Excellent homes for sale in the DC area
In 2015, when Tysvaer was looking for a home with some land to build a ground-level annex that was compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, she found this mid-century home from 1964.
“So we sold the brand new house we just built and moved into a full fixer-upper,” Tysvaer said.
When the family of five moved into the home, only one toilet and shower worked, and they were in different bathrooms.
“I subjected my family to all this torture,” Tysvaer said.
But despite the shortcomings, the house and neighborhood had much to recommend. Carderock Springs is a community of 275 Modernist homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was developed by Edmund J. Bennett between 1962 and 1966 and designed by Keys, Lethbridge and Congdon to take advantage of the landscape and topography.
“We love Carderock,” said Tysvaer. “We love the mid-century modern vibe, the situated modernity, the beautiful trees, the walking trails.”
The renovation of the house took place in phases. Tysvaer worked with the same architect who designed her home in Brookdale, Mario Pareja.
“He’s very – how shall I put it? – almost avant-garde,” she said. “But also heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. He had the concept for the giant butterfly roof and some of the really interesting corners that we have in the house.”
The design of the house had as much to do with its functionality as with its good looks.
“I was really obsessed with this idea of how to bring a multi-generational family together in a really comfortable way and give everyone their own space,” she said. “That’s how we finally came up with the design, where we built around a courtyard.”
The house nestles in a wooded enclave that had its pros and cons.
“I was amazed that it was really dark in here, even though Carderock homes are known for their floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors,” she said. “I wanted to experiment and find out how we bring in more natural light as a sustainability concept: use less artificial light; bring more natural light. So I just started adding skylights and didn’t stop for a while.”
Tysvaer, who now calls her home the ‘Lighting House’, installed 11 skylights and two solar tubes to flood the space with natural light.
When Tysvaer was trying to find another use for the cedar ceiling in the original lounge, she called Blake Sloane of Forty Third Place in Hyattsville, with whom she had worked on previous projects. He designed the feature wall in the kitchen using the reclaimed wood.
“He put his design on it, and then I picked the colors,” she said. “I knew that in terms of finishes I wanted a very clean palette with punches of mid-century colors.”
Though the kitchen cabinets look expensive with their flat-sawn, cross-grain walnut finishes, they are Ikea cabinets with custom fronts from Semihandmade, a California company.
“It’s part of our philosophy with my company,” said Tysvaer. “We’re trying to find ways to save money on finishes so we can put more money into where it really counts like insulation, windows, mechanics, the things that make your home more energy efficient and comfortable.”
There are other benefits too.
“Also, it’s a way of not getting too involved in what you’re doing,” she said. “Because I can swap them out, and I thought so too. Thought we might stay here longer but hey I could swap these out in 10 years.”
In the end, the fixer-upper was better than the Brookdale house in many ways, Tysvaer said.
“One thing I can tell you for sure is that it definitely prolonged my father’s life,” she said. “We created a really safe place for him to be and rest. He became very mobile towards the end. But there were also four distinct times that he needed emergency medical care. The ambulance was able to come in and out of our house – I timed it once – it was about seven minutes of them going in and out.
After the success she’s had with it, Tysvaer wants others to think about intergenerational housing.
“I just hope more people embrace this idea that you can live together but still have your own separate spaces and have the best of both worlds,” she said.
The 4,341-square-foot, eight-bedroom, six-bathroom home is priced at just under $2.2 million.
8047 Park Overlook Dr., Bethesda, Md.
- Bedroom bathroom: 8/6
- Approximate square footage: 4,300
- batch size: 0.38 hectares
- features: 1964 mid-century modern home in the Carderock Springs neighborhood was renovated and expanded to accommodate a multi-generational family who also required ADA-compliant access. The house has five sliding glass doors, 11 skylights and two solar tubes. It features energy efficient aluminum clad windows and doors, a smart home hub, instantaneous water heater and solid beech wood doors. The one car garage has an electric car charger.
- Listing agent: Michael Shapiro, Compass