Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Real Estate News for November 2003
by Mary K. Mewborn

The District

Ishaq Shahryar, the first officially recognized Afghan ambassador to the United States since 1978, and his wife Haaisa have purchased 76 Kalorama Circle, N.W. for $2.6 million. A well-known California entrepreneur, Shahryar gave up his U. S. citizenship to serve Afghanistan, presenting his credentials to President Bush in a White House ceremony on June 19, 2002. He resigned his position on June 30, 2003. As an American businessman, Shahryar was instrumental in the development of ultraviolet solar cells for NASA's Jupiter Project. As one of three scientists to invent low-cost solar cells, he devised the procedure for their modern day mass production. His new home is a classic Georgian residence with nine bedrooms and seven and a half baths on four levels with high ceilings, beautiful moldings, wood floors, an elevator, a two-car garage, a beautiful garden and wonderful views of National Cathedral. The property had been the residence of Mary Drysdale and was listed for $2,800,000.

Kalorama Circle, N.W. has sold for $2.1 million. Built in 1925, this neo-classical Greek Revival-style brick home is a beautifully renovated historic house with sun-filled rooms, each with fine architectural details. The entrance hall features leaded glass sidelights. The large living room has three sets of French doors leading to the private patio and side garden. The dining room is highlighted with Gracie wallpaper custom designed and hand-painted in China. The master bedroom suite has a dressing room with a large walk-in closet and separate shoe closet and a bath with a marble floor and a double marble-topped vanity. Another bedroom has 16 built-in cedar-lined drawers. There is a large exercise room with an extra refrigerator behind a wall of mirrored doors and a workroom with a built-in worktable and shelves. Additional features include: a security system, complete water treatment system, dual-zone central air-conditioning, a slate roof, and a heated two-car garage. The sellers, Edward and Carolyn Fowler, (he a pharmacologist, she a public health instructor), had been asking $2,290,000 for the spectacular home. The buyer is G. Edward de Seve. Linda Low is the listing agent.

In D.C.'s Kent neighborhood, the stone and brick four bedroom, four and a half bath Colonial at 5044 Macomb Street, N.W.. now belongs to Heather Gradison, a former railroad rate clerk who in 1984 was appointed by Ronald Reagan to chair the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Shortly after taking charge of the ICC, Gradison began interpreting the 1980 Staggers Rail Act and helped set a number of legal precedents that continue to impact transportation labor. Mrs. Gradison is also the former wife of former Ohio Republican congressman Willis Gradison, Jr. who went on to become president of the Health Insurance Association of America. ( He is best remembered by some as the man who in 1994 launched the "Harry and Louise" ads attacking the Clinton health care plan.) Mrs. Gradison's residence was built in 1942, but has $20,000 worth of recent improvements and upgrades. It boasts a large sunlit living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, crown moldings, built-in bookcases and cabinets, and a black slate fireplace hearth. There is also a sun room with a skylight and glass doors, and a master bedroom suite with a large and sunny master bath. The property is noteworthy, too, for its photographer's darkroom, private terrace, and attached two-car garage. Washington Fine Properties' agents Patrick Chauvin, William F. X. Moody, and Ellen Morrel listed the home for $1,350,000. The seller was Dr. James B. Sprague, an ophthalmologist who last month was one of two recipients of the seventh annual "Promotion of Peace and Vision Awards" at the 37th annual Eye Ball.

Marguerite Benson sold her home at 3303 Volta Place, N.W. Mrs. Benson is the widow of Walter Benson, founder and CEO of ServiSystems Inc., a hotel services company. After retiring in 1989 due to ill health, Dr. Benson volunteered as a history teacher at a Washington High School and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He died in June of 1997. The new owners are Michael Janofsky and Joan Harrison. Originally a writer from the West Coast, Michael Janofsky is with the New York Times and Joan Harrison is with the Discovery Channel. Nancy Taylor Bubes, was instrumental in facilitating the couple's $1.5 million purchase of the federal style home which once served as a chimney factory.

North Carolina Senator John B. Edwards' former home at 2215 30th Street, N.W. in Massachusetts Avenue Heights has been sold to the Hungarian government for $3 million. The seven bedroom manse with eight full and two half baths will serve as the new official residence of Ambassador Andras Simonyi, who is expected to move in next month after remodeling and repainting. Neighbors may be interested to note that the ambassador plays the electric guitar and, in addition to his native tongue, speaks English, Danish, German, Dutch and French. He and his wife, Náda Peják, have two grown children.

Washington Fine Properties' agent Giselle Theberge has succeeded in selling the late Ella Poe Burling's house at 3308 R Street, N.W. in Georgetown for approximately $1.6 million. The historically significant house is the largest of the Friendship complex that once belonged to Evalyn Walsh McLean, famous for having once owned the Hope Diamond. The five-story Beaux Arts house is thought to have been built in the 1900s and has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a spectacular drawing room, dining room and library, and a maid's quarters. Mrs. Burling, a noted philanthropist who had entertained in grand style in the home for some 40 years, was the ex-wife of Edward B. Burling, Jr., founder of Covington and Burling law firm.


Bethesda, Dr. Horace "Bud" Bernton and his wife, Constance, have sold their custom contemporary at 7115 Crail Drive for $850,000. The four bedroom home with four full baths sits on a one acre lot and boasts cathedral ceilings, three fireplaces, a great room, and a master bedroom with a private deck. The new owners are Cecil Shaya and her husband, University of Maryland astronomer, Edward Shaya. Mr. Shaya is also the chief scientist on a Raytheon contract to support the Astrophysics Data Facility at Goddard Space Flight Center and is famous for having helped discover a grouping of gigantic star clusters produced by the collision of galaxies.

An original Pardoe Builder's home on the 18th fairway in Avenel has been sold for $1,375,000. Highlights of the property located at 9721 Beman Woods Way include a pool and dramatic three-level deck. The home had belonged to Jin Hyun Weatherly Ahn who died in January of a heart aliment. Ms. Ahn had been president of the Persimmon Group and served on the board of George Washington University. The new owners of the property are Eloise and Doug Poretz. Mrs. Poretz sits on the board of Wolftrap. Mr. Poretz is a founding partner of Qorvis Communications, one of the area's growing PR firms. Long and Foster's Nancy Itteilag was both the listing and selling agent in this transaction.


Anne Jacoboski and her husband R. Bryan Jacoboski, who is the managing partner of Abingdon Investment Management Company in McLean, sold their six-bedroom Colonial at 1125 Brook Valley Road in McLean for $1,995,000. The home has a four-car garage; a 2,500 bottle wine cellar; a sun room with a fireplace; a master bath with his and her dressing areas; and a gated entrance with a long, sweeping drive leading to professionally-designed gardens with cherry and plum trees, more than 200 boxwoods, and a stone courtyard. The grounds also feature a heated swimming pool and a pool house, a "poetry corner," an irrigation system and an invisible dog fence. The new owners are Kathryn and John Larmer, who retired from Soza, an information technology and management consulting company after it was acquired earlier this year by former presidential candidate and billionaire, Ross Perot.

Anne and R. Bryan Jacoboski now own 6500 Ridge Street in McLean's 22101 zip code. They paid $4,724,255. The original portion of this flagstone farmhouse was built in 1937 with stones from a Virginia quarry. In 2001, an addition was constructed with stones from the same quarry. The home has six bedrooms, seven baths and a slate roof. The seller was David G. Decker, the owner of Decker Development Co. in McLean.

Weichert's Penny Yerks was the listing agent for 8751 Georgetown Pike in McLean. The sellers were venture capitalist Jeff and Jill Lubor. The buyers are Richard and Michele Roscitt who moved from Minneapolis when Mr. Roscitt became president and COO of MCI Worldcom. The two year-old stone Colonial sits on five acres and has five bedrooms, an infinity pool, and a home theater. It sold for $3,750,000.

David Mastran, CEO of Maximus, the hugely profitable company he founded in 1975 to provide information-technology services to state and local governments, has, along with his wife Donna, purchased 109 Interpromontory Road in Great Falls. The award winning five-bedroom home is architecturally significant and sits on five wooded acres with a heated swimming pool and easy access to the Potomac River. The house features a two-story entry foyer with a hand-forged chandelier, custom wainscotting, crown moldings and a circular stairway. The centerpiece of the upper level is a luxurious master suite with Delft-tiled gas fireplace, a cathedral ceiling, morning bar, marble bath and French doors that lead to the verandah. Equally inviting is the lower level guest suite with separate sitting room and French doors opening to the gardens. Weichert Realty's Penny Yerks listed the two-year-old, one-of-a-kind showplace at $2.75 million for the sellers Tom and Dianne DeCrosta. It sold for $2.5 million.

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