It's been a little while since our last Open Housing post, but that doesn't mean we haven't been out there surveying the field and checking out the local inventory of homes on the market. Oh no-sir-ree, we have been busy, just haven't seen anything worth writing about of late, well, until this weekend that is.
There's a little section of King Street (the main street in Old Town) that begins to climb a hill just after you leave the friendly confines of Old Town and head into the picturesque Rosemont neighborhood just to the west. Though the houses along King Street sit on this busier thoroughfare, a handful have the distinct advantage of being built on a hillside with a fairly significant grade behind them. Looking north from these few homes you have beautiful panoramic views of the DC skyline and the surrounding areas. It's truly one of the few "million dollar" views of the area. This past weekend, one of these homes was held open and we had to go check it out.
We've driven past this home countless times, and though it's large white neighbor home is hulking and impressive, this "smaller" brick home has always been quite appealing and lovely. The approach from the street gives you a great glimpse of the home and its relatively modest but very well maintained front yard.
This five bedroom, four bath home is spread across four levels of living, including a partially finished basement and completely finished attic/third floor space. It was built in 1925 and has had a few small additions over the years, but the floor plan is still very much in its original form. The home actually reminds me of a miniature version of the house from Home Alone.
Entering the front door of the more than 3,000 square feet of living space, you walk directly into the home's entry foyer with its beautiful staircase.
As soon as you walk in, you can tell that this home retains the majority of its period charm and character. It's a little different than we're used to since we look primarily at homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the touches of the 1920s are quite evident. The floors are beautiful narrow oak and the windows and molding are all original. To the right is a large formal living room with one of the home's fireplaces.
It looks like this was once two rooms and has since had its partition wall removed (evident by the beam mid-room). This room actually has an interior porch to the rear with great views of the Washington, DC.
...and a really nice sitting porch to the right out of the doors near the fireplace.
To the left is the home's entry way and on the opposite side of the house from this porch is the home's spacious formal dining room.
Just beyond the dining room and to the rear of the home is an informal dining area...
...and a small kitchen area.
Though the kitchen is small and tucked away, the key element of the kitchen is its view through the large bank of windows from the sink. You can actually see the Capitol Dome while doing your evening dishes. We were there during the day, but I have to believe it's a pretty spectacular view at night when the city is illuminated.
This area is an odd area that's wrapped around a small back staircase offshoot that joins with the main stair and is tucked among several small rooms. If this were our home, I'd be looking at our options to open this whole area up and make it a larger kitchen/living area, placing the dining room on the opposite side of the home near the living room.
One thing I loved about the home's staircase was its beautiful wainscoting. We're rather partial to it after installing wainscoting in our home, so I always like to see it elsewhere.
Upstairs the center of the home is taken up by the large staircase which has a great window that looks out over the stunning view of DC. From this staircase you can access this floor's three bedrooms and one full bath.
The master bedroom on this floor is quaint and has some great views from the rear windows (notice a trend?), but there's one really cool feature that I absolutely love in this room.
Do you see the closet door near the back of the room? Inside that closet this is what you find.
Yes, an old school intercom, still wired up and possibly functional. Just beside this is a bank of switches with very old switch plates.
They're labeled for the people's rooms in the house, "Girls," "TJ," etc. I can only assume these were the owner's children at the time and the parents wanted to be able to control "lights out." I think the little things in the house, like these details, are what really bring out the home's charm over new construction.
The home's third floor offers two additional bedrooms that are very nicely sized.
They both have small dormer windows, again with great views, and share a bathroom. You can find other great details in these rooms, like another intercom box...
...but the most striking item from this floor are obviously the panoramic views, even from such small dormer windows.
One thing about this house is the tremendous amount of storage throughout. In additional to closets and cubbies, there's a partially finished basement with storage beyond it. The basement is actually a walkout (due to the grade the house was built on) and houses an incredibly cool wood bar. When you walk down, you feel like you've been transported to a lodge. I can't help but romanticize prohibition era gatherings behind the glow of Washington DC just six miles away out the back door.
Two other very interesting features in the basement are a small storage cellar area perfect for wine (ahem, prohibition era)...
...and this little gas two burner stove, still connected to the gas line. Would you trust using it? Seems interesting. Probably good there's a fire extinguisher nearby...just in case.
They even tucked away another bathroom in the basement. If you're a Beatles fan, you'll love it.
You know me, I'm a total sucker for old and rustic period charm in anything.
As much time as I've spent talking about the house and the view, you might think the backyard is lacking, but it's actually one of the home's true highlights.
The yard has several tiers to it to accommodate the rather steep hill the house is on. There are a set of cement stairs with pipe railings leading down the rather steep change in elevation.
In addition to the tiers of yard, there are also a few levels of deck off of the house, each with a great view.
At the very bottom and back of the yard there's even a nicely sized koi pond.
Wendy looks at that and sees space for a narrow lap pool.
I'd also be leaving out a significant detail if I didn't mention this home's detached two car garage complete with potting shed overlooking the backyard as well as a pig weather vane. Pretty awesome as far as garages go if you ask me.
All in all, this home is pretty spectacular, but the home's view is what it truly unique. The price tag is by no means low, but the house, with all of its character and charm, is not something you see very often.
Now for our game...
Would You Trade?
Alex: Maybe?!?!...This is a really hard one for me. This house isn't in my ideal age range (too new), but it has some amazing and intact character elements. It's not in Old Town, but it has a great proximity to the metro and is still accessible to Old Town. It sits on a very busy portion of King Street that gets extremely crowded during rush hour, but it's got a stunning view. It isn't in dire need of major changes, but there are projects on every floor and around every corner. I don't know why, but I'm horribly conflicted about this "Would You Trade?" When we were walking through the house, I thought "yes." But now that I'm thinking back on it, I'm saying "No." I'm totally waffling here. Why am I so conflicted?
Wendy: Well...I have to say I'm with Alex on this one. Completely torn! The home has amazing curb appeal, spectacular views, fantastic outdoor landscaping and entertaining potential, and sits squarely in my favorite age range. But the fact that it's on a heavily trafficked street, isn't a stone's throw to restaurants and shops that way our home is, and is in need of some serious bathroom and kitchen updates makes me feel indecisive.
What do you think? Should we "trade" our home for this one? Would you trade your home? We're dying to get your two cents.
If you'd like to see additional details, they are available on the home's official listing page.
Interested in reading about other interesting homes for sale? Want to offer your take on "would you trade"? Check out the Open Housing section of Old Town Home.
Photo Credits: McEnearney Associates Inc., Realtors and listing agent, Carol Cleary, where MRIS is noted in watermark.