Wendy and I do a lot of Open Housing that focuses on a particular "quadrant" of Old Town, but this week we ventured outside of our usual Sunday stomping grounds. For those not familiar, Old Town is divided on the intersection of King and Washington Street into four quadrants. Though not officially recognized on street names like they are in DC, the names for the quadrants are the same -- Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, and Northwest.
We tend to focus our Open Houses on the Southeast and Northeast quadrants since these areas tend to have the oldest homes, but there are quite a few great places that can be found in the western quadrants (like this Victorian on a picturesque street and the grand home complete with a home theater we previously wrote about).
Last weekend Wendy and I saw a listing for a cool little Victorian just off of King Street and only about five blocks from the metro. We had never been in the homes in this block, but it looked to be a great place so we decided to drop by. Boy are we glad we did.
The home is a wood frame, three bedroom, two and a half bath house built in 1880. The exterior has been treated wonderfully and original Victorian architectural details have been retained throughout. Everything from the spindles on the balcony and corbels under the eaves, to the three color paint scheme and intricate window pediments are indicitative of current and previous owners who have cared for this home's details.
The front door is set back slightly under the small balcony overhang, and the depth and unexpected lines of the home add a significant amount of curb appeal and visual interest. The door itself is crowned with a beautiful stained glass transom window, and beautiful wood surround. I really wish our house had some interesting elements like these, rather than just a flat front box.
When you enter the home you are greeted by a fairly wide hallway with a beautiful staircase with original newel posts, railing, and spindles, perfect for holiday decorating as Wendy would point out. Even on very narrow homes I much prefer this configuration to the prospect of walking directly into the home's living room.
To the left of the entry hall, as is very typical with this age of home, there is a front parlor...
...and a secondary rear parlor. This home has the front configured as a living room with the second playing the role of a dining room. (In fact, from these angles, the double parlor/hallway configuration looks nearly identical to our home.)
Beyond the dining room is a nicely appointed and modern kitchen with a utility room and washer & dryer conveniently located in a room off to the side.
The kitchen, with its large island and plenty of doors and windows, felt open and bright, even though it wasn't a particularly large space.
One thing we noticed repeatedly in this house is that efficient use of space and storage is the name of the game. Since the home doesn't have a basement or area to easily stash any and all extras, the person who renovated the house (and it was done recently) truly maximized the space available.
The upstairs hallway was as beautiful as the staircase itself, and featured substantial baseboard molding and antique heart pine floors.
The second floor was well appointed with three true bedrooms and two full baths. The front bedroom is being used by the current owners as a family room.
Wendy's favorite feature of this room? The cute little second story balcony off the front of the house. Sure it may just be decorative, and you might need to crawl through the window to access it, but it's cool nonetheless. Here's a look at the balcony from the outside.
My favorite feature of this room? It has nothing to do with the house in this case. Although we tend not to comment on personal belongings, this is so unusual it deserves a mention. Check out the cat "pod" for this home's feline family member. I bet Mel would think he died and went to heaven if Santa delivered one of these bad boys come Christmas. I wonder if it conveys?
Back to the home itself, the middle bedroom although lacking any significant architectural interest, was spacious enough to house a double bed as well as a small working desk.
One thing that I noticed that seemed a little bit odd was the substantial baseboard molding throughout the house, but the very small and minimal crown details. They were all nice, and nicely done, but it seemed just a little bit out of balance, but that's just my opinion.
The master bedroom had many of the same original details and was also relatively spacious...
...and featured two closets and an updated en suite bathroom with a steam shower and rain shower head. I can tell the people who renovated the bathroom put a lot of money into the project. Beyond the shower the floors are heated and it has built-in audio in the ceiling. Those are the sorts of details I notice.
One unexpected element was the second story deck and stairway access to the back yard. I'm not sure I'd leave the stairs down to the yard there, but being able to walk out of the master bedroom to a small deck on the side of the house is very appealing.
Moving outside to the ground level, there's a charming patio/outdoor entertaining space. Man, I wish our brick was this level! Another bonus for city living is that behind the gate is reserved parking for the home, which (in our book anyway) makes up a bit for the lackluster view of the rear of the firehouse and the commercial building beyond.
I would be remiss if I didn't touch on one of my favorite things to check out in homes all around Old Town, the view from the second story windows looking across the street. In my book a house is only as good as it's view of other homes, and this house doesn't disappoint. Ok, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but I think you get the idea.
In all this is a very nice house that is quite spacious for it's 1,700 square feet. The original details are wonderful, but there's still plenty of room for small improvements to make this little home a true gem. Not surprisingly, between our visit last Sunday and today's post, just a short five days later, the home is already under contract. I guess it seemed like a pretty good house to more than just us.
And now for our game...
Would You Trade?
Alex: I like the house a lot, but it's missing several key features to garner a trade. First, there's no basement or area where I could easily setup a wood shop. This significantly limits my ability to work on the house or have a good home for all of my tools. Second, I just feel like it is a little too done and that anything I'd be taking out to change someone else had already paid good money to put in. So my answer on a trade is a "no." That being said, this is definitely a house we would consider if we were shopping for our first home again and trying to move into Old Town. The place has so many great details, and it is very functional from a flow and floor plan perspective that I could see living there. Perhaps a basement could be dug out for wood shop purposes?
Wendy: Although I wouldn't trade our home for this one largely due to its smaller size and lack of basement and first floor family room, if we were to rewind time to the point in our lives that we were searching for our first home, then yes, I would definitely purchase it. At this point we've invested too much blood, sweat and tears in our current house to trade for something that isn't in a better location or substantially larger than what we currently have. But that being said, this home has a lot going for it. I really like this property's first floor laundry room, the amazing curb appeal, three nice size bedrooms, and of course the "Christmas staircase."
For those of you who are newer readers, our game of "Would You Trade?" is based on the ridiculous notion that we would have the opportunity to trade our house for the Open Housing house straight up, where price is not an issue. Sometimes the result is obvious, sometimes not so obvious, but usually it is based almost entirely in the ridiculous. I hope you enjoy.
If you'd like to see additional details, they are available on the home's official listing page.
Interested in reading about other interesting homes for sale? Want to offer your take on "would you trade"? Check out the Open Housing section of Old Town Home.
Photo Credits: Prudential PenFed Realty Realtors and listing agent, Dolly Riegert, where MRIS is noted.