This beautiful 1914 Wardman is in Sixteenth Street Heights, which is definitely my personal favorite neighborhood in the city if you discount walkability (it’s sort of far from the rest of town). My married friends actually begged me to not write this open house up, because they’re trying to buy in the neighborhood and they don’t want even more competition. Hmm, should’ve thought about that before canceling my wedding speech at the last minute, after finding out that the opening line was “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your beers.” Everyone come and bid on this house!
Right off the bat, you see this fine house is set nice and high above street level, so even if the worst-case global warming scenario comes to pass because my parents both insist on driving their own four-door sedans, and the ocean levels rise three feet, you’ll still be dry. (My parents don’t even make a token effort at questioning global warming, they’re just like, “we’ll be dead by the time it gets really bad, what do we care?”) Like the other houses on the block, this house is fronted by a wide porch, perfect for sitting out on a warm summer night and thinking about that morning eight years ago when you tripped on the escalator during your morning commute, and all those strangers laughed at you.
Inside, the living room is open and bright and impossibly large; the houses in 16th Street Heights are significantly larger than their easterly and southerly counterparts. Going back to a Shaw rowhouse after touring this one was like from the first class cabin to sitting on a crate of chickens in economy class. The house was recently renovated, so there’s exposed brick, an open-ish staircase, tons of windows, recessed lighting, and rich brown hardwood floors. Further back is the dining room, and then the truly exceptional kitchen. The aesthetic here combines sleek white minimalism with semi-kitschy wood paneling to create a kind of “robot wearing bell bottoms” effect. And I mean that in the best possible way; this is one of the five best kitchens I’ve seen in my years of open housing. The stainless steel appliances are fully integrated and built-in, too, so if you were planning on quietly backing a truck up to the back door in the middle of the night and making off with them, you’ll have to find another kitchen to strip. (Email me and I’ll give you my ex’s address.)
Upstairs, the master bedroom has many quirky architectural features, such as the lighting arch (loved it) and the mirror built into the wall above the bed. I watched at least five people walk into the master bedroom at the open house, look around the room, stare at the mirror for a few seconds while thinking why it could be there, and then get red-faced and walk quickly out into the hall. But as wonderful as the master bedroom is, the master bath is really the crown jewel here. It features a walk-in shower; I can’t decide if this is the bleeding edge of luxury or like a high-school locker room. And in the walk-in shower, there are four total showerheads split into two side-by-side shower stations, each with a rainfall head far above, and a removable showerhead. Now I’m not one of those guys who gets uncomfortable with intimacy, but side-by-side showering might be going too far. Like most people, when I was young I thought showering with my significant other was going to be like something straight out of a late-night Cinemax movie, but then once I did it, I realized it basically combined the “personal space” violation of a Tokyo commute with the mortifying impersonality of that moment when your doctor is like, “well, get undressed and let’s take a look at this mysterious rash.” Maybe that’s just me though. If you love watching your significant other pumice-stone flakes of dead skin off their feet in real time, this is the bathroom for you.
On the lower level, the basement is fully finished, though not in the style of a quasi-legal rental – more in the style of a man cave or media room. Better have all your ducks in a row before you buy this house, because if you get laid off or something, you won’t be able to pay your mortgage payments by renting your damp, gas-leaky basement to some gullible intern. It’s homeownership without training wheels. Behind the house is an expansive deck, and a very interesting yard consisting of concrete tiles set in a grid, with grass growing up between them. It’s very aesthetically pleasing, but it’s sort of like the landscape architect was like, “hmm, I need to come up with something that’s totally impractical, but will also make the person who has to mow the lawn want to hunt me down and savagely beat me with a footlong Subway meatball sub.”
4416 16th Street NW
4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths