One of the area's most prestigious properties, the 1802 Swann-Daingerfield House in Alexandria was built as a Federal-style home by lawyer Thomas Swann.

At different points a private residence, an academy and hospital housing, the home has evolved over the decades with additions and renovations in different architectural styles.

Its current owners have worked to maintain its character during renovations.

At A Glance
Address: Swann-Daingerfield House at 712 Prince St., Alexandria
Price: $3.175 million, condo Fee: $830 per month
Size: Built in 1802 it now has 6,500-square-feet, 5-bedrooms, 5-baths
Listing Agent: Donnan C. Wintermute, associate broker, Coldwell Banker, 703-518-8300

"We wanted to preserve and respect all of the architectural features," the owner said. "We kept all the moldings, the beautiful door frames, the wooden flooring. We wanted to make it a little less formal and more comfortable for our family."

The 6,500-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bathroom home on Prince Street is on the market for $3.175 million. Sold in the 1830s to shipping magnate Henry Daingerfield, it is one of the most unique houses in Old Town, said listing agent Donnan C. Wintermute of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

"It's got classic elegance, but at the same time it's warm and inviting," she said. "They don't come any prettier than this."

The home's beauty begins at the front porch with ornate double entrance doors. Inside are 12-foot ceilings. To one side is the formal living room, 40 feet long with elaborate moldings and original pine floors.

"It's a grand entertainment space, but we also hang out there a lot," the owner said. "It's comfortable, it's sunny. We tend to go there and have afternoon tea. It's nice and refreshing."

The opposite side of the foyer has the family room, large dining room, and modern kitchen made for entertaining with dual stoves, dishwashers and garbage disposals, along with a butler's pantry and breakfast room for less formal dining.

Three bedrooms and full bathrooms occupy the second level. The master suite has one of the house's five fireplaces and a large master bath. The living space includes a third floor with two bedrooms and a nook perfect for an office.

At one time the home extended even farther back from the street. In the first half of the 20th century it housed St. Mary's Academy, then it was Alexandria Hospital's nursing residence until a 1978 restoration created a private residence with condos attached.

The unfinished basement has an additional 3,000 square feet of space, including a wine cellar. Out back is a small patio and dedicated parking.

The home is located seven blocks from the water, about 10 blocks from Metro's Blue Line station and just one from bustling King Street.

"It's surprisingly quiet, but we're literally within a five-minute walk of 20 great restaurants," the owner said.

"We end up never using our cars, which is sort of liberating in an urban environment."