March-April 2013 | Featured Article

Extreme Homes

Biggest, oldest, most expensive, oddest, most modern and more

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Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Biggest House

7013 Natelli Woods Lane, Bethesda

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but give this Bethesda mansion its due: At 35,000 square feet, with four stories, a 700-square-foot screening room under the garage, 5,000 square feet of storage and a huge finished basement with a pool, hot tub, sauna and changing rooms, it is the largest single-family house in Montgomery County.

At the start of 2013, it was also the biggest empty house. Owner Rashid Chaudary, a Chicago cosmetics executive, had the house built in 1995 so his daughter could live at home while attending Islamic school in Northern Virginia and his son could go to George Washington University.

Within its spacious walls, he hosted presidents and prime ministers. Featured in Bethesda Magazine in 2007, the house includes a four-stop elevator, six kitchens, 12 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, 49 closets, a two-story master suite, 331 recessed lights, a grand staircase in the foyer and 51 Roman columns.

“The marble in the hall came from Europe; if there was one chip, it went back,” says Bethesda-based Long & Foster real estate agent Maxine Schwartzman, whose architect son, Los Angeles-based H. Michael Schwartzman, designed the house.

But with the kids grown and his business calling him home, Chaudary and his wife decided to downsize to a 6,000-square-foot home in Burr Ridge, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Problem is, he says, in these times, nobody wants to buy such a big house.

“Sixty percent of the people who have looked say it’s too big for them,” he says. Accordingly, the list price has plunged from $9,999,999 to $5,999,999 since the house first went on the market in 2008, and he is now willing to sell a 2-acre lot separately for $1,245,000. “If only a palace will do,” the Long & Foster real estate ad says, “this is your home.”