This flat-faced picturesque townhouse is on an exceptionally quiet block just a stone’s throw from the big Freemason temple on 16th Street, which is one of the most mysterious buildings in the city. I’ve never seen anyone going in or out of there. If the entire building rose out of the ground, revealing that it was a half-buried alien spacecraft all along, and then flew into the sky and disappeared, I don’t think I’d be that surprised. But also keep in mind that my ringtone is the “X-Files” theme song, so maybe I’m not the most objective person.
The house is one of those not-set-back-at-all homes you see here and there around the city; inside, the large, welcoming living room features a cool marble fireplace with a richly dark mantle, on which you could plausibly showcase anything from family photos to a sacrificial goblet used for rituals. The walls are a sort of warm textured beige, which I liked so much that I started to think that maybe flat white is the fluorescent lights of walls. Next is the dining room, which is a step higher than the living room, so invest in some steel-toed slippers because you’re going to be ramming your toe into that step every single day for the first six months you live here. The long, wide dining room is the most central room on this level, which means its mere existence will probably guilt you into a proper sit-down meal at least a few times a week.
The kitchen is bright and roomy, with stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, and a brick alcove where you could potentially reenact that Edgar Allen Poe story where the guy tricks his drunk frenemy into standing in a brick alcove and then quickly walls him in using bricks and mortar that he hid nearby. You could read the story to your kids at bedtime, and then whenever they acted up, you could just reach into a drawer and pull out a trowel while looking at the alcove. They’ll settle right down.
The kitchen opens onto the back patio via double glass doors, which could come in real handy if, like me, you tend to be a “smoky” cook. (I don’t think I’ve ever made eggs without setting off the smoke alarm.) There’s a nice brick patio, with a few trees and a sky-high privacy fence, so you could literally operate a meth lab out there. Not necessarily right now, but you could just keep the idea in the back of your mind in case you lose your job or something. Upstairs, the master bedroom is sprawling and sports several oversized windows, and the spa-inspired master bath is truly enviable, if you’re the type of sick, petty person who goes around getting jealous about other people’s bathrooms. There’s an awesome freestanding soaking tub, and twin basins with some vaguely nautical wood paneling. The shower brings to mind one of those old-fashioned British phone booths, and features twin side-by-side rainfall showerheads, so you can literally frolic naked in a rainstorm any time you want, without having to worry about the neighbors calling the police and/or taking photos of you with their phone and posting them on Twitter.
Up top is a ludicrously nice three-level roof deck. There are planters, a wet bar, a fridge, and couches galore; your house would literally be the nicest outdoor roof bar in the neighborhood. If you have a teenager, you could never go out of town, or you know they’d have an epic party here that resulted in multiple arrests. And finally, the lower level is a legal basement rental that, according to the listing, brings in $22.5K a year. As far as I’m concerned, I’d just rent the basement out to some gullible intern, and live in borderline poverty on the $22.5K. I wouldn’t have a lot of money, but I’d have plenty of time to spend on the important things in life, i.e. lounging on my luxury three-tiered roof deck.
1530 Swann Street NW
5 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Century 21 Redwood Realty, 202-506-3674