Sundays With Strangers

Has money and a booming market made DC houses boring?  I mean … yeah, sort of.  When most houses close above ask after less than a week, what’s the point of doing any more than the minimum?  The guy who redid several houses on my block in Shaw a few years back was renovating at least half a dozen places simultaneously and pretty much knew he was going to double his money (which he was going to then plow into more houses).  All his houses looked the same.  I’m sure he was on a first name basis with the people who worked at the marble countertop/recessed light fixture discount warehouse.  And yet, I’m sure they all sold in days, if not hours.  It’s like, if you don’t have to try, why would you?  It’s just human nature.  If I was super handsome, I would wear drawstring pants all the time and brush my teeth every three days.  And that’s what a lot of DC houses are like: a guy with terrible breath, wearing flip-flops and socks, but who you find irresistible nonetheless.

There are exceptions though!  This Mount Pleasant Victorian townhouse being a conspicuous one.  I’ve never seen a house quite like this in DC.  You enter into a large foyer-slash-entryway, the kind where you apologetically ask your guests to take off and leave their shoes because you quote-unquote “just polished the floors” but really it’s because you have a secret foot fetish.  Just inside is the winding open staircase, a masterpiece of vintage woodworking, and a large elaborate radiator that probably belongs in a radiator museum, if such a thing exists.  (If it does, I’m sure my mother will force me to go there with her the next time she visits.)  There’s a large, double-wide living room with an antique fireplace, and original wood floors that have been burnished to a high shine by decades of foot sweat.  The formal dining room also has an antique marble fireplace, and some interesting patterned wallpaper that will be cutting-edge hip if you just wait three to five years.  Farther back is a “parlor” overlooking the backyard, which is perfect for all your parlorin’.  (I have no idea what a parlor is for.)  The kitchen is large and yet cozy; today’s kitchens tend to be pretty sterile and alienating, but this one is warm and intimate, with exposed brick, lots of light, and marble countertops.  (Yes, I know I just poked fun at marble counters.  No house is perfect.)

Upstairs, the bedrooms are all comically large, with surplus room and over-sized windows.  All these old houses are huge, because when they were built the entire population of the earth was like half a million.  (That also explains castles.)  The master bath is legitimately huge, with French doors that open to the outside, so after you shower you can stand out there with your bathrobe “accidentally” flapping open in the breeze.  There’s also an incredible antique claw-foot soaking tub; if I had a tub like this, I’d take baths instead of showers, which means you could add another 45 minutes onto the 30 minutes I’m always late to everything.  Upstairs is a really cool attic bedroom with awesome built-ins, and the basement is rough around the edges, but still totally suitable for use as a man cave or “rumpus room.”  If your teenager and their friends are down there for longer than twenty minutes, you need to make a bunch of noise opening the door and stomp down the stairs, because they’re definitely doing something bad that you need to interrupt.  Out back is a wood deck overlooking a deceptively large yard, with several trees, and a brick patio, and out front is an actual, sizable front yard.  Not one of those postage stamp-sized token yards, but a legit yard where your kids could run and play while shrieking at a volume that would quickly drive your neighbors criminally insane.

1632 Newton Street NW
4 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths
$950,000

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