Sundays With Strangers

genmid-dc9803481_1I always joked that vintage hardwood looks so rich and burnished because it’s soaked up decades of foot sweat, but really I had no idea what made it so shiny.  Last weekend, a friend of mine from the Midwest, who is also a professional woodworker, visited, and I asked him what gave old hardwood its look, and he said, “well, oils, mostly.  Natural oils.  And moisture.”  I thought about this for a while.  “Wait,” I said.  “You mean … foot sweat?”

He shrugged and nodded.

Aha!!!!  I knew it!  (Later, he clarified:  “It doesn’t necessarily have to be foot sweat.  A lot of indoor moisture naturally comes from exhalation, for example.”)  Yeah, so add “misted spittle” to that list.  What does it say about me that I don’t really even care?  I just like the way it looks.

This classic Logan Circle townhome has a ton of original woodwork that’s burnished to a high shine; if the foot sweat thing bothers you, just tell yourself it’s floor wax or something.  (It probably is, to be honest.)  It also has a ton of other original details, like pocket doors, antique fireplaces, and original moldings; unlike the typical hyper-contemporary interior that seems to exist in a perpetual now, this house is a constant reminder that time is fleeting and we all die.  So there’s that.  Entering through the tiled foyer, there’s an oversized living room with an old-fashioned bay window and an antique fireplace that’s perfect for burning those stupid denim cargo shorts your significant other insists on wearing, if only to irritate you.  In the next room is the grand staircase (made of finely-aged hardwood, of course), and another antique fireplace, in case cargo jean short guy is coming home from work early and you still have bunch more of his clothes to burn.  There’s a long, bright formal dining room, and a surprisingly modern kitchen, though it does have a mostly-wood aesthetic that matches the rest of the house.  There are stainless steel appliances, and lots of light thanks to thoughtful renovation.  There’s also a fancy glass-front refrigerator so your guests will be able to tell at a glance that you’re a pathetic counterfeit adult who only has condiments and empty Styrofoam takeout containers in your fridge.

Upstairs, the master bedroom sports more fantastic hardwood, and the master bath has twin basins, a freestanding soaking tub, and a glass-walled shower that confers about the same amount of privacy you’d get if you bathed yourself standing up at a sink in a truck stop bathroom.  This is a very common thing in high-end master baths.  I mean, I get it, you’d presumably be living here with your life partner or whatever, but BOUNDARIES, people.  If my significant other walks in while I’m lathering up, there better be an electrical fire raging downstairs.

Downstairs, the basement has been built out into an English basement apartment, and there’s even a certificate of occupancy for when the District government goes around town to make sure all the basement apartments are legal.  Oh wait, that never happens, they couldn’t care less.  Out back is a beautiful garden with a brick walkway, shrubbery, and a fountain; it’s the perfect place to sit back after work, have a drink, watch the sunset, and wonder when your boss is going to figure out that all the stuff on your resume about being a web development expert was a total and complete lie.  (Spoiler alert: everyone in the office already knows.)

1410 15th Street NW
5 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths

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All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Keller Williams, 202-243-7700

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