Going to open houses the weekend after Thanksgiving is scary. You’re rubbing with shoulders with people who just lived in a tent on the sidewalk for three days to get an off-brand laptop for 30% off; they’ve gazed into the abyss and their big epiphany was that suffering = savings. You can just see them looking around thinking, “I really like this house, but I think I’ll wait until after the next housing market crash. Hopefully there’ll be catastrophic solar flares or a bank failure soon!”
Considering this house is in Park View, one of the neighborhoods with the fastest-rising prices in the entire city, it’s going to take nothing short of the apocalypse to bring the price down. Not to mention, it’s one of a very limited number of pop-ups available, thanks to the city’s recent ban on them. Now yes, I can imagine that you might be curling your upper lip in disgust at the relative tackiness of this towering add-on, and I understand that, on aesthetic grounds. On the other hand, if you think that rents and home prices are too high in DC, you have to admit that building up is the only way to alleviate them. Following that logic, the only people who benefit from the anti-pop-up movement are developers and homeowners trying to soak you for seven figures so they can send their four kids to Ivy League colleges, with enough left over for a bed and breakfast in Turks and Caicos. They’ve successfully used aesthetics to get us to agitate against our own interests. It’s a conspiracy! Everything’s a conspiracy. (Sorry, blame 2016.)
This is a really well-done expansion; you enter into the main level, which has louvered ceilings and tons of windows. (That’s one of the upsides of a pop-up; you get much more light, since you aren’t sandwiched between your neighbors.) The kitchen is u-shaped, which is a welcome change from the usual “one wall, plus an island” setup. There are high-end stainless steel appliances, white marble counters, and the cabinets are lit from within, which is one of those things you rarely see, but should be standard practice. When I ate too much Adderall recently and went on a manic cleaning binge of my apartment, I had to wear a headlamp to clean the back part of my cupboards, which I’m sure you’ll agree is ridiculous on many different levels.
Upstairs, the master bedroom features an entire wall that’s essentially a single floor-to-ceiling window. This would be a great bedroom for people who are trying to get past their immature relationship behavior, since any pissed-off ex could very easily just stroll over and wing a rock through the glass wall of your bedroom. There’s nothing like the prospect of a midnight rain of razor-sharp glass shards onto your bed to motivate you towards open, honest communication. The master bath has twin basins, for that “washing your hands next to a stranger in a ballpark restroom” vibe, and a glass-walled shower that’s larger than most Tokyo apartments.
Finally, the roof has been converted to a huge wood-and-brick deck that dwarfs most rooftop decks in the city. Once your pop-up-hating neighbors see your stunning views and the hot tub (!!) up here, they’ll go from muttering and resentful to over-friendly and angling for an invitation faster than Mitt Romney changed his mind about Trump.
454 Park Road NW Unit B
3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy RE/MAX, 240-450-2493
BY FRANKLIN SCHNEIDER