Have you ever been at a party and met someone who looks imperious and uptight, but once you start chatting, you realize they’re totally chill and hilarious and you end up eating a bunch of weed-infused gummies on the roof with them? Or met someone who seems like a spaced-out dunce but then later learn that they have a doctorate in medieval literature and wrote their dissertation on symbolism in Chaucer? No, of course not, because people are almost always what they seem to be. Houses, on the other hand, could definitely have surprises behind the facade, and this one does. From the outside it looks like a house where your elderly aunt who has 14 cats and practices Wicca might live, but on the inside it’s a sleek hypercontemporary home of the type favored by that dude in your office who wears all black every day and only uses social media platforms that no one has ever heard of.
You enter into an all-white vaulted super-bright vestibule that’s like what you probably imagine the afterlife to be like if you really love Apple products. There’s an open floor plan, so the place feels very free and unrestrictive. The formal dining room has an awesome louvered ceiling, “architectural grade” light fixtures (meaning that they look like something you’d see in a livestock veterinarian’s instrument tray), and translucent white slide-able windowshades, because curtains are hopelessly analog. It might strike you, at first, as a bit sterile for a dining room, but then consider that eating isn’t really a joyous occasion anymore. Food is more a source of anxiety and dread nowadays – dread of carcinogens, of weight gain, etc – so this space is actually more appropriate than a traditionally “warm” dining room. The kitchen features blonde wooden cabinets (to match the blonde hardwood floors throughout the house), stainless steel appliances, and marble counters. Adjacent to that is a sitting room that’s made up entirely of windows, not to be confused with the living room, which has slightly fewer windows, but is much larger. The living room also has not one, not two, but three sets of French doors, right next to each other, that open onto the terrace. (Please respect my political beliefs and refer to them from now on as “freedom doors.”)
Upstairs, the master bedroom suite has a very large private balcony overlooking the terrace and the gardens, so each morning when you wake up, you can go out there and have your little “I am lord of all I survey” moment before you have to go to work and do more spreadsheets for your boss to take credit for. In the master bath, the shower is a huge gray stone chamber with a small stone bench; isn’t it strange how the more upscale a shower is, the more it resembles a medieval prison cell? The very top attic level of the house, as is often the case (in my opinion, anyway), is the finest bedroom, an idiosyncratic space of sloping planes and tons of light. No question, if I lived here, I’d take this room. Think how much less you’d snack late at night if you had to walk down two flights of stairs to get to that 5 lb. bag of Swedish Fish you told yourself you were only buying for the kids. (Shyamalan ending: you don’t even have kids.)
The lower level is set up presently as a rec room, but it has a full kitchen and bath, so it could be used as an au pair/in-law suite, or just as a place to crash when you take a week off work and don’t feel like showering or shaving or doing anything but playing Xbox, and your significant other banishes you from the bedroom. And finally, behind the house is an immaculately landscaped garden, with winding paths and tiers of stone terraces, all leading back to a stone patio for lounging, outdoor dining, or just sitting around with four or five of your closest friends and plotting a credit union robbery. (Still 250% less annoying than doing a fantasy football draft.)
3105 Chesapeake Street NW
4 Bedrooms, 4 Baths
Photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy of TTR Sotheby’s, 202-333-1212