If it’s difficult to leave after an hourlong visit, think how hard it will be for David and Donna Norford, who are looking to downsize from their big, beautiful beachfront home on the Potomac. They’ve lived there for more than 20 years.

“It’s made for a family to live in, and its just the two of us now, except when family comes to visit. With the river right here it’s going to be tough to leave,” David Norford said. “And it’s built like a tank.”

Dubbed Riverwind by the Norfords, the house is located at 7430 Little Chatterton Lane in King George County. The Potomac River is about a mile across to Charles County, Md., and just upstream Potomac and Aquia creeks flow into the river. The geography provides sunsets over the water at certain times of the year, and on a clear day the views are outstanding.

The Norfords have listed the house with Scott Cleveland of RE/MAX Supercenter with offices in King George and Falmouth. The asking price is $1.349 million.

Completed in 1998, the house is listed with five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and 7,304 square feet of living space on two levels. It sits on about 6.7 acres and includes two subdividable 2.25-acre lots that stretch out behind the house.

The house is a highly energy-efficient design, with a pair of geothermal systems that provide economical heating and cooling. Electricity is provided by a 600-amp system that is hooked into an emergency generator to keep key household appliances and systems running during an outage. The whole-house sound system keeps the music playing inside and outside.

Everything from jet skis to large ships ply the river here, but there has never been excitement, thankfully, like there was on Aug. 8, 1873, when the excursion steamboat Wawaset caught fire and went down just 200 yards off-shore from what became the Norfords’ property. Read more about the disaster in the accompanying sidebar.

Norford said he came up with the basic design for the house himself, then sought assistance from an architect and draftsman to make it work. Visitors arrive at the back of the house with its asphalt driveway and three-car garage. A rear door opens to the home’s main level, which was designed to be self-sufficient for single-level living. Virtually every room in the house has a river view.

The terrain slopes down on either side of the house to the walk-out lower level facing the river. Two extended wings become turret-like structures that flank a large patio with swimming pool on the ground level covered by an expansive deck immediately above. A framework over the deck provides for the attachment of tarps that shade the entire area.

At the center of the home on the main level is a large and hospitable living room with expansive views over the deck to the river beyond. A focal point here is the large fireplace with a handsome surround that Norford refers to as green and black Chinese marble. Other features here include a formal dining area and a tray ceiling over the space.

In the east wing is an open area that includes a family room with fireplace and a semicircle of windows that provides panoramic river views.

Also in this wing is the spacious kitchen, which was redone in recent years and features granite-topped islands and counters, and tile flooring. There’s a center island with bar stools and a surrounding island that defines the kitchen space. There’s a farm sink, a separate prep sink and two dishwashers. Black, top-of-the line appliances offer nice contrast with the medium-finished wood cabinetry. There are two cooktops, one with a bright copper range hood and pot-filler faucet.

The laundry room and access to the garage are at this end of the house, as well.

The west wing is filled by the master suite. It has a double-door entry that Norford was able to acquire from a mid-19th century house in Richmond that was being torn down. The tall oak doors have their original opaque glass with an etched design.

A sitting room with wetbar leads to the master bedroom, and another set of wraparound windows is here, along with a tray ceiling with indirect lighting. The spacious, tile-filled master bathroom has a soaking tub, a separate walk-in shower and a skylight to add natural light.

On the lower level, the center recreation and entertainment area has a large stone fireplace and patio access. It is flanked by two bedroom wings, each with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the bathrooms is located just off the patio for pool users to shower off and change.

Grassy areas, shrubs and mature trees including a long row of crape myrtles fill the grounds surrounding the house. The property has nearly 300 feet of beach frontage on the Potomac. There is deep water not far off-shore.

Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

ramrhine@freelancestar.com

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