The Chevy Chase house was built for George Gilpin Perkins, who was a circuit court judge in Kentucky before spending five years practicing law in New York City. Perkins retired to the estate he called Greenacre, where he wrote a memoir titled “A Kentucky Judge.”
Perkins, a member of Chevy Chase Club, was an avid golfer. He established the Perkins Plate, an award for senior golfers at the club. It is no longer contested.
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
Rudolph M. Kauffmann bought the house in 1923. Kauffmann was the grandson of Samuel Hay Kauffmann, the first president of the Evening Star newspaper, and son of Rudolph Kauffmann, its managing editor. Rudolph M. Kauffmann was a vice president and an editor at the newspaper. He also was a trustee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, a director of Children’s Hospital and a member of Chevy Chase Club.
Kauffmann’s maternal grandfather was a native of Scotland and taught him to play the bagpipes.
“He was known throughout Chevy Chase Village for going out on Sunday mornings with his bagpipes and playing his bagpipes in the yard,” said Alec Smith, the fifth and current owner of the house. “It would echo across the village. I’m not sure that would be all that well received, but nobody told me it was not enjoyed.”
During the Kauffmanns’ ownership, the gardens were featured twice on the Chevy Chase Garden Club tour.
Real estate investor Robert Waggaman bought the house in 1958. Waggaman, also a member of Chevy Chase Club, lived in the house with his wife and five children.
Lawyer Robert E. Freer Jr. bought the house in 1983, the year it was featured as the National Symphony Orchestra Decorators’ Show House. Freer, who founded the Free Enterprise Foundation, was a member of Chevy Chase Club.
When Smith and his family went to look at the house in 2001, the real estate agent didn’t think it was the house for them. She was wrong.
“My wife and I walked in the front door, we stood in the front hall and we looked right into the dining room and left into the living room,” Smith said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘This is it.’ ”
The house may have captivated them on first sight, but its location was also a factor.
“I bought it because we were members of the Chevy Chase Club, right next door,” Smith said. “There’s a gate that goes onto the property.”
For someone who grew up in historical homes in Alexandria, Va., the house was the right mix of old and new.
“I have an enormous appreciation for American architecture and American furniture,” he said. “Actually, we kidded about this being a ‘new’ house.”
When the Smiths decided to expand the house in 2006, they hired architect Cliff Elmore and builder Mauck Zantzinger & Associates to add gathering spaces on the main and lower levels and renovate the kitchen and a bathroom. They expanded the kitchen by doing away with the butler’s pantry and moving the cabinetry from the pantry to the basement.
“The bones of the house are amazing,” Smith said. “One of the things you do in Alexandria is you don’t disturb the historic material. And so we worked very hard not to muck anything up.”
The house retains many of its original features, such as parquet floors with border inlays, operable glass door transoms and door hardware.
The seven-bedroom, five-bathroom, 8,860-square-foot house is listed at just under $4.8 million.