Someone at this open house mentioned that this Dupont townhome had been designed by Robert Gurney, and the place instantly looked 150% more prestigious, despite the fact that I had no idea who Robert Gurney was until I googled him when I got home. I even started name dropping him at the boxed wine table (“Some of Gurney’s best work, wouldn’t you say?”) to impress total strangers who I’d never see again. There’s something about an architect’s name that makes people feel like they’re “in the know,” and that goes double if they’ve never heard of them. If you ever sell your house, my advice is to make up a prestigious-sounding designer, tell people he did your place, and watch it sell for a quarter-mil above ask. (“I’m sure you know it’s one of the few Peter Steelecrest homes on the east coast …?”)
Even the front door of this house has panache; a little round porthole gives it a whimsically nautical feel, like a prop from that Wes Anderson movie that took place on a submarine. I like the porthole, but it doesn’t have the peephole’s advantage of letting you see who’s at your door without them being able to see you. It could be awkward the first time your face appears in the porthole, you see our irritating neighbor, and you say, “sorry, I’m not home!” You enter into a sleek ultradmodern foyer, which kind of reminds me of the waiting area where the HR lady has you sit before you interview for a job you have zero chance of getting. Further on is the curving, light-filled living room, which has legitimate floor-to-ceiling windows. This level is totally open, so the living room flows into a large dining room area, which becomes the kitchen. There are Subzero and Miele stainless steel appliances here that are worth more than your car, fine minimalist cabinetry, and acres of counterspace for you to clutter up with empty squirt bottles of ranch dressing and the five Keurig machines your grandma has bought you for the past half-decade of Christmases because she keeps forgetting she already bought you one the year before. There’s also a butler’s pantry and a wine cellar, which you might need to get renovated, because the racks aren’t big enough to hold the $7.99 five-gallon jugs of Ernest & Julio Gallo you favor. (Hey, no judgment – I recently bought a bottle of Mad Dog because I was having a gnat problem in my kitchen, and I read online that Mad Dog is irresistible bait for gnats, but I ended up drinking – and enjoying – the whole bottle, despite the fact that it was the bright blue color of public bathroom handsoap.)
The master bedroom continues the spare aesthetic of the rest of the place, with more delicate floor-to-ceiling windows, and an entire wall of rich wood that’s essentially a built-in headboard for your bed, complete with reading lamps that you’ll never use, because why read a book before bed when you can compulsively read news articles on your phone about terrible things happening in the world that you have no control over? The master bath is breathtaking, with tile walls, a huge soaking tub, an industrial-ish stainless steel double basin, and a glass-walled shower that has another floor-to-ceiling window in it. (Having a floor-to-ceiling window in your shower is the definition of daring.) Through the bath, there’s a changing room area with several huge closets. Upstairs, there are more luxurious bedrooms, as well as an office with a long wall of built-ins where you can store your dozens of three-ring document binders that your family thinks are work-related but are actually just the records for your fantasy football league. There’s even a fold-down Murphy bed, for when you have to “work on a big presentation all night,” i.e. plan your fantasy football draft.
Finally, there’s a large wraparound terrace at the rear of the house. I’m not usually into outdoor spaces that don’t incorporate some natural features – this terrace is all brick and flagstone – but the immaculate design was enough to win me over. Besides, no grass or trees means no mowing or leaf-raking, and I’ll gladly give up the splendor of nature if it gets me out of ten minutes of light chores. (And that, in a nutshell, is why humanity is doomed.)
2104 R Street NW
3 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Long & Foster, 703-522-0500