Sundays With Strangers


Most houses, you can sort of ease into them;  at the very least there’s usually an entryway so you can knock the snow off your shoes and catch your breath.  But this house grabs you by the back of your neck the second you walk in, and brutally rubs your face in its niceness with all the subtlety of my ex leaving ring catalogs around the house.  I mean, this is the nicest foyer I’ve ever seen.  You could rent this foyer out for wedding receptions.  It’s like one of those apartments in Manhattan where the building’s elevator opens directly onto the living room.  You feel like they must have left something out, but then you realize no, you’ve just lived in crappy buildings your whole life.

You go up the stairs into the super-bright living room;  this house has a ton of south-facing windows, so the place is always going to look warm and inviting but, you know, don’t forget to wear sunscreen.  Through a set of french doors is the formal dining room, which features an antique fireplace that I will absolutely shove you into if you tell me “the chicken’s a little dry” one more time.  Next is the eat-in kitchen, which sports three rectangular skylights above the dining area;  they look awesome, but if I lived here I suspect that whenever I sat underneath them, I would just be waiting for something to fall out of the sky, crash through the glass, and crush me like a grape.  I’d probably just end up sitting on a chair in the corner while my girlfriend was like, “stop it, you’re being paranoid.”  (Oh really?!!)

Next up is the oversized sunroom;  if you took a nap in here dressed in a couple black trashbags, you could easily sweat off ten pounds in an afternoon.  Upstairs is another huge skylight, this one over the stairwell;  this house seriously has the most windows/natural light of any house I’ve ever seen.  (I was about to make a “those who live in glass houses” joke, but then I realized that’s something a corny uncle would say, so I stopped myself.)  There are two master bedroom suites up here, which I can’t help but suspect is a subtle commentary on the impossibility of cohabiting.  Or maybe I’m projecting.  (But you have to admit, having separate bathrooms makes any relationship 90% more viable.)   One of them has a sublime screened-in porch;  if you don’t sleep out there every night of the spring, summer and fall, I honestly don’t have a single thing to say to you.  I’m just slowly shaking my head in disgusted disappointment.

The finished lower level features a wet bar, so it’d be perfect for a “man cave,” or an in-law suite, if your in-laws are both hopeless alcoholics.  The outdoor terrace, though, is probably the crown jewel of the place.  There are terracotta tiles, stone benches, rustic trees, and climbing ivy on every wall that was so flawlessly picturesque that I became convinced that it was fake ivy glued in place.  (It was real.)  It’s accessible, via french doors, from most of the rooms on the main level, so this really is the ultimate cocktail party setup.  (It was designed by architect Clarke Waggaman, who also designed a lot of the ambassadorial residences around town.  Finally, the listing goes out of the way to state that the owner of this house “reserves the right to accept or reject any offer,” which makes me think that most owners don’t have that right?  Could that be possible?  Could I have been forcing sellers all this time to accept crappy below-market offers on their homes?  This totally explains how all my friends already own houses.  All this time I just assumed their parents gave them the money.

1913 23rd Street NW
6 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths

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