“Everyone at the open house kept going on and on about how ‘private’ this place is, which I interpreted to mean that they were all either meth cooks or nudists.”

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This incredible Cleveland Park home is like a country estate right in the city.  With a huge rolling yard, and dense greenery on three sides, you get all the benefits of urban living (access to shops, restaurants, etc.) along with all the trademarks of country life (Lyme disease, an irrational but unshakeable conviction on moonless nights that an axe murderer is lurking just outside your window).  Everyone at the open house kept going on and on about how “private” this place is, which I interpreted to mean that they were all either meth cooks or nudists.

Right out front is a huge circle drive, which is one of those things that looks pretty impressive, but might not serve any real purpose.  (Are they for people who are really bad at driving in reverse?)  The wraparound front porch is so huge that it’s almost a shame that the house is so closed off;  there’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting on a front porch and judging pedestrians as they walk by.  Inside, the living room is roomy and bright, and oriented around a fireplace that features an antique wood mantle, which is a really fancy way of saying it comes with emergency firewood attached.  There’s a gorgeous formal dining room, and a loft-ish two-story family room with yet another fireplace (this one with a marble mantle) and a massive wall of built-ins for your books, framed family photos, commemorative plates, and the various other knick-knacks that people display in their homes to try and convince other people that they’re not just a depraved hairless ape who spends 99% of their waking hours thinking about either food or sex.

I’d describe the kitchen – arguably the crown jewel of the house – as “mountain chalet-ish.”  There’s a wooden beam ceiling, and plenty of antique woodwork around the room, among which are placed top-shelf stainless steel appliances, including a glass-front refrigerator so nice that, if it was in my house, might actually shame me into going grocery shopping for real food instead of just eating chips from 7-11 every night.  There’s no island, which is somewhat unusual in 2017, but it was kind of refreshing to be in a kitchen that had only wide-open space between the counters.  People always think they’re going to spend tons of time standing at their kitchen islands, drinking wine and talking about life (I’m convinced this idea comes from network television), but in reality the island usually just becomes an all-purpose repository for depleted lint rollers, skin care product catalogs and unopened IRS and student loan notices that you think somehow “don’t count” if you never actually acknowledge them.  (Hey, it’s worked for me so far.)  Upstairs, the huge master bedroom opens, via French doors, onto a private balcony, in case you wake up in the middle of the night with an urge to shoot bottle rockets at the neighbors.  The master bath features tiled walls, a freestanding soaking tub, and an awesome shower with a rainfall showerhead and two small bench seats.  You could not only sit down while taking a shower, you could put your feet up.

Outside, there’s a quaint gazebo where you can go do courtly old-fashioned stuff like smoking weed after the kids fall asleep.  Oh, and there’s a 55-foot pool.  This is a legitimate lap pool, so you’ll be able to get into peak physical condition to go sit in an office all day.  Next to the pool is a canopied, flagstone lounge area with an outdoor kitchen; in a lot of places, people use outdoor kitchens in the summer months because cooking indoors would make the houses uncomfortably hot.  (Or you could do what I do and just eat chips from 7-11 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)  And there’s even a cabana, which not many people know is a Spanish word for “something I thought only existed in late night Cinemax movies.”

3220 Idaho Avenue NW
5 Bedrooms, 5.5 Baths
$5,499,000

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All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Washington Fine Properties, 202-944-5000

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