I firmly believe that how far a house is setback from the street tells you a lot about the people who built it. For example, this beautiful Georgetown home (really two-homes-in-one, but we’ll get to that later) comes right up to the sidewalk. This represents the sunny and fundamentally optimistic worldview of the upper class who’ve always made Georgetown their home; trouble doesn’t usually visit the doorstep of the people who write the laws and own the companies. In Shaw, built as a blue collar neighborhood, the houses are tastefully setback; not enough to seem stuck up, but just enough to make your neighbor think extra hard as they walk up your steps to borrow a cup of sugar. And in Mount Pleasant – built as a neighborhood for upper management – the houses not only sit at the top of a steep terraces, they have huge porches that, coincidentally, would make perfect mini-stockades for when the workers rise up to seize the means of production. (Not gonna lie, if revolution came, one of my first stops would be the house of the ex-boss whose office faced the bathrooms and would pick up and start the stopwatch he kept on his desk when anyone went into a restroom.)
But yeah, this house is right up on the street. If you ever plan on jacking up the price of a cancer drug or having an affair while in elected office, you might want to consider a more paparazzi-unfriendly place, but if you’re a regular decent person, it shouldn’t be a problem. Inside, it’s very elegant and old school – if you walked into this place to meet your significant other’s parents for the first time, your first thought would be, “oh man, they’re going to hate me.” The living room is bright and features an antique fireplace and a plush windowseat from which you can monitor, via binoculars, the comings and goings of all your neighbors, so you can relate their activities in detail when your adult children call you to see how you’re doing. (The last phone call I had with my mom was twenty minutes of her telling me what the neighbors have been up to (“why does Roger wash his car so often? What’s he hiding?”) before she abruptly said, “gotta go, my show’s starting,” and then hung up.) The formal dining room opens onto the kitchen, which features stainless steel appliances, marble counters, and exposed brick walls. The floor plan is wide open, so family members can easily wander in, offer a short but scathing critique of whatever you’re cooking, and then walk right back out before you have a chance to fling the pan of boiling water at them.
Further on is the sunroom, which has an all-glass ceiling, so you can lie back and look at the stars, and ponder the fact that if you had a dollar for each one in the sky, you still would only be able to pay back like half of your student loans. The sunroom opens, via several sets of French doors, onto the garden, which is really more of a small courtyard between this, the main house, and the carriage house. I love houses that come with its own carriage house, and truly believe that if every couple in America had a carriage house out back, the divorce rate would plummet to like 5%. This carriage house is outrageously stylish, with a massive pillar-like brick fireplace, oversized windows, and a lofted sleeping area. You’ll be starting petty arguments all the time, just to have an excuse to storm out of the house and spend the night back here.
Back in the main house, the master bedroom sports a row of huge windows and another fireplace right at the foot of the bed, so each night you can take your socks off and throw them into the flames like the villain in a “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip. The master bath has twin basins, a glass-doored marble shower, and a large soaking tub that you’ll definitely describe as a “hot tub” when you’re drunk and trying to convince a Tinder match to come over. And finally, out behind the house is a detached garage with parking for one. If you’ve ever tried to park your car on the street in Georgetown, you understand that this garage is worth as much as the house.
1414 34th Street NW
3 Bedrooms, 4 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Washington Fine Properties, 202-333-3320