House on a hill on the market for $3.2 million in Arlington, Va.
HOUSE OF THE WEEK/ The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house is built into a hill, giving each level access to the outdoors.
by Sophia Solano
What initially attracted Karen Sowell to this 1935 house in Arlington, Va., was not its Tudor exterior or its ample entertaining spaces. It was that the prior owners had raised a daughter here. Sowell committed to doing the same.
She said she was helped by youth programs offered through a Country Club Hills neighborhood association, a group— “less formal than some of the others in town” — that is also involved in adult education.
The house, next to the Washington Golf and Country Club, was built into a hill, which makes the outdoors accessible from all levels. It has two floors above a finished lower level and has undergone two renovations since Sowell purchased it in 2005. The first, she said, “was really to update the house.”
"It has a very charming, old style," she said. "So we wanted to modernize and open it up and brighten [it], keeping with that style."
The back of the house was rebuilt to include a large pantry or closet on the first (or main) floor. She reduced the amount of wall to connect the kitchen to the family room, and redecorated every room in the house with Andrew Law, a longtime D.C.-area interior designer. The primary bedroom suite, on the second floor, was added to the back of the house as part of the first renovation.
“But it’s all very well blended,” Sowell said. “I’ve never slept better than in that room."
Sowell’s second renovation of the house, completed in 2020, turned her daughter’s playroom into a guest room and modernized the bathrooms. She also made cosmetic changes throughout the house to “bring it into this decade.”
To the left of the foyer, on the main floor, is a formal living room with a wood-burning fireplace and oversize, paneled windows, and to the right is a formal dining room with wainscoting and patio access.
The kitchen has soapstone countertops, a dining area and two sinks, including a prep sink. Behind the kitchen, there is a family room (added in the first renovation) with a gas fireplace. A hallway leads to a wood-paneled library and a sunroom. This level also has a powder room, renovated in 2020.
On the second floor, the primary bedroom suite has bay windows with built-in seating, and there is a half-moon window at ceiling height. Outside the bedroom is one of the property’s three patios. The en suite bathroom has a two-sink vanity and a shower with a frosted window bringing natural light through an exterior wall. The suite also has a walk-in closet and a seating area. Another bedroom on this floor has an en suite bathroom, and two more bedrooms share a hall bathroom.
The lower level has a laundry and a bathroom, as well as a recreation room with a wet bar and a gas fireplace. This level also connects to a two-car garage.
Besides a closet she might like to expand, Sowell said, she wouldn’t change anything about the house.
“It’s so perfectly put together,” she said. “Some rooms are great to sit down with a little book and look outside, because there’s greenery outside every window. The kitchen is fun and festive. … Every room has a different feel.”
Country Club Hills, $3,200,000 3201 N. Wakefield St, Arlington, VA
Approximate square-footage: 4,400
Lot size: 0.4 acres
This 1935 Tudor-style house is one of the older homes in the Country Club Hills neighborhood of Arlington County. It has undergone two renovations since 2005. In addition to living and family rooms, it has a library and a sunroom. There are three patios, one of which adjoins the primary bedroom suite. The lower level has a recreation room and is connected to a two-car garage.
Listing agent: Daryl Judy, Washington Fine Properties