Have you ever been underwhelmed by someone you just met until you found out their name was, like, “Angelique” or “Rodrigo” or something cool like that? A name can make all the difference. Why do you think everyone you know from high school who moved to LA changed their name from “Sarah Mulgrew” to, like, “Lucia De La Vine”? I feel like there’s a similar effect with this address: telling people you live on “Cliffbourne Place” automatically makes them picture you standing regally on a windswept cliff, wearing a British admiral’s uniform. It just sounds so atmospheric and dignified.
This place is “the green house” on Rainbow Row, so it comes with a lot of responsibilities; namely, not painting it any color other than green. (I wonder if there are neighborhood urban legends about the effects that each house color has on you, like the old rumors about M&Ms? You remember what they used to say about the green ones, don’t you?) Inside, the house is four levels of well-preserved sophistication, with tons of period details like tin ceilings, burnished woodwork, hardwood floors, and bow windows. The living room has an awesome antique fireplace with a brick mantle, and a huge wraparound bay window, so that by the time you realize you forgot to put pants on before getting up to stoke the fire, your neighbors will already be on the phone with a 911 operator. (“This is the third time in the last hour, I’m starting to think he’s doing it on purpose!”) Through to the next room, there’s a majestic wood staircase that will provide you with several months of firewood if civilization ever collapses and you get trapped inside this house. The gourmet kitchen has been thoroughly updated and modernized, with stainless steel appliances and marble countertops, so the other kids at school will never be able to taunt your child about their substandard kitchen finishes, which I think is every parent’s worst nightmare. The tin ceilings in the kitchen are also so beautiful that I feel like they might be a distraction; you’d be cooking dinner, glance upwards by chance, get so caught up in admiring your antique tin ceilings, and the next thing you know, your date is discreetly pushing her overcooked slimy mushrooms to the far edge of her plate while talking about how she just remembered she has to meet up with her friends in an hour.
Upstairs, the master bedroom has a ton of light and boasts another antique fireplace with a brick mantle – judging by the books I read as a kid, there’s at least a 50% chance that pushing in the right brick on one of these mantles opens a secret passageway. The master bathroom has a huge soaking tub, for those days when you come home from the mines covered head to toe in coal dust. Upstairs there are more bedrooms, and even more bedrooms; this place has a full four levels of house-y goodness. (I just coined that phrase, by the way.) I see a fair number of houses with elevators in them, and they usually seem a little excessive, but a house like this could definitely use one. If you went all the way up to your bedroom on the top level and then realized that you’d left your phone on the ground level, you would legitimately break into tears. Out back is a wooden deck, and – surprise – the house is painted a different color on its backside. It feels kind of voyeuristic looking at it, like accidentally seeing someone changing at the beach. Downstairs, the basement is a completely separate apartment, and one of the finer basement apartments I’ve seen, which usually resemble root cellars crammed with IKEA furniture. The house also has a pretty interesting history, which includes the Queen of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and a past as a rooming house and an academy for lip-reading classes. (Life is weird, man.)
2515 Cliffbourne Place NW
6 Bedrooms, 5 Baths
Listed by Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Photos courtesy of MRIS