Sundays With Strangers

dc9772447_1This fine Kalorama manse is built in the Georgian Colonial style, which I wasn’t familiar with before this open house, but which I’d describe as the aesthetic of a Renaissance Faire set in southern Italy.  Everything looks very warm, there’s a lot of off-white, and everywhere you look there’s more woodwork.  The listing is careful to specify that it’s American Chestnut, so you can rest easy that your house isn’t paneled with any of that foreign (and possibly illegal) chestnut that the television says has been stealing the jobs of good ol’ American trees.  *Salutes*

The living room features a really cool planked ceiling, as well as other original woodwork and hardwood floors, as well as an antique fireplace.  (Keep a crowbar close at hand and in the winter you could literally heat yourself with little pieces of your living room.)  Off that is a large formal dining room, and an adjoining butler’s pantry that’s been meticulously preserved.  In the old days, this is where the butler would go when you asked him for more gravy or ice or whatever, where he would rattle dishes around while muttering, “mannn, I hate this job, they don’t pay me enough for this crap, I wonder if my cousin can still get me on down at the car detailing place?”

The chef-inspired kitchen is truly massive, and they’ve taken the “industrial stainless steel” thing to the next level, surrounding the restaurant-grade range with those stainless steel prep tables you see in restaurant kitchens, as well as an entire backsplash wall of steel sheeting.  It’s like having a miniature restaurant kitchen in your own home.  If I lived here, every time my significant other cooked something, I’d put on a white smock and scream Gordon Ramsey insults into her ear until I lost my voice or she threw a pan of hot oil at me, whichever came first.  There’s also a grand library, with hardwood floors and tons of built-in shelves, also made of finely-aged wood.  This room is completely 100% wood.  Imagine if you were a tree and you were at a dinner party at this house and you were looking for the bathroom and you accidentally walked in here.  Horrifying.

Upstairs, the master bedroom has beautiful French doors that open onto a private balcony, and a deluxe walk-in closet that looks like it’s right out of that montage 2/3 of the way through every single Scorcese movie when the anti-hero hits it big and descends into true decadence.  The master bath has everything you’d expect in a house like this plus – a bidet!  I’ll be honest, the bidet is what really clinched this house for me.  As soon as I saw it, I was like, this is a serious house.  When you walk into someone’s master bath and see that bidet there, you think, this is a serious person.  Of course, I’m not totally sure how to use a bidet; someone told me you sit backwards on it, facing the wall, but that seems questionable, and since this was a person who might possibly be holding years-old petty grudges against me, this might be their attempt at getting random Europeans to laugh at me years from now when I attempt to ride their fountain-toilet horsey-style.  Still, using the bidet is beside the point.  Just having it there is an indicator of sophisticated taste, like a coffee table book you never read or a bottle of Fernet that you secretly think tastes like Robitussin.

Finally, the back patio is literally the nicest outdoor space I’ve ever seen, with a fireplace, a fountain, and plenty of room for some nice patio furniture.  If you’ve ever been sitting in your palatial living room, watching the game, and suddenly think to yourself, “this is nice, sitting here like this, but I kind of wish there were birds swooping down to snatch the chips from my hand, and tiny biting insects crawling up my ankles and maybe even laying their egg sacs just under my skin as I sit here completely unaware,” then, well, this might be the house for you.

1824 23rd Street NW
4 Bedrooms, 6 Baths

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All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy TTR Sotheby’s, 202-333-1212

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