Last week we introduced a spacious and recently renovated home to you in the first part of our Rumble in Rosemont series. That same weekend we also toured another house located just about four houses down the block. This second home, though a similar size, price point, and age as the first home, is significantly different in just about every other way. It was interesting to see the first home and then tour the second to compare the two. We came away from both with very specific pros and cons between the pair, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on the comparison of the two. Most specifically, we'd like to know which one you'd choose if someone were offering to give you either of them.

Without further ado, let's see the challenger in the main event card in The Rumble in Rosemont.

In the blue corner, weighing in at 6 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, and 7,590 square feet, this home, built in 1917 and hailing from the historic and tranquil neighborhood of Rosemont in Alexandria, Virginia, has undergone a massive and long running renovation at the hands of the family who currently lives there since their purchase of the home in 1999. Now 14 years later, under the ownership of an interior designer and architect pair, the home has undergone a total transformation that took the house from a modest family home to what it is today.

Similar to the first home, the approach to this residence is impressive with a large front porch and substantial front door.

Upon entry into the home, you are immediately struck by the significant difference in the home's interior. This is not the farmhouse-like interior that probably once adorned this house. No, this interior has been completely altered to suit the tastes of the owners.

As a "house purist," there's a part of me that immediately wishes the home's old layout was still in place, but I need to remind myself that this is not my house, it's the home of the owners, and the owners have invested years of effort, thought, and devotion into turning this home into their home, much like we are doing with our house. Focusing on this aspect of the home and renovation, I was able to tour it and appreciate what it has been transformed into, as well as it's finer points.

To the right of the grand entry area is the home's formal living area...

...and to the left is the large and bright dining room. 

These two rooms probably comprised the majority of the original first floor, but the renovation has opened the entire floor plan and expanded the overall space significantly, offering a center hall with grand staircase, as well as a large and open kitchen and family room area.

As you can see from the photo, the ceiling above the kitchen has been opened significantly, offering a ton of natural light into the room and a unique look to the room's overhead lighting. The kitchen space is generous without being wasteful. The majority of the counters are granite with a huge island that includes a very thick and solid wood (mahogany?) surface.

The kitchen's cabinets are all fully custom and built specifically to fit in the space, including integrated and counter depth refrigerators. The windows and doors are configured to allow ample light into the room, and the wood counter and seating area to the left offers multiple eat-in areas to have an informal meal.

One of the true focal points of the first floor, and of the house in general, is the large central staircase. When I took a look at its various features, it's obvious the owners put a tremendous amount of time, thought, and budget into creating this aspect of the home's interior.

The view from below is rather striking as the staircase climbs its three floors towards the top of the house.

As we climbed the stairs I paid attention to the banister itself. A typical afterthought in most renovations, this handrail and various newel posts are heavy, thick, and an extremely impressive bit of craftsmanship that has been executed quite nicely. I'm not positive, but I believe this handrail and associated parts is mahogany.

The second floor of the home offers the master suite with dressing area and closet, all of which that retain some of the home's original pine floors.

The master bathroom includes the home's original six foot claw foot bathtub that's been nicely restored, a large shower, his and hers sinks, and an interesting and nicely executed small marble checkered floor.

Additionally, the second floor is home to another few bedrooms and bathrooms that are currently configured as sitting areas or "dens." I think that's what happens when you have an extremely large house and your children slowly begin leaving home. 

The bathrooms could use some updating, but they are all in good shape and are quite workable.

The main home area also has a third floor that is fully finished with two more bedrooms and another full bathroom. 

The home's outdoor space is modest in size, but absolutely lovely in how it's been landscaped, organized, and lit. It's obvious a tremendous amount of time and effort has been put into the planning and upkeep of this secluded feeling entertaining area. The border created by the home and landscaping makes the area feel completely separate from the neighbors' yards, something rare in this densely packed neighborhood.

In the photo above you can see the extension from the house that runs left to right towards the back of the property. This area of the home is actually something completely unexpected. The driveway for this house actually enters from the rear of the property from King Street, which runs behind the house. This driveway leads to the home's two car garage addition.

However, this isn't any old garage, it's actually an office/apartment with full kitchen, bath, and bedroom. The garage bays are actually the owner's office space. There's actually a long hallway that leads from the main house to this garage apartment space, and that's where you'll find a nicely sized laundry room... well as a great pantry/china storage room. Wendy's eyes bugged out at this feature as it's one of her dreams. The whole house is actually full of interesting nook areas, like this mid level window seat off of the stairs.

While the china storage area may be Wendy's favorite part, my favorite area is in a room off of the large finished basement. The utility room.

This room alone shows the time, care, and thought that has been put in this home's renovation. It's a veritable HVAC, electrical, and automation nerve center, and it was completely drool-worthy from a house nerd perspective.

Two high efficiency condensing boilers, a hydronic air coil, multiple loops, a multi-zone radiant manifold, this house has my dream HVAC setup, all with gloriously done copper and organized PEX. Not to mention all of the network cable running to various patch panels in this room, and how clean it is! I could have hung out in that room for days.

All told, this house is not the 1917 Farmhouse that it once was. Few things exist from the home's more modest beginnings, and that makes me a bit sad. But the owners have obviously devoted years of effort and gobs of money to making this home what they ultimately wanted it to be. The finishes are detailed and of very high quality and workmanship, and the layout of the home is one that still allows for separate rooms, but also ties them all together in a consistent and accessible manner. 

So now for our game...

Which Would You Choose?

Alex: Though it's not my dream home by any means, I have to go with the home in today's post. The work and thought that went into the renovation is obvious, and the house just feels more functional to me of the two. The quality of materials used, planning of the HVAC and automation aspects, and the office/apartment over the garage make this home more ideal than the other for me. Oh, and did I mention that I really liked the utility room? No, seriously, I really did, like, a lot. 

Wendy: It's a tough call on this one, but ultimately I would choose today's home over the one we featured last week. Even though the kitchen of the other home takes the prize, I love this home's curb appeal, the separate apartment, the gorgeous butler's pantry, and the perfectly manicured lawn. 

So what about you? Do you prefer today's house, or the one from last week? I know the prices are extreme and still off from one another, but what if someone were to gift you the house of your choosing? Would you pick home number one, or home number two? Which house takes "The Rumble in Rosemont" in your mind? 

If you'd like to see additional details, they are available on the home's listing page.

Interested in reading about other interesting homes for sale? Want to offer your take on "would you trade"? Check out the Open Housing section of Old Town Home.

Photo Credits: Listing agent, Syd Wiley, where MRIS is noted in watermark.

Comments 6


3/25/2013 at 1:16 PM
I agree with both of you. This house has a nicer layout, less gaudy mouldings, and very nice curb appeal, but for me, it's also not a house I would consider buying. IF I ever buy another house, I think I'm really going to look for one with original windows, floors, and unpainted trim, since those (for me) are the most important 'old house' features.

What I did really like with this particular house, though, are the bathrooms. I thought they did a good job there. Modern/updated, but still with an old fashioned feel (claw tub, pedestal sinks, and mosaic floor tiles).
3/25/2013 at 9:23 PM
I saw this house but spent so much time in it the other was closed! I also saw the house at 4103 Seminary built in 1850. It underwent a major renovation. 5 br/3.5baths/4 fireplaces/almost an acre. While I loved your second house I'll take the acre of garden. Check it out!
3/26/2013 at 4:07 PM
If I were to choose whether to live in a grand house or a small apartment, I would choose a small apartment. Cleaning time is easy, maintenance is cheap and you can feel secure knowing you have a few windows and doors to lock.
3/27/2013 at 5:57 PM
That is a very clean setup in the basement, sadly mine will always look like a rats nest unless I somehow remove all the old wiring from the walls (not gonna happen). I do feel this house tried to stay true to the time period of the house more so than the other and I absolutely love that staircase and landscaping/lighting. That being said my income would have to be significantly higher (aka lottery) to afford a house like this.
Kathy S
3/27/2013 at 8:57 PM
I think I liked the other house better overall. Even if it was ginormous!
10/18/2015 at 1:12 AM

This post's house had me at that staircase!!!

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