Even though I’m a big fan of “character” and “old bones” in a house, I have to admit that I really like newly-constructed houses too, what with their “new car smell” and all their sleek, modern features. (Incidentally, this is how I imagine my dad and his friends talk about women – but I digress.) In Japan, you know, everyone lives in new construction. The custom there is that when you buy a house, you immediately tear it down and build a new one. Living in a house that someone else has already lived in is seen as tacky and vaguely disgusting, like eating a cough drop you find on the floor of a public bathroom. As a result, Japanese houses have some of the most forward-thinking design in the world; the downside is that their economy is totally flat because their houses don’t produce wealth.
Still, if I personally had to choose between living in this cutting-edge Kent manse, or having a vibrant national economy, I’d probably take the house. I mean, I have an English degree, so for me, the economy is perpetually terrible no matter what. This house looms up on the hill, sort of like a fortress; there’s even a “sky deck” up on the very top floor from which you could pour boiling oil onto a siege army, or fling ink-filled balloons onto your significant other as they arrive home from work, after you break into their email. Inside, the main level of the house is an interesting series of vaulted ceilings, overlooks, and spiral staircases; this is the advantage of new construction, as opposed to the old model of “just make every room a big box.” The kitchen has everything you expect in a luxury kitchen – Sub Zero and Wolf stainless steel appliances, fancy Brizo fixtures – but also plenty of surprises. Like a double island, which I’m not sure I’ve seen before. I’m not sure it’s very practical either, but I can appreciate the gesture towards excess. It’s the kitchen island equivalent to those razors with five blades. I obviously don’t need a five-bladed razor, but I buy them anyway.
The living room opens onto the deck with two entire walls of glass doors, and a beautiful gas fireplace set into the wall. There’s also a formal dining room, crowned with twin chandeliers; above these rooms is a second-floor overlook, thanks to the catwalk-like staircase. (You could also take the elevator upstairs – yes, there’s an elevator.) The master bedroom has a sitting area-slash-bay window that’s basically a three-side glass cube; if you have trouble getting up in the morning, you could put your bed here and wake up promptly at dawn as the sun kicked you in the face. The master bath features an awesome soaking tub – pamper yourself by steeping in a soup of dead skin cells and sweat! – and a massive glass walled shower that your teenager’s friends will definitely deface with Sharpies when you go out of town and they throw a huge drunken party.
Up top is the aforementioned “sky deck,” which is basically a big covered roof deck that looks out over the neighborhood. Get a couple of those restaurant-sized standup heaters and this could be an all-year-round hangout spot. Where this house really shines, though, is in the “other” category, as in all the random other rooms and features that are included. A sauna, for one. Saunas are wonderful and will make you look ten years younger; just don’t fall asleep in there or you’ll wake up looking like beef jerky. There’s also a sort of spa room, with a steam shower and a jacuzzi that’s so large it’s really more of a small pool. Either way, yes, I accept your generous invitation to come by and use it whenever I went. There’s also a home theater (not sure how useful this will be since everyone just streams or pirates crap-quality video now), and a small gym. If you feel guilty about not going to the gym now, just imagine how much guiltier you’re going to feel when you’re too lazy to even walk downstairs. I give you six weeks before you’re setting it on fire.
4964 Eskridge Terrace NW
8 Bedrooms, 7.5 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy of Akhtab Lohani, RE/MAX Specialists, 202-338-8900