A lot of the houses up here in Columbia Heights of this specific style spent decades as group houses i.e. communal housing for young professionals who’d watched too many episodes of “Friends” and thought having a lot of roommates was a means toward self-discovery and lifelong friendship but then quickly discovered it was mostly house meetings about the “chore list” (located on the fridge’s dry erase board) and having to nod and smile as your roommate who doesn’t have to wear a tie to work but chooses to anyway drones on about NATO while you’re trying to watch “Grey’s Anatomy.” Now that the market’s turned and these places are being sold as single family homes, most have of them have been totally renovated. Sure, maybe they’re just trying to up the price. But I like to think that in some cases, gutting the house was the only way to get out the lingering stench of cheap beer, burned Febreeze (ironing a shirt soaked in it was like bootleg dry-cleaning), and career-related desperation.
Either way, whoever gets this place is getting a real gem. Out front is a wide porch, where you can sit on a summer night and greet your neighbors with varying degrees of friendliness, depending on when they bought, i.e. how much richer-on-paper they are than you. Behind the staid brick facade, there’s a bright, modern home of clean lines; the living room, in front, is a simple open space that’s backed by the open staircase. Further on is the kitchen, which has lovely gray marble-esque paneling on the wall; no idea why, but I have a soft spot for dark walls. (I painted my own bedroom black when I was a kid.) There’s a large marble island with one of those embedded flat ranges that someone always ends up accidentally sitting on when you have a party, and then when the repair guy comes you have to be like, “yeah, I dunno what happened, it just stopped working, my friends definitely aren’t stupid enough to sit on an expensive inset range.” There’s also no face-level cabinet storage (there’s a pantry instead), which is a nice clean look that I fully support – everyone knows cabinets are only for stuff you don’t need. (My kitchen cabinets are full of one-third-full packages of pasta, packets of “taco seasoning,” and several smoke detectors that I either smashed or violently ripped the batteries out of when I was drunkenly cooking a grilled cheese at 3AM.)
Further on is the sunny family room, that opens via french doors onto an awesome back patio. perfect for taking in a sunrise, or taking detailed notes about your neighbor’s encroaching lilac to submit with your official complaint to the city. Upstairs, the room with the excellent bay window out front has been turned into a family room, which is great because if it was a bedroom, everyone would fight over it. I should also note that the open staircase has glass flooring on each level, so you get light down through the middle of the house. It’s such a cool little touch; it’s a shame that when you point it out to visitors they’re going to be like, “oh, yeah, okay” in the same tone of voice you use when the dentist shows you the “proper way” to floss. At the very top of the house is the master bedroom. It has a massive picture window that gives you a fantastic view of the neighborhood, and the master bath has one of those really awesome extra-deep soaking tubs that’s like sitting in a huge mug of hot tea or something. There’s also the requisite glass-walled marble shower with a removable showerhead, so when you’re feuding with your significant other, you can unscrew it from the wall after your morning shower and hide it in your sock drawer. And finally, out back is a small brick one-car garage, or, as it will soon be described on rental sites if Amazon really does build its HQ2 here, “a spartan – but cozy! – uninsulated junior carriage house; a steal at only $8500 a month!”
3114 18th Street NW
5 Bedrooms, 5 Baths
Photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy TTR Sotheby’s, 202-333-1212