Ugly duckling to magnificent swan

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5109 Elsmere Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814


List Price:  $1,498,750

Millions of viewers watch home renovation shows. However, only a few  roll up their sleeves and tackle a renovation, particularly a major renovation. This home’s owner did just that.

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A neglected 1949 home with 1,100 square feet of living space, the home today boasts more than 5,500 square feet.

Located in the Maplewood subdivision of Bethesda, off Wisconsin Avenue and close to the Beltway and I-270 exits, the home was designed with an open floor plan on the main level; oversized bedrooms and baths on the second and third levels; and a self-contained two-bedroom in-law suite with private bath, kitchenette and laundry on the lower level.


Entering the home, I noticed that there are virtually no interior walls on this level and natural light flows from all directions. One can see through to the back windows and the backyard trees and deck. Each space — the living and dining rooms, the morning room, the family room and the kitchen — is defined by the placement of furniture, lighting, wainscoting, molding and a fireplace.

Rather than a separated and closed-off formal living and dining room, which rarely get used, the homeowner created a space that can easily transition from formal to informal uses. The dining room is defined by walls that are wainscoted from floor to ceiling and adorned with an elegant and tasteful design, tying in with the arched dormer windows. The same wainscoting continues throughout the entire house covering the bottom third of all walls, creating a consistent look from room to room. The ceiling in the family room is ensconced in a similarly styled custom molding.

The kitchen is a functional work of art. The refrigerator is concealed within a fabulous wood casing, designed by the homeowner and built by craftsmen in India. Painted black, the casing presents itself as an exquisite piece of furniture. A black La Cornue of France stove was handmade to order. It also features granite countertops, custom cabinetry, hidden recycling and trash depositories, a table with matching granite top, and beige tumbled travertine floors.

The entire back wall of the main level features multiple sets of French doors leading to the deck and a stone fireplace. The interior staircase leading to all levels was strategically located along the left exterior wall of the home against an expansive window, allowing for light to flow from every angle throughout the main level and vertically within the staircase.

The second level of the home features a master bedroom suite and three additional bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The third level of the home features a spacious loft and enormous full bathroom. From the dormer windows, the treetop views are well above the roofs of neighboring homes allowing for unobstructed views. Two large skylights provide natural light.

The lower-level, two-bedroom in-law suite is an entirely separated and fully equipped living space with a private entrance. The lower level also features access to a two-car tandem garage.

Jill Chodorov is a licensed Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate. She can be reached at [email protected] or 202-390-9800.

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