When Ryan Steadman was looking to buy his first house, in 2012, he quickly became discouraged by what was available in the D.C. region.

He wanted a good-sized house on a decent amount of land. But everything he looked at was too expensive. “I either couldn’t afford it, or it was too competitive,” Steadman said.

Then, as he was looking at listings online, he came across this post-and-beam house in Fort Washington, Md. “I was like, ‘What the heck is that? And where the heck is it?’ ” Steadman said.

The house, one of a handful of Yankee Barn Homes in the area, was like nothing he had seen in Washington.

The New England-based company has been turning old barns into new houses for nearly 50 years. Company representatives did not have records indicating where the barn used to build the house came from, but they told him it was an industrial area.

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Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region

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Yankee Barn Home in Fort Washington | The 1978 post-and-beam house in Fort Washington, Md., was built with materials repurposed from an old barn. It is listed at $485,000. (Stefan Walter)

Steadman was taken aback by a comment his home inspector made when inspecting the house before he purchased it. “He said, ‘You have more money in nails in this one house than I’ve ever seen in my life,’ ” Steadman said.

It turned out the nails, which were also repurposed from the barn, were hand-forged by a blacksmith. The nails weren’t the only unusual aspect of the 1978 house.

“He was pointing out . . . how old the trees were and the way they were cut and nailed. They just don’t do that anymore,” Steadman said. “I had no idea what he was talking about until he started showing me around. It was fascinating. It’s like living in a historic home except it was built in the late ’70s.”

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The focal point of the main living space is the massive brick fireplace. Steadman was told that the original owner wanted to re-create a fireplace she had seen in a children’s book.

“That’s one of the first things you notice when you walk in,” Steadman said. “It’s commanding.”

The problem is that it wasn’t designed properly to draw smoke. The second owner tried installing a fan but eventually put in a wood stove. Steadman said the heat from the stove is enough to warm the entire room in the winter.

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Until he bought the house in Fort Washington, Steadman wasn’t familiar with the area. Now he and his wife, Leanne Erdberg Steadman, are huge fans.

“If you look at Fort Washington, it’s on the river,” he said. “The fort is a national park, and it’s less than a mile down the road. I’m an outdoors person. We like to run, cycle and hike. I didn’t know this existed. I didn’t know you could have miles of hiking trails within a mile of your house and still be 25 minutes from D.C.”

Even though neither one of them is a golfer, the Steadmans like that the house backs up to National Golf Club. The course is a great place for twilight walks.

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Steadman said he feels fortunate his first house was big enough indoors and outdoors to accommodate large gatherings.

“It does entertain well in terms of the space,” Steadman said. “For us, that’s important because it allows us to bring friends and family together.”

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The four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,920-square-foot house, on a half-acre, is listed at $485,000.

Listing agent: Kaye Placeres, RLAH Real Estate

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