“What you see, standing on Prospect Street,” George Hemphill says, “isn’t the original façade of Halcyon House.” In fact, there was an epic renovation befitting its owner, John Dreyfuss, whose overweening interest in mythos defines much of his cerebral yet deeply classical sculpture. Dreyfuss spent 13 years working on the restoration – originally, the house had been purchased by his father. The work – one of passion rather than routine, Hemphill asserts – began when Dreyfuss Sr. became ill and son John moved home to Washington to finish what his father had started. It became a trust and a foundation of sorts; Dreyfuss, who lives and works in one part, also rents portions of its massive interior as separate residential apartments and lets the space out for events. There’s a chapel on the property, a swimming pool and a backyard overlooking the Potomac: too much for one man. The red brick exterior is actually what was once termed the “porch” of the building and was added much later to make the property advance enough to meet Prospect Street neatly. Inside, there are detailed photos of the original construction, including several renovation models.
The Architect’s Georgetown Atelier