House adjacent to Congressional Country Club offered at $4.8M

House adjacent to Congressional Country Club offered at $4.8M
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Karen and Steven Fickes found the home of their family’s dreams. The only problem was it was in the wrong place, which is why they built this house in Bethesda, Md.

The Fickes had seen almost this exact house in another location, but it was bigger and on a one-acre lot. It also was on a busy street.

“That was the dealbreaker for us,” Karen said. “We loved the house. But at the time, especially with the kids being the ages they were, we just felt like the kids can’t ride their bikes on the street.”

Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region

Bethesda, Md., house | The house was built in 1995 by Griff Gosnell adjacent to Congressional Country Club. It is on the market for just under $4.8 million. (Constance Gauthier)

So they decided to build a smaller version of the house on a two-acre lot that abutted Congressional Country Club. They were attracted to that location because of its proximity and seclusion.

“We’re 11 miles from the White House,” she said. “We can walk to the canal. … It was very close to the schools that our kids were going to at the time. You can be in Tysons in 10 minutes; you can be at Montgomery Mall in seven minutes. … The fact that you’re as close to all of these places, but you have two acres that back up to Congressional [Country Club], and the entire neighborhood is one street, just one street, which ends in a cul-de-sac. It’s incredibly quiet.”

Being next to the 14th tee on Congressional’s Gold Course wasn’t a factor in their decision, other than that it provided lush green space behind their home.

“At the time that we built it, my husband was a golfer, although we weren’t members at Congressional,” Karen said. “I think that it was mostly just the fact that it’s a beautiful view and you don’t have to worry about something being built behind you that’s going to spoil your peaceful existence.”

The house was built to their specifications by Griff Gosnell in 1995.

“We made very few changes” to the design of the original house they saw, Karen said. That house “was actually bigger than this. We felt like what we have is large enough.”

The floor plan on the main level suited their needs. Karen particularly liked how guests could move easily throughout the house.

“I thought the layout was perfect for entertaining,” she said. “I had 16 people for Christmas dinner, and I can seat that in my dining room. I have had up to 80 people in the house for a party.”

Karen says she probably wouldn’t have wanted the two-story library had it not been in the original house.

“That’s something that I would have never incorporated if I hadn’t seen it, but we use that space all the time,” she said. “Both my husband and I are avid readers. I have used that space as my office. Actually, one of us has always worked out of that library, even though it looks like it was built as a showpiece. It’s been functional.”

Karen says she likes to browse the bookshelves and find books to read that she hasn’t read in years. Last year, when her son returned home for a working vacation, he worked in the library. Because the room has pocket doors, it could be closed off from the rest of the house, giving him the privacy he needed. The backdrop also provided an impressive setting for his video conference calls.

“He said that when he was on Zoom calls, people would ask, ‘Where are you?’ ” she said. “‘You’ve got mahogany wood all around you.’”

The basketball/squash court was an addition to the plans.

“When we did get to [planning] the basement, that’s when we put in the [multisport] court,” Karen said. “We knew that going in because that had to be dug. It was later when we did the basement that we came up with the idea of doing the walls in old brick. … That’s what my husband wanted. He wanted old brick walls and then he wanted that wood-slat ceiling.”

The six-bedroom, nine-bathroom, 15,700-square-foot house is listed at just under $4.8 million.

8600 Country Club Dr., Bethesda, Md.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 6/9
  • Approximate square-footage: 15,700
  • Lot size: 2 acres
  • Features: The house was built in 1995 by Griff Gosnell. It has a two-story foyer and a two-story mahogany paneled library. There are six fireplaces. A multisport court is on the lower level. The three-car garage is attached.
  • Listing agent: Robert Hryniewicki, Adam Rackliffe and Christopher Leary of HRL Partners at Washington Fine Properties