Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

by Mary K. Mewborn

The District

Atlantic Media mogul David Bradley who purchased Mortimer Zuckerman's Atlantic Monthly for $10 million in 1999, has now purchased 2510 Foxhall Road for $5.6 million. David, who bought the property as an investment, is going to let his 85 year-old mother, Mary Ann, redecorate it for re-sale. Mary Ann Sullivan Bradley has been restoring houses through the years but in this case will be competing with the likes of Billy Baldwin who was the original decorator when the sellers, D.C. power couple Deeda and William McCormick Blair, Jr., purchased the home in 1968 for less than $400,000. Deeda, whose given name is Catherine Gerlach, is internationally known as a charming perfectionist with a keen eye for beauty in detail. In the 1960’s she was inducted into Eleanor Lambert’s Best-Dressed Hall of Fame thanks to her personal style and taste in Channel suits and Givenchy gowns. The Honorable William McCormick Blair, Jr. served under President John F. Kennedy as ambassador to Denmark and under Johnson’s administration as the ambassador to the Philippines. Blair was also recruited by Robert Kennedy to be the first general director of The Kennedy Center. Highlights of the Blairs’ old 6,200 square-foot, nine-bedroom brick Georgian mansion include an octagonal master bedroom suite, a heated pool, a home theater, six fireplaces, marble floors, triple crown moldings, and a spectacular two-story circular staircase. The house has been featured in Vogue and House Beautiful and was built in the 1930’s by diplomat Vinton Chapin and his wife, Elizabeth, who combined design elements of Europe and America’s most palatial homes. Prior to the home’s recent sale, the famous property had been under contract for over $6 million, but the deal fell through. The Blairs’ listing agents were Giselle Theberge and William Moody of Washington Fine Properties. Although the Blairs spent nearly four decades involved in political and philanthropic fundraising in their District mansion, they are no longer entertaining on the scale they once did and have therefore have opted to move to an apartment in New York. They are due to depart D.C. next month.

Sotheby’s international affiliate, Washington Fine Properties, has set a new record in Forest Hills with the sale of 4701 Linnean Avenue, N.W. for $4.4 million. The luxuriously renovated fieldstone Colonial is set on a gated half acre of beautifully landscaped grounds punctuated by a forty-foot heated pool and spa. The residence boasts large public rooms with high ceilings, exquisite moldings and millwork. For entertaining, there is a music room and a "Hollywood style" home theater. The master bedroom suite has rich mahogany paneling, a walk-in closet, and a charming sunroom overlooking the terraced gardens. There are six additional bedrooms, six full baths and staff quarters. The seller bought the historic home anonymously in 2000 for $2,250,000 from Giant Foods heiress Frederika L. Lehrman. Washington Fine Properties’ Giselle Theberge listed the estate for Taskier for $4.9 million. Washington Fine Properties William F. X. Moody brought the buyer to table. While Washington Fine Properties does not disclose clients’ names, Washington Life believes the buyer to be Dr. Richard Jones, a cardiac surgeon with Children’s Hospital.

Mary Douglas Drysdale of Drysdale Design Associates Inc. has sold her home and place of business 78 Kalorama Circle for $3.6 million. As one might expect given Ms. Drysdale’s reputation as one of the top design professionals in the country, the Kalorama mansion is a hallmark of style and elegance featuring exquisite architecture and a beautiful sculpture garden. The extraordinary residence has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a library, and a grand entranceway. Washington Fine Properties’ William F. X. Moody and Florence Meers were both the listing and selling agents. The home was originally placed on the market in late 2003 with an asking price of $3.9 million. Although Washington Fine Properties does not divulge clients’ names, Washington Life has learned that the new owners are Amy and Elliot Gerson. Mr. Gerson is a lawyer and 1974 Rhodes scholar who has served as the chief administrator of the American Rhodes Scholars' Association. In June of last year, he became executive vice president of the Aspen Institute and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mary Drysdale and Drysdale Design Inc. are now located at 1204 Q Street, NW near Logan Circle.


By press time, Mark Lerner reportedly will have received almost $6 million in return for the title to 10111 Irongate Road in Potomac. Lerner is a principal of Lerner Enterprises, the family owned real estate development behemoth responsible for creating Tysons Corner Center, Tysons II, White Flint Mall, White Flint North, Washington Square and Dulles Town Center. Lerner is also president of Lerner Corporation their leasing and property management company. He leaves behind a spectacular eight bedroom home with more than 16,000 square-feet of quality living space including an exceptional master bedroom suite with a terrace, courtyard, and solarium-style office affording gorgeous views of cherry trees and lush gardens. There is also a grand entrance gallery, an impressive sports court, a recreation/pool room, separate family room, a screened porch, and large staff quarters. Ted Gossett, Diane Fentress, Adaline Neely, and Florence Meers, all with Washington Fine Properties, listed the property. Lavette Shorb, another Washington Fine Properties agent, represented the buyer who is said to be a foreign national who wishes to remain anonymous.

Block Builders in conjunction with GTM Architects has sold their just completed four-level house at 7912 Radnor Road in Bethesda. The six-bedroom house has five full baths, chef’s kitchen, library, a finished basement, and a detached garage with a studio apartment. The Montgomery County property was listed by Long & Foster’s Zelda Heller and sold for $1,875,000. The buyer is C. Sage Givens, the founding managing partner of Acacia Venture Partners and a former director of the board and audit committee member for HealthSouth Corporation.

Zelda Heller was both the listing and selling agent for the property next door at 7914 Radnor Road, yet another beautiful new home constructed and sold by award winning Block Builders and GTM Architects. This house also has four levels with six bedrooms, five full baths, a gourmet kitchen, and huge living and dining rooms with exquisite detailing and hardwood floors. There is also a library, a family room, a finished basement, and a deck. The house was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Reid Liffmann for $1,915,000. Reid Liffmann is a partner with Greenebaum and Rose, one of our area’s premier real estate developers with offices in D.C. and Baltimore. In addition to developing offices and retail properties, the company is responsible for more than twenty residential developments.

A beautiful penthouse apartment in Building II of the Somerset Complex located at 5610 Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase has sold for $2,520,000. Unit 18B has 3,650 square-feet of living space including expansive living and dining rooms, four bedrooms, and four full and one half baths. There are marble and hardwood floors throughout, two balconies, two parking spaces and extra storage facilities. Zelda Heller with Long & Foster listed the property for the seller, Mary Issa al-Loussi. The new owner is His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Fahd al-Faisal who made international real estate news in 1998 with the sale of the Hotel Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, Portugal, to Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. for $27 million. (Two years ago the company resold the 141-room hotel for $40 million.) Prince Khalid is one of the eight sons of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and is governor of Asir Province, a remote southwestern sector of that nation. He is also a close personal friend of Britain’s Prince Charles. In the largest cultural collaboration to date between Saudi Arabia and Britain, the two royals recently staged a joint exhibit of their paintings in London. In addition to being a well-known painter and a poet, Prince Khalid owns Al-Watan, a Saudi newspaper. Despite his Oxford education, Prince Khalid has denounced those who advocate the westernization of his homeland.


Washington Fine Properties has set a new sales record in Northern Virginia. Their listing at 1015 Basil Road in McLean sold for $9,895,000, the highest price ever for a non-waterfront property in the area. (Washington Fine Properties also holds the record for the highest waterfront sale in Northern Virginia with the 1999 transfer of “Merrywood” to William Conway co-founder of the Carlyle Group. The nine-bedroom, seven-acre waterfront estate once owned by Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ mother and stepfather, Janet Lee Bouvier Auchincloss and Hugh D. Auchincloss sold for $15 million.) The sellers of 1015 Basil Road are Brian and Gayle Marlowe, who have been generous in support of such organizations as the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation and Hospices of the National Capital Region. Their former 16,000 square-foot residence has four bedrooms, six full baths, two half baths, and five fireplaces. Highlights of the luxuriously appointed home include an indoor tennis court, master bath accented by a ballroom-sized chandelier, exercise room with murals reproduced from Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomical sketches, wine cellar, and family room with soaring ceilings and French doors opening onto the swimming pool and gardens. Also situated within the 2.4 acre gated estate is a 2,300 square-foot, three-bedroom guesthouse.

7797 Solitude Ct.

In the McLean gated community known as The Reserve, 7797 Solitude Court has changed hands. Built by the Gulick Group, the six-bedroom home with six baths had belonged to Susan and J. Stephen Simon. Mr. Simon, a senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation who joined the company in 1967, holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Duke University (where he is a member of the Board of Visitors) and an MBA from Northwestern. The Simons listed their property with Weichert’s Penny Yerks with an asking price of $2.879 million. Within a week, the Fairfax County property had been snapped up by Michael and Stacy Mendler.

Please Send Real Estate News Items to Mary_Mewborn@Yahoo.com

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