It’s hard for Liz Bostick to say goodbye to her family home. The four-bedroom Colonial on nearly 2.5 private and wooded acres along the Potomac was built by her father, Edward Bostick, in 1954. It was designed by Walter M. Macomber, the Colonial Williamsburg Restoration's first resident architect and a former resident architect of Mount Vernon, as the original home of the Wycliffe on the Potomac community. That pedigree shows in the home’s details.
“The house is not a McMansion. It’s relatively modest and lovely, private and peaceful,” said Liz about the three-level home with more than 4,000 square feet.
“As soon as you walk over the threshold, you stop and then your jaw drops,” she added. “From the foyer there is a panorama of the river, a spectacular view. It captures you.”
That amazing view — all the way to the Maryland side of the Potomac — is straight ahead from the foyer through the 17-foot picture window of the living room. The living room features wainscoting and a large wood-paneled wall with a wood-burning fireplace. The wood paneling, moldings and built-ins are of woods acquired in Williamsburg.
Although the home is empty now that Liz’s mom, Norma Bostick Hartwell, has listed it for sale, Liz remembers when it was furnished with two large Oriental rugs that delineated sitting areas on either side of the long room. “My mom would sit in one of the sitting areas and do her needlepoint,” said Liz. “She was passionate about it.”
The living room opens to a dining room that also features wainscoting and a corner fireplace with wood paneling. Liz recalls holiday dinners there with the fireplace going.
“My dad loved to have all three of the fireplaces going at once — in the living room, the dining room, and the library,” she said. The library is also on the main floor, and has rich wood paneling with custom shelving and cabinets.
The main level floors are an unusual oak peg hardwood.
Liz’s family has owned the house for seven decades. After her dad died in 1969, Liz’s mom continued living in the home and remained there after her subsequent second marriage, to Steve Hartwell. During its tenure, the family converted the river-facing screened porch off the living room to an all-weather, glassed sunroom with flagstone floors. That sunroom became the family favorite.
“It was my dad’s study. He wanted to see the river from every room,” Liz said. “It was also my mom’s favorite spot. She would sit there and do needlepoint while looking at the yard.”
The main level master suite, comprised of a bedroom, bath and sitting area, has been updated. (There are three more bedrooms and two full baths on the second floor.) The suite includes large windows, built-in bookcases, and a modernized master bath that includes a soaking tub, double sinks and toilets, and a mirrored dressing room with extensive built-ins.
The kitchen also has been renovated, and now features cherry cabinets, granite countertops and gourmet appliances. There is eat-in space with built-in seating tucked into a bay window with views of the river and front yard.
The finished lower level features a large recreation room with extensive shelving. The room opens to a flagstone patio and a walkway to the private, riverfront beach.
Home at The Beach
The home fronts the Potomac with a sandy beach that Liz and her brother Warren once used for walks, watching wildlife and launching a canoe.
“You can see Mount Vernon from the beach; it’s practically next door,” Liz said. “As kids, we would sneak over to the Plantation area. We didn’t go onto the property, but it was exciting to practically touch the place.” The Wycliffe on the Potomac neighborhood was once part of the Mount Vernon estate.
Liz also recalls nighttimes at the beach. “The beach is especially lovely when there is a full moon. It’s like Moon River.”
The property is quiet, secluded and gated. Liz’s dad was in the defense industry and valued his privacy. The tiered path from the house gently sloping to the river was kept narrow to enhance the private retreat atmosphere of the estate.
Every Square Inch of Yard
“It’s the land itself that has so many memories,” Liz said. “We so enjoyed every square inch of it.”
She recalled often walking through the woods with her brother to check out a small creek and watch the abundant wildlife. She also remembered having numerous animals on the property while her father was an honorary member of the Humane Society of the United States.
“He brought home animals,” Liz said. “We had chickens, ducks, even a donkey named Mary Belle. My brother and I tried to ride her bareback and she would run to the holly tree or fence and rub against it so we had to jump off.”
Liz also has fond memories of watching fireworks from the house. “There's a rather large portion of the rooftop toward the north end of the house that is flat. We sunbathed on it as teens; you can put chairs on it and watch the fireworks from Mount Vernon on the 4th, and the steady parade of boats on their way to and from the fireworks downtown.”
When Liz’s dad was alive, he had a large vegetable garden. “But we didn’t have a lot of landscaping,” Liz said. “So mom made it her project to create the beautiful yard and gardens. She spent the last 40 years turning it into something really lovely.”
The lushly landscaped yard includes hydrangeas, rhododendrons, Japanese maples, diadora trees, butterfly bushes and numerous flowering plants, including peonies, a favorite of Liz’s mother.
“Originally the house was very much a family house, privacy was a priority,” Liz noted. “But when mom remarried she and Steve entertained a lot.”
Liz said the home was often the site of political fundraisers, mostly in more recent years. “I saw a number of politicians as guests,” she said, noting one was George Allen. “It’s a great place to entertain.”
The house, at 9307 Ludgate Drive, is now on the market for $3.2 million through Diane Murphy of DGM Properties, Inc.
“The essence of the house is peace and beauty,” Liz added. “And that is what I will miss most.”