This cute li’l Columbia Heights is the perfect compromise between the small boxy rowhouses in, say, Shaw, and the massive fortresslike homes found in nearby Mount Pleasant. When you live in a rowhouse, you have to throw out half your stuff once a year or you end up walking sideways through hallways stacked with piles of books and sacks of clothes like on an episode of Hoarders, and if you live in a sprawling Mount Pleasant-type home, you end up buying lots of end tables and decorative birdcages at flea markets just to fill random empty corners of your home, and you catch yourself thinking things like, “I have all this room, maybe I should just have like eight kids?” This house lets you split the difference.
It really is cute, too. It looks like a dollhouse, or like it belongs in a terrarium. There’s a small front yard and a porch with a swing; the houses on this stretch have the kinds of porches where you can look over and see your neighbor right there, which promotes either friendliness or stealthy late-night porch enclosure construction. (I would certainly go for the latter and tell my neighbors some ludicrous story about how “the house inspector said the porch roof is sagging so I have to build foot-thick brick walls to hold it up HA HA HA!!!”) Inside, the house sports tons of original woodwork, and shiny hardwood floors burnished by decades of warm, moist feet. There are two antique fireplaces, one in the living room, and one in the dining room. Both have rich wood mantles, which strikes me as vaguely unsafe, like building a dynamite cabinet out of matches or something, but what do I know?
The kitchen is ultramodern and all-white, and seemed extremely open and roomy, for a reason it took me a while to figure out. Where most kitchens have overhead cabinets, this kitchen just has open space. No cabinets! It looked weird and unfinished at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Cabinets aren’t really that useful anyway. Putting food in a cabinet is like putting clothes in a dresser drawer; you promptly forget it even exists until you stumble across it six months later while looking for your phone charger or something. (Yes, all my clothes are out and in piles; yes, all my groceries are cluttered on my kitchen counter; yes, I’m allegedly an adult.) Besides a surplus of vaguely unsettling empty space at eye level, the kitchen also features top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, for those late nights when you want to cook some mac and cheese or sterilize a tray of surgical instruments.
The master suite is large and bright, thanks to two oversized windows on different walls, meaning there could be an awkward moment when one nosy perv neighbor accidentally makes eye contact, through his binoculars, with a totally different nosy perv neighbor watching you at the same time. There are also two big regular closets. (I think I go to too many open houses; I’m so used to seeing ridiculous lavish walk-in closets that a regular closet seems quaint and whimsical.) The other bedrooms are also bright and have the same period details, and out back is a screened-in porch (highly underrated as a place to sleep in the summer) and parking for one or two cars, maybe more if you back the third car up the alley, floor it, and really just cram it in there with the other two. Oh, and the lower level is a completely separate apartment. It’s one of the nicer basement apartments I’ve seen, with all new-finishes, and a real and total commitment to the all-white theme, which makes it seem larger and brighter and also sort of like the set of a Seventies sci-fi TV show where the robots are clearly made out of cardboard boxes painted silver. (That’s a compliment, I swear.)
1406 Meridian Place NW
4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths
All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy Compass, 202-386-6330