-family)

HOA fee: About $350 per month

View model: By appointment only.

Contact: Lindsay Reishman at 202-271-6441 or Lindsay@reishmangroup.com.