Sometimes I get confused about what approach I should be using when I pick open houses to write about. Should I employ the “literary” approach, ie finding redemption in banality? (“Vinyl floors are surprisingly not-horrible to look at, and wipe clean so easily!”) Or the over-the-top “luxury porn” approach? (“The cabinetry alone cost more than both your college degrees put together.”) To tell the truth, most of the time my choice is dictated by how hungover I am; the upscale places are more likely to at least have free boxed wine. And it doesn’t get more upscale than a penthouse! (A friend had brought tequila back from Mexico the night before.)
This place was impressive, even by penthouse standards, which is like being the smartest person at Harvard. You walk right in via a private elevator, which is a pretty good opening impression; I would’ve been won over even if it led to a literal broom closet. A huge open loft, the space is dominated by a huge steel staircase leading to the loft level, and twenty foot high floor-to-ceiling bay windows. This majestic bay window is definitely the crown jewel of the house; if I lived here I would just cram all my stuff into this six-by-twelve space like it was a Japanese micro-unit and spend every minute hanging out there. There’s also a ventless gas fireplace (which sounds like something specifically designed to suffocate you, but which I assure is not) and a “burnt umber and bronze” color scheme that vaguely calls to mind a BBC prestige show about Elizabethan royalty or something. There are beautiful bamboo floors throughout, which are the environmentally responsible alternative to hardwood, and could also serve as emergency panda food, which isn’t something you can’t say about a lot of construction materials. Nestled under the loft overhang is the very fine kitchen, which features black granite counters and very impressive flat panel maple cabinetry, a panel of which I absolutely would’ve tried to unscrew and steal if I’d brought my Swiss Army knife with me. There’s also a beautiful custom tile backsplash that basically just sits there and dares you to even think about splashing something on it. I would be so intimidated that I’d do all my cooking on a hot plate in the
Upstairs are the bright, spacious bedrooms, with exposed ductwork and awesome birch veneer doors. Each bath has Travertine floors, which made me break out my Italian “Mario Brothers” accent, which quickly resulted in my girlfriend publicly disassociating herself from me. (“I don’t know that guy, I’m not with him, but please stop giving him free boxed wine.”) It’s also right on the border of Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, which happen to be my pick for two best neighborhoods in DC; Columbia Heights has corny corporate bar/restaurants for when your parents visit, and Mount Pleasant has dive bars and local joints for when you’re trying to convince a first date that you’re cool.
3039 16th Street NW PH1
2 Bedrooms, 2 Baths