May 17, 2012 Charles Goodman

Goodman’s 1944 Sevareid House – $1.75 Million

Sevareid House

I’m excited to finally have an opportunity to write about one of Charles Goodman’s earliest and most recognized customs home, the Sevareid House located here in Alexandria on more than 1.5 acres. The house, designed for legendary CBS newsman Eric Sevareid and his wife and twin sons, was just listed for $1.75 million. The house was included in the 1965 edition of A Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C., which was edited by Hugh Newell Jacobsen. (Check out this Jacobsen house on the market for a cool $9 million). The Sevareid House also is mentioned in the book The American House Today by Katherine Morrow Ford and Thomas  H. Creigton. The book, which the images are taken from, was published in the early 1950s. (View images of the house today.)

Here’s how Ford and Creighton describe the design:

“One of the principal problems in planning for a family with small children is that children grow up and family needs change. In this house which is owned by the Eric Sevareids the arrangement of the childrens’ bedrooms and playroom spaces is particularly flexible. The Sevareids have twin boys; when they were very young they shared as a nursery the bedroom to the left of the “play court” indicated on the plan; now they use the larger bedroom to the right of this play space; ultimately the original nursery and the play court will be used as two bedrooms, which can be separated for privacy or thrown together.

Sevareid House Plan
“The house is built into a hillside, facing south, and … space below the living room has been used for a large additional playroom with a sunny terrace in front of it. Almost all of the other living quarters are on the main floor. The adults have a quiet group of rooms to themselves a bedroom … a study where Mr. Sevareid works on his broadcasts, and a well-planned dressing space. The living room, with expansive windows opening to the view and the sun, merges directly into the dining area, which in turn is adjacent to an extended deck which has a screened portion for outdoor dining, as the pictures below indicate. In construction the house is a wood frame above the brick walls of the lower floor, covered on the outside with redwood siding and on the interior with ‘drywall’ finish plywood (and in some places redwood and cypress) which can be maintained easily an important factor with small children using the house as small children will.”

One interesting design feature I notice from the pictures is the large-scale skylights in the kitchen and several other rooms.

The house is being sold by the family of Robert Syme Jr., a local obstetrician, who passed away in 2009.