Remember when penthouses were squalid structures? Of course, you don’t. It was more than 100 years ago that rooftop lean-tos and sheds were built to house servants atop New York City’s tall buildings. Since then, the allure of living in sky-high residences has soared, along with prices and prestige reserved for the very few.
One such example is a two-story penthouse currently for sale in one of Maryland’s wealthiest cities. Unit 20B at 5610 Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase spans the 20th and 21st floors of Somerset House, a tony high-rise lifestyle complex in metro Washington, D.C.
Sweeping views from two outdoor terraces (one on each level) extend to Virginia as well as the National Shrine and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
The $10.5 million price tag makes it one of the most expensive properties currently for sale in the area, according to a recent story in the Washington Business Journal. Listing agent Zelda Heller says the price should come as no surprise for the “caliber, size and quality” of the 9,129-square-foot condo. “What’s unusual is that this has come on the market,” Heller says.
The residence has four bedrooms and nine bathrooms (six full bathrooms). Furnishings and bespoke finishes, such as a stained glass skylight, wood-paneled library and niches decorated with hand-painted murals, suggest a European-style decor. An 18-foot wall of windows reveals the scene-stealing views.
The primary bedroom suite comes with a sitting room with an electric fireplace, two dressing rooms, two bathrooms (one with a soak tub and shower and another with a step-in shower) and a steam/sauna room. It’s on the same level as the main living spaces, chef’s kitchen and banquet-sized dining room.
The upper level has two bedrooms plus a separate suite with its own entrance, which could be ideal for an in-home office or live-in aide. Who might be prospective buyers? Possibly someone with a family, big or small. “With two people, you can live comfortably and not voluminously,” Heller says. “If it’s a larger family, it has four bedrooms. It’s so flexible.”
The penthouse checks all the boxes for exclusive living, such as a large living space in a gated complex with resort-style amenities.
Somerset House was built in 1999 and has more than 400 units in three high-rise buildings. Amenities include a concierge, indoor heated pool and spa, fitness center, tennis courts, doorman and valet parking. It’s close to Washington, D.C., about 4 miles from Georgetown, 6 miles from the White House and the Smithsonian museums, and 1 mile from the Metro Purple Line in Bethesda, Maryland.