In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a large bird that rises from the ashes of its predecessor. The large, impressive home located at 9 Winning Colors Road in Stafford County’s Seven Lakes subdivision shares a similar story.
Owners Bill and Alex McGovern tell the story matter-of-factly now, far removed from the harrowing experience they and their young children endured on the evening of Oct. 21, 2006. What started as popping noises and the smell of smoke ended with the total loss of the home they’d lived in since 1997. The cause was never determined.
“We call it the bonfire,” Bill McGovern said during a tour of the home that replaced the one that was lost. “We made an immediate commitment to rebuild.”
The kids are all off on their own now, but on a recent visit back home he asked them what their perspective is today, almost 13 years after the fire. “That you can overcome anything,” was their response, he said: As long as the family was safe, things could be replaced.
The family not only overcame the loss of the previous house, they built a remarkable new one that more than doubled the square footage of the old. McGovern said the house is completely new from the regraded ground up.
Now, 11 years after moving into the new home, it’s time for the McGoverns to begin a new chapter in a new place. They’ve listed 9 Winning Colors Road with Janny Sims and Kim Pereira of Long & Foster Real Estate in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $1.395 million.
“We hope that the next family is as happy here as we have been,” Alex McGovern said, adding that it’s been great having a home that’s the hub of activity. “We have loved it here.”
And why not? The house is listed with six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-baths. It has more than 13,000 square feet of living space on three levels and sits on a 3-acre lot that includes a large in-ground swimming pool.
The home is strong on curb appeal. Starting with a design inspired by the architecture of Sardinia, an island west of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, Bill McGovern said the plans were then customized to fulfill the family’s wishes. McGovern said his career in construction made him comfortable with serving as the general contractor for the project.
The exterior façade is covered in precast stone and uses stucco exterior window frames with pediment-topped arches across the main level. The front of the house is defined by a pair of turret-like structures. Visitors are greeted by a front-yard fountain, and then a four-column, two-level porch that protects the main entry. The front door has sidelights and an arched transom.
Upon entering the foyer, the high level of trim and features is evident. Above the foyer is a bridge flanked with balconies that connects the upper level wings. The basic ceiling height is 10 feet, but varies with up to two-story ceilings in some areas.
Brazilian cherry hardwood floors cover most of the main level and Corinthian columns define various rooms and spaces. Virtually all rooms have chair rail, many with distinctive wainscoting beneath. Lighted niches here and there are perfect for showcasing art and other items brought home from family travels.
The foyer and rooms across the front of the main level are separated from those across the back by a lateral hallway that provides a long and dramatic sight line.
Straight back from the foyer is the formal living room with a soaring, two-story coffered ceiling. The living room shares a two-sided fireplace with the library next door.
At the far end of this wing is the main-level master suite. This inviting sanctuary includes a large sleeping area that, like other rooms across the back of the house, provides direct patio and backyard access. His and hers walk-in closets flank a short hallway toward the master bath.
The master bathroom offers a setting fit for royalty with marble tile throughout. There’s a steam shower, separate vanities and jetted pedestal tub. The tub is surrounded by a semi-circular wall of windows that provide soothing panoramic views of the surrounding property.
Toward the other end of the main level is the beautifully furnished dining room which benefits from the other semicircular window wall. Corinthian columns define the space, and dropping from the tray ceiling is a Waterford crystal chandelier that the McGoverns spotted in Ireland. It will not convey.
A lot of family activity takes place at this end of the house. The large island kitchen with granite counters is here, handsomely appointed in neutral but contrasting colors. Cabinetry covers the Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf range and Bosch dishwashers, though the dual wall oven is stainless steel. At one end of the kitchen is a wet bar, and adjacent to that is a built-in Miele coffeemaker. Just across the hall is the walk-in pantry.
The kitchen spills into a breakfast area and then into the large family room. Glass doors open to the patio and pool in the backyard.
Also at this end of the house is access to the three-car garage and the laundry room. In addition to front-loading machines, the laundry room has granite counters, a work sink, maple cabinetry and a drop-down ironing board.
The staircase is special in itself, with curved, cherry finished banisters and wrought-iron balusters with brass accents.
The upper level is laid out in two wings with the connecting bridge. Perfectly configured for the McGoverns’ son and two daughters, there is one bedroom at one end, and two at the other, each of the three with its own bathroom.
The lower level, at about 6,000 square feet, accounts for nearly half of the home’s living space and has a radiant, in-floor heating system. Aside from the bedroom, full bathroom, theater, wine cellar, exercise room and unfinished storage and utility space, the main recreation area is wide open.
There’s a well-equipped bar and kitchenette, and a seating area around a large-screen TV. Game tables share space with a dance floor complete with a disco ball.
Nearby is the home’s technological brain, a wall of black boxes that operate the 14-camera exterior security system, home theater and whole-house sound system, among other things. The systems can also be controlled by phone.
The home theater could double as a safe room, as it is encased in sound-proof concrete. It has a projection system, huge screen and seats 13 in rows of terraced seating.
No wonder the home was the place to be for assorted family gatherings and fun times for the kids and their friends.
The lower level also offers outdoor access to the feature-filled backyard. In addition to the pool and nearby pool house, there’s a hot tub, fire pit and covered spots for eating or relaxing out of the sun. A full bathroom is accessible directly from the patio.
The house is surrounded with professional landscaping. There are wooded as well as cleared grassy areas.
The heat pumps for the multi-zoned heating and cooling system were mounted in an enclosure on the roof to keep them out of sight. There is an emergency generator to keep the HVAC and the entire main level running in the event of a power outage.