Just a handful of years ago, almost this entire stretch of homes on Irving were group houses full of 42-year-old bartenders and apprentice body piercers and ambivalent young white collar professionals who technically could’ve afforded their own place but who woke up every morning thinking, “Maybe today is the day I’ll have the courage to disappoint my parents, quit my respectable office job, and pursue my lifelong dream of being a weed dealer.” I personally threw hundreds of empty beer cans off these porches and then immediately swore somebody else had done it when the responsible roommate came outside and reminded us that we couldn’t throw empties into the yard anymore because the neighbors had started complaining. The constant in all of these households was that at some point, every roommate privately thought to themselves, “wouldn’t it be incredible to have this entire house to myself, rather than sharing it with five randoms from Craigslist?” But this was inconceivable to 99% of these people, most of whom barely made their low three-figure rent. Maybe now that they’re being sold off as renovated single family homes, one of these ex-group housers who stuck it out in the ol’ cubicle will go full circle and buy one. Invite me to the housewarming, I promise not to throw any beer cans off the porch (when you’re looking).
But yeah, these Mount Pleasant homes are wider, nicer versions of the ubiquitous rowhomes found further south. (True historical tidbit – the rowhomes in, say, Shaw, were built for the working class, and the houses up here were built for the managerial class.) Having a Shaw rowhome all to yourself definitely feels good, but having one of these houses all to yourself feels downright luxurious. There’s an expansive front porch that overlooks the sloping front terrace; sitting out here on a warm summer night and seeing all your neighbors doing the same will either give you a glorious sense of community, or make you feel like an ant. Inside, the living room is bright, wide, and centers on a fireplace that looks sturdy enough to survive a direct hit from a North Korean nuke. Through a long family room-slash-den (the classic “this is where the family will spend all their time when there’s no company over” room) is the formal dining room, which is illuminated by a wall of large windows that look onto the fenced-in backyard. The kitchen runs parallel to the family room, and is clad in more streaked marble than Liberace’s bathroom; it also features high-end stainless steel appliances, and glass-front cabinetry so you can see all the stuff you put on your wedding registry that you’ll never ever use. (Don’t worry, the first marriage is a test run on every level.)
Upstairs, the master bedroom has tons of windows, and a ceiling fan directly above the bed so you can sleep in a compressed layer of your own body heat and odors. The master bath has a glass-walled shower with one of those little marble shower benches that I always joke is only there for adult purposes, except that I’m not really joking. One of the other bedrooms features a semi-separate sunroom which, back when this was still a group house, was probably where the roommate whose only source of income was juggling for change in Meridian Hill Park crashed. The lower level is a fully finished “rumpus room” that I have to admit would be perfect for a “man cave” even though I kinda hate that term. (We should come up with something, anything else. How about “dude dungeon”? “Bro burrow”? “Lad lair”?) Out back is a wooden deck where you can grill burgers and hot dogs for ungrateful family and friends who will invariably accept every item by either saying “I said medium well, not reduced to ash” or by miming projectile vomiting while sitting on an invisible toilet. And finally, this house is literally five minutes from the Mount Pleasant strip (possibly the most underrated strip in the city), and also from Rock Creek Park, which is one of the greatest urban green spaces in America, even taking into account that between March and November the hiking trails are as crowded as the Gallery Place metro station during rush hour.
1705 Irving Street NW
4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Long & Foster, 202-483-6300