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There Goes the Neighborhood: Wacky Homes
Comments () | Published September 1, 2007

The President’s Second Home

The owner of this White House look-alike hasn’t set foot in the real thing. “I tried several times, but I couldn’t get a ticket,” says the 60-year-old engineer, who designed the replica himself as a tribute to the country he adopted after leaving his native Vietnam in the 1960s. He loves the neoclassical style of the presidential mansion. “Every line of it is clean, and there is no pretense, no trying to be beautiful or mighty,” he says.

Though just a third the size of the original, the scale replica is impressive. The grand foyer’s marble floors sweep into vaulted-ceilinged hallways. The office isn’t oval, but the large rectangular room is resplendent with valanced drapes.

Will the owner keep trying to get that White House ticket? He shrugs, looks around his home, and shakes his head as if to say, “What for?”

No Place Like Home

The curved roof and galvanized-aluminum siding of this McLean home scream contemporary, but to its owner they whisper of her childhood home in Israel. “It feels like I’m sitting beside the Mediterranean,” she says, gazing out a wall of windows.

It’s easy to imagine sea breezes drifting through the lofty, almost blindingly white interior of this 2004 renovation. Museumlike minimalism serves as the backdrop for a collection of mid-20th-century wood sculptures by the owner’s mother, who learned the craft by carving wooden spoons in a Siberian work camp.

An avid gardener, the owner, an engineering professor, wanted to open her 1959 split-level to the tranquil ponds and flowing fountains out back. Clever positioning and frosted glass keep the big windows from overexposing the house to the street—where drivers often screech to a halt when they spy the house.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 09/01/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles