I have a weakness for penthouses, and not just because I slept with many of them under my mattress from the ages of 14-17. They’re appealing on a practical level because having neighbors above you is the worst; even a sock-footed step, transmitted down through your ceiling, sounds like a watermelon dropped from a helicopter. I once had an upstairs neighbor so heavy-footed that our light fixtures would become dislodged every few months and shatter against the hardwood floor. And they have a symbolic appeal because they’re on top, so you’re literally king (or queen) of the hill. It’s the living space equivalent of the corner office.
Speaking of which, this penthouse is also a corner unit. You don’t get any more prestigious than that. It’s also in a former embassy (of Taiwan), so if you’re really lucky, the previous occupants might have left a few diplomatic license plates in a back closet somewhere, so you can start parking at bus stops, in front of fire hydrants, or diagonally across three handicapped spaces. The main living area is awesome – I’d describe it as “semi-open floor plan.” The living room is a full eighteen by eighteen, so you’re going to have enough room to spell out your name with sectional sofas; there’s also a beautiful antique fireplace where you can curl up on a chilly winter night with a mug of hot cocoa and burn all the photos of yourself from before the nose job. Across from a small wine bar, is the large, bright dining room that looks directly onto the kitchen, meaning it’s likely that at some point your significant other will fling a hot omelet at you as you sit at the table, probably after you say something unwise like, “I promise I will never leave you, unless I get bored or something better comes along.” The kitchen is long and horseshoe-shaped, for twice the counterspace, and there are marble counters and stainless steel appliances. It’s a serious kitchen, for the type of people who say things like, “I’ll just whip up some meatballs by hand, it’ll only take an hour and a half.”
The master bedroom is generously proportioned and filled with light, and the master bath sports dual vanities despite the fact that no couple in the history of living together has EVER stood shoulder to shoulder and washed their hands at the same time. There’s also a pretty sweet glass-walled shower, with a little bench in there because latherin’ is hard work. The other bedroom also has one of those closets where the doors are just huge mirrors, which we pretend is for “getting dressed” but which we all know is what you put in the bedroom when you want a mirrored ceiling but are put off by the sleazy disco-era vibes.
Upstairs is a long sitting room or office, with a wet bar, which opens onto the private roof deck. This is an awesome outdoor space, with two tiers of lounging area so when you have a party, your work friends and your college friends can segregate themselves and talk smack about the other side. And there are awesome views; you can see half the city spread out before you from up here. With a strong enough elastic band, you could probably slingshot a lard-filled balloon all the way to the White House. (Seriously, don’t do that.) (But if you insist on doing it, make sure you take video so we can all have a good chuckle.)
1701 18th Street NW #401
3 Beds, 3 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Compass, 202-386-6330