Sundays With Strangers

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When I look for open houses to visit, I generally look at the most and least expensive properties first.  Usually one of them is interesting, but once in a while, both are interesting.  I almost wrote about the cheapest place showing – a gorgeous studio in Southwest that’s right out of a time capsule (check out that push-button stove console!) and, with the Wharf megadevelopment on the horizon, is a safer bet than a Taco Bell delivery service in states with legalized weed – but then I saw this place.  It’s like an English manor house right out of a costume drama.  I’ve never seen a house that’s this dignified.   There’s, like, a whole long list of things that I just couldn’t do anymore if I lived here; they would just be too undignified.  Cursing at 12 year olds while playing Xbox online, drinking beers while showering, sleeping in novelty Pokemon boxers.  Actually, even if some random billionaire gifted me this house, I probably wouldn’t move in, just because I like living without any dignity whatsoever.  Don’t be like me, though.

This Spring Valley mansion sits up on a hilly, 1.66 acre lot;  on one hand, when civilization collapses and everyone’s roving around in lootin’ mobs, this fortress-like house, on elevated ground, will be easy to defend.  On the other hand,  this is exactly the kind of house lootin’ mobs look for.  So there’s an upside and a downside.  You enter into a foyer that’s legitimately larger than many studio apartments; from there you proceed into a wide, bright living room which features massive double-wide windows.  If these windows were a guy at the bar, they’d be that one guy who’s always like, “Go big or go home, bro!”  A door leads out onto the stone patio, which overlooks the terrace, which is legitimately nicer than most federal parks.  Most really nice gardens and terraces are still pretty artificial, with little gravel paths and transplanted decorative shrubs, but this terrace – and the rest of the grounds – is like a legitimate forest that you happen to own.  I would be scared to go out there at night for fear of being eaten by a bear, which is pretty much the highest compliment you can give a property.  Next to the living room is the formal dining room, which could seat approximately 1500 people.  There’s also an elegant, wood-paneled library with many built-ins, and a fireplace for when you finish “Gone Girl” and want to immediately incinerate any evidence that you ever read it.

Upstairs there are seven bedrooms;  in most houses, bedrooms are pretty indifferently designed, just big boxes for you and your stuff.  But in this house, each bedroom had its own personality, which is probably more than I can say for the members of most families.  This one has a wall of built-ins, that one has a sloping ceiling, another has a balcony.  The nicest, of course, is the master bedroom;  there’s yet another fireplace, and a huge balcony that overlooks the estate’s grounds.  It’s the perfect place to sit and ponder nature’s majesty, or to slingshot water balloons onto your neighbor’s wedding reception.  (What’s the point of being wealthy if you can’t antagonize your neighbors and then just hire a lawyer?)  There’s also a two car garage, and the listing adds that you can also purchase another .22 acre lot along with the existing property, if you want to expand.  I should reiterate, though, that however nice the house is, the grounds are the real star;  if you love to live surrounded by nature or, alternately, are looking for a place where you can slowly become an isolated eccentric hermit who the townspeople will eventually turn on after a series of mysterious crimes (what, it happened in like every book I read in junior high!), then this is the place for you.

4800 Woodway Lane NW
8 Bedrooms, 7 Baths
$5,490,000

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