If you traveled back a hundred-plus years in a time machine, and told the turn-of-the-century carpenter F.J. Simonds, original owner of this former carpentry shop, that his humble pile of bricks would someday be flying off the market at just over a million dollars, he probably would’ve hit you with a piece of scrap lumber and told you to lay off the bathtub moonshine. (Old-timey carpenters were a cranky bunch.) But this exceptional little home actually has an even humbler origin than that, as it was originally a stable. Even after Simonds took over the top floor for his carpentry business in 1921 (the original painted sign is still preserved on an outside wall), the ground floor continued to be used as a horse bathroom until after World War 2, when it was converted to a washing machine repair shop. In the mid-eighties, the building was purchased by an artist named Mike Carr, who renovated it into a live/work space. (He did such a good job, his renovation was later featured on an HGTV show.) Carr was a painter who drew chalk-outline-inspired bodies on neighborhood walls and, with other Naylor Court residents, once drew up a “Declaration of Independence” for the neighborhood and presented it to the mayor. The next part is the heartbreaking/cringe-inducing/cautionary tale part of the story; Carr sold the place in 2002, telling a local blogger that he was “tired of waiting for crime to go down and property values to go up.” Basically he sold at the worst possible time. He’s like the guy who sold his Apple stock in 1989 and patted himself on the back for clearing a cool $750 in profit.
But hey, isn’t every real estate transaction pretty much the story of one person losing? Back to the present, then, when you could have this charming, historic freestanding brick home, in one of the best locations in the city, for a hair over a million. You enter into the central living area; since the building’s footprint is relatively small, it has the feeling of a loft or even a cottage. There’s an open central dining room area, and a living room area in a large alcove. Light slants in through two horizontal slit windows set high up on the wall; they feel a bit “medium-security prison,” to tell the truth, but since the property is likely designated historical, I suspect the city would come down on you if you tried to knock the wall out to let in more light. But hey, look on the bright side – you’ll save money on Windex and paper towels. (Note: this is how optimists actually sound.)
The kitchen is done in dark wood, with stainless steel appliances and a chef’s range that will impress the kind of people who are impressed by appliances, i.e. all dads everywhere. Up a cozy spiral staircase is the second level, where the bright master bedroom features a balcony overlooking the alley. If you end up living here, you should take your significant other out on the balcony and ask them, “if we ever got into an argument, would you consider coming back late at night and serenading me from the alley below?” And if they say yes, you can immediately dump them, because good lord, life is not a John Cusack movie. The master bath is large and very nice, with twin basins, a glass-walled shower, and a soaking tub that happens to be directly in front of one of the house’s largest windows. (I know exactly what you’re thinking right now, you pervert.) There’s also an awesome multipurpose closet of the sort that, after you smoke weed, you will suddenly be sure a home invader is hiding in. And finally, there’s a wooden ladder that leads to a gorgeous roof deck with 360 degree views of the city. Since the building’s only two small stories tall, if you laugh loud enough when you’re up on the roof deck, pedestrians below will definitely hear you enjoying yourself and get really jealous which, let’s be honest, is most of the reason anyone ever goes out on their roof deck anyway.
1312 Naylor Court NW
2 Bedrooms, 2 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy TTR Sotheby’s, 202-333-1212