A lot of mansions I see, I can’t help but think they look sort of fortress-like. Which would make sense, right? Or do I just have subconscious resentment towards the wealthy? (“They better live in fortresses, because the peasants are coming with their pitchforks!”) After I saw this place, I actually did some research and it turns out that a lot of mansions really are modeled after fortresses! The maison du forte is a medieval french term for “fortified house,” which was a miniature castle for rich people, complete with high brick walls, towers, and wall slots for defense against attackers. A lot of these features survived in the architecture of the upper classes, which is obvious when you look at this place. I could hold off an army if I lived here. That brick facade could withstand cannon fire (there’s an idea for a Halloween night prank!) and those little windows on each side of the front door are quite clearly for poking rifles through. Better get used to using them though – invite Grandma over for Sunday dinner and then shoot her hat off, you’ll get some practice in and the rest of the family gets a big laugh.
But this house has a lot to recommend it, aside from its defensibility in a zombie apocalypse. Inside, it’s huge, with a series of yawning amphitheater-like spaces that will make you feel completely trivial and insignificant unless you’re, like, forging a warhammer on a huge anvil or something. The living room is a cozy space with a fireplace and an insane number of French doors leading outside, so no matter where your parents corner you to ask why you’re still not married, you’ll be able to make a quick getaway into the yard, over the garden wall, and onto a Greyhound bus out of town. The sitting room has tons of built-ins for tons of framed family photos in case you ever come down with complete and total amnesia, and there are several closets, including one half-sized closet that’s probably for storing something super-specific like furs or artwork or fine china, but which every time you smoke marijuana you’ll immediately suspect is a hidey-hole for the evil gnome that lives in your house. And finally, there’s the family room, with an awesome peaked ceiling and the biggest picture window you’ve ever seen. I will give you one hundred dollars cash if you get a running start and dive through it headfirst.
The kitchen is probably the largest kitchen I’ve ever seen. The amount of cabinet space alone is notable. You could take a 747 apart and store the pieces in the cupboards, with room left over for several boxes of breakfast cereal. The marble-topped island is the size of a regulation parking space. You could literally park a car on this island, which one of your teenager’s classmates will probably try to do if you ever go out of town. Upstairs, the master suite is gorgeously paneled with wood imported from an actual French chateau. It’s like the bedroom of a Bond villain. The master bath is all marble and glass, which looks very nice, yes, but I maintain is a puzzling choice for a room in which you’re going to be walking on slippery wet surfaces, naked and vulnerable. When I build my dream home, the bathroom is going to have rubber floors and padded walls, mildew be damned.
Up top, the attic level is a charming little office/lounge, with a fireplace, a slanting ceiling, and great views to distract you from whatever you came up there to do. Behind the house is a huge wraparound flagstone patio that overlooks the full-sized swimming pool (!). Yes, if you live here, you’ll be very popular for the summer months, though really that just makes it sting all the more when no one will return your calls or texts for the other 8.5 months of the year. Finally, the house sits on a lot that’s almost an entire acre, and has been exhaustively landscaped and planted, so you better start coming up with lots of advice to dispense as you walk the grounds with various younger family members.
2700 Chesapeake Street NW
7 Bedrooms, 5.5 Baths
Listed by Compass
Photos courtesy of MRIS