Better Than Costner

Realtor Whitney Wiggins Pannell called to tell me she had a great new listing and that the owner, a dressage rider "rode in the Olympics or something." Off and running, grateful to finally

have a global theme with which to work, I rushed over to Cochran Road.

It turns out the owner, Shawna Harding, was actually a groom for an Olympic rider from Ireland. And I got that information from her aunt, Pat Doennig, who is staying at the house, because Shawna wasn't even there. She is out of town.

Talk about your not-even-close brushes with fame.

It's the story of my life really. I fell as madly in love with a movie star as one possibly can with Kevin Costner after I saw him in Fandango. Still carrying the torch, I came upon him leaning against a Mach something on the studio lot where I was working. I had to walk right past him to get into my office. He stopped me, asked me how I was, as though he knew me. (No, I wasn't imagining it because when I got inside, where everyone was laughing hysterically at how quickly I was walking and how red my face was, they asked me if I knew him.) To the man of my dreams, literally, I responded, possibly inaudibly, "fine." And booked as fast as I could. I definitely did not connect with fame that time.

It's just as well really. My love faded, a lot, after the whole Waterworld thing. Then he divorced his wife, which, I guess could have been a good thing for me but made me realize that he is probably a weenie.

At this point I would be more inclined to want to meet Shawna Harding than Kevin Costner. His best work is behind him and she seems to be just coming into her game. She trained in Germany for seven years and at 30, she recently won the Regional Championship in dressage. (As an aside - What has happened in our society that tells us the best known among us, inevitably an actor or musician, holds the most value as a person? We were taught to be the best at whatever we do. Be that acting, riding, waitressing, mothering, doctoring, teaching, or kayaking)

Furthermore, and always likely to draw kudos from this quarter, Shawna painstakingly renovated and added to her one-and-a-half story brick house. The biggest changes she made to the one-owner 63-year-old house include the kitchen, now a gleaming, airy white galley with new appliances and white cabinetry and countertops, and to the upstairs which she converted from a walk-up attic to a spacious master bedroom suite with a full bath carved from space under the eaves.

Since Shawna was unavailable, Whitney pointed out some of the unique features of the house. For instance, it has a shady front porch running across three-quarters of the front of the facade, while many of the houses in Chevy Chase have a small stoop or no porch at all. A large family room addition added sometime in the 50s, looks out over a neatly maintained backyard and a most charming little one-car garage. Shawna has planted yellow mums in Chippendale planter boxes painted black to match the garage, which gives a quaint cottage look to what is really just a plain garage.

Shawna only considered moving because she has been offered a post (including housing) with a trainer who bought a farm in Versailles. In her aunt's words, Shawna doesn't want to leave the Cochran house because she has "poured her blood and sweat into it for two years." That sounds like a woman who does her best to me.


1502 Cochran Road


2020 square feet

3 bedrooms; 2 baths

Contact: Whitney Wiggins Pannell 806-4131

If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at lsims@aceweekly.com.