Arts patrons Tim and Shigeko Bork bring new life to Evalyn Walsh McLean’s former Georgetown home.
By Ernesto Santalla, AIA, LEED AP
Photography by Joesph Allen
Originally designed in 1814 by architect George Howe, the eye-catching Georgetown residence of Tim and Shigeko Bork was once owned by Evalyn Walsh McLean, Washington socialite extraordinaire and owner of the famed Hope Diamond. McLean was known to slide the supposedly cursed gemstone across the floor of the drawing room during lulls in the lavish parties she hosted. The Dumbarton Tennis Club acquired the house (after it had expanded to the size of an entire block) but eventually sold it to then-U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Alexander Kirk. After the enormous property was subdivided into a series of separate mansions, the club’s pool became a back alley, the ballroom part of one house, and the main kitchen part of another. In the 1960’s, grande dame Ella Poe Burling renovated her large section in the style of the time and her home remained largely untouched until 2001 when the Borks purchased it after her death.