It's been a little while since our last Open Housing post, but that doesn't mean we haven't been out there surveying the field and checking out the local inventory of homes on the market. Oh no-sir-ree, we have been busy, just haven't seen anything worth writing about of late, well, until this weekend that is.

There's a little section of King Street (the main street in Old Town) that begins to climb a hill just after you leave the friendly confines of Old Town and head into the picturesque Rosemont neighborhood just to the west. Though the houses along King Street sit on this busier thoroughfare, a handful have the distinct advantage of being built on a hillside with a fairly significant grade behind them. Looking north from these few homes you have beautiful panoramic views of the DC skyline and the surrounding areas. It's truly one of the few "million dollar" views of the area. This past weekend, one of these homes was held open and we had to go check it out.

We've driven past this home countless times, and though it's large white neighbor home is hulking and impressive, this "smaller" brick home has always been quite appealing and lovely. The approach from the street gives you a great glimpse of the home and its relatively modest but very well maintained front yard. 

This five bedroom, four bath home is spread across four levels of living, including a partially finished basement and completely finished attic/third floor space. It was built in 1925 and has had a few small additions over the years, but the floor plan is still very much in its original form. The home actually reminds me of a miniature version of the house from Home Alone.

Entering the front door of the more than 3,000 square feet of living space, you walk directly into the home's entry foyer with its beautiful staircase.

As soon as you walk in, you can tell that this home retains the majority of its period charm and character. It's a little different than we're used to since we look primarily at homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the touches of the 1920s are quite evident. The floors are beautiful narrow oak and the windows and molding are all original. To the right is a large formal living room with one of the home's fireplaces. 

It looks like this was once two rooms and has since had its partition wall removed (evident by the beam mid-room). This room actually has an interior porch to the rear with great views of the Washington, DC.

...and a really nice sitting porch to the right out of the doors near the fireplace.

To the left is the home's entry way and on the opposite side of the house from this porch is the home's spacious  formal dining room. 

Just beyond the dining room and to the rear of the home is an informal dining area...

...and a small kitchen area.

Though the kitchen is small and tucked away, the key element of the kitchen is its view through the large bank of windows from the sink. You can actually see the Capitol Dome while doing your evening dishes. We were there during the day, but I have to believe it's a pretty spectacular view at night when the city is illuminated.

This area is an odd area that's wrapped around a small back staircase offshoot that joins with the main stair and is tucked among several small rooms. If this were our home, I'd be looking at our options to open this whole area up and make it a larger kitchen/living area, placing the dining room on the opposite side of the home near the living room.

One thing I loved about the home's staircase was its beautiful wainscoting. We're rather partial to it after installing wainscoting in our home, so I always like to see it elsewhere.

Upstairs the center of the home is taken up by the large staircase which has a great window that looks out over the stunning view of DC. From this staircase you can access this floor's three bedrooms and one full bath.

The master bedroom on this floor is quaint and has some great views from the rear windows (notice a trend?), but there's one really cool feature that I absolutely love in this room. 

Do you see the closet door near the back of the room? Inside that closet this is what you find.

Yes, an old school intercom, still wired up and possibly functional. Just beside this is a bank of switches with very old switch plates.

They're labeled for the people's rooms in the house, "Girls," "TJ," etc. I can only assume these were the owner's children at the time and the parents wanted to be able to control "lights out." I think the little things in the house, like these details, are what really bring out the home's charm over new construction.

The home's third floor offers two additional bedrooms that are very nicely sized. 

They both have small dormer windows, again with great views, and share a bathroom. You can find other great details in these rooms, like another intercom box...

...but the most striking item from this floor are obviously the panoramic views, even from such small dormer windows.

You'll have to trust us, the camera can't do it justice.

One thing about this house is the tremendous amount of storage throughout. In additional to closets and cubbies, there's a partially finished basement with storage beyond it. The basement is actually a walkout (due to the grade the house was built on) and houses an incredibly cool wood bar. When you walk down, you feel like you've been transported to a lodge. I can't help but romanticize prohibition era gatherings behind the glow of Washington DC just six miles away out the back door.

Two other very interesting features in the basement are a small storage cellar area perfect for wine (ahem, prohibition era)...

...and this little gas two burner stove, still connected to the gas line. Would you trust using it? Seems interesting. Probably good there's a fire extinguisher nearby...just in case.

They even tucked away another bathroom in the basement. If you're a Beatles fan, you'll love it. 

You know me, I'm a total sucker for old and rustic period charm in anything.

As much time as I've spent talking about the house and the view, you might think the backyard is lacking, but it's actually one of the home's true highlights. 

The yard has several tiers to it to accommodate the rather steep hill the house is on. There are a set of cement stairs with pipe railings leading down the rather steep change in elevation.

In addition to the tiers of yard, there are also a few levels of deck off of the house, each with a great view.

At the very bottom and back of the yard there's even a nicely sized koi pond.

Wendy looks at that and sees space for a narrow lap pool.

I'd also be leaving out a significant detail if I didn't mention this home's detached two car garage complete with potting shed overlooking the backyard as well as a pig weather vane. Pretty awesome as far as garages go if you ask me.

All in all, this home is pretty spectacular, but the home's view is what it truly unique. The price tag is by no means low, but the house, with all of its character and charm, is not something you see very often.

Now for our game...

Would You Trade?

Alex: Maybe?!?!...This is a really hard one for me. This house isn't in my ideal age range (too new), but it has some amazing and intact character elements. It's not in Old Town, but it has a great proximity to the metro and is still accessible to Old Town. It sits on a very busy portion of King Street that gets extremely crowded during rush hour, but it's got a stunning view. It isn't in dire need of major changes, but there are projects on every floor and around every corner. I don't know why, but I'm horribly conflicted about this "Would You Trade?" When we were walking through the house, I thought "yes." But now that I'm thinking back on it, I'm saying "No." I'm totally waffling here. Why am I so conflicted? 

Wendy: Well...I have to say I'm with Alex on this one. Completely torn! The home has amazing curb appeal, spectacular views, fantastic outdoor landscaping and entertaining potential, and sits squarely in my favorite age range. But the fact that it's on a heavily trafficked street, isn't a stone's throw to restaurants and shops that way our home is, and is in need of some serious bathroom and kitchen updates makes me feel indecisive. 

What do you think? Should we "trade" our home for this one? Would you trade your home? We're dying to get your two cents.  

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: McEnearney Associates Inc., Realtors and listing agent, Carol Cleary, where MRIS is noted in watermark.

Comments 22


1/31/2013 at 2:55 PM
Oh my!! I looooooove it. Good thing I did not go to the open house or I might have written a very large check! (Ha)
:-) It is a really beautiful home!
1/31/2013 at 3:35 PM
That's a tough one - such a beautiful house and I would love love love those views of DC. I'd rather live off a side street though, away from the constant traffic on King Street.

I moved away from DC last fall and this post really made me miss the city. Thanks for continuing to feature the gorgeous historic architecture in Old Town.
2/1/2013 at 2:09 PM
Think about the traffic... miss it now???
We agree with you. Even though our street sees pretty steady traffic, I would much rather choose a side street over King if thinking about trading.

We're so glad you enjoy these open houses, Holly, and hope that in a small way it brings Old Town to you.
Kathryn Howell Dalton
1/31/2013 at 4:10 PM
Love the tour and your perspectives! Often drive by this home and wonder about it.
Thanks, Kathryn! It's really fun to get a glimpse inside the homes you drive by, isn't it? Sometimes they're totally different than what you might imagine!
1/31/2013 at 7:23 PM
Love this Colonial Revival gem -- 1920s era is my favorite. The back garden has a ton of potential but I'd have to do something with the jarring too-contemporary decks (especially the railing). The house could be an absolute showplace with some color on the walls and your decorating style -- house and garden-wise for me it's no question I'd have to take it over yours. It sounds like the location and proximity to busy street are a big negative and far less desirable than where you live, however.

Thanks for sharing; I really enjoy your "house-hunting" adventures.
Thanks and good to hear from you! The improvements to the garden and decks you mention would really transform the back of the home. It's a gorgeous house, but it would take a lot to get it into shape (or what we consider shape), as well as maintain it. The views are absolutely priceless!
1/31/2013 at 8:18 PM
I have to say I'm a bit surprised by both your reactions to this house. I actually think that this house has some of the LEAST amount of charm from most of the homes you've featured. I agree that it is beautiful from the exterior, and has a lot of good features, but for whatever reason I really wasn't thrilled by any of the interior details. The very first interior photo had me frowning, since the front door is missing its fan-lite over the door. I also didn't like the "open concept" done in the living room with the wall removed. It's also hard to tell from the photos, but it looks like a lot of the doors upstairs were new cheapie 6 panel doors. Dunno, the whole place seems to have a 1990s feel to me.
I can't say I'm surprised by your reaction, JC, as you're usually our toughest critic. :-) Adding a fan light sure would give an element of sophistication and elegance to the front entry. There's definitely some updating that we would do, but the value on this one lies in the curb appeal and views, in our opinion.
2/3/2013 at 4:54 PM
I guess I was manily surprised that you both considered this one "trade worthy". I guess I just *REALLY* like your house (even though it may not be in the most ideal location for you guys). :)
1/31/2013 at 10:16 PM
Not even close, trade. Mike (not Sandy)
Dave and Diana
2/1/2013 at 9:01 PM
Hey "Mike-not-Sandy," I have to disagree with you on this one.

Alex and Wendy, you are in a great area, within Old Towne, and your heart and soul is in your house....which makes it a home.

No trade, not even close!! :-)

PS: Hey Mike (and Sandy)! How about dinner next weekend in Tremont (Artwalk is back!!)

Dave and Diana
2/1/2013 at 10:30 PM
Dave and Diana, (or is it Dave?) (or is it Diana?) Dinner next weekend in Treemont sounds great. But Artwalking in Feb in Cleveland ?? I'll pass. Call us.

I know I'm Mike and I know I'm not Sandy. One of you needs an identity therapist or 2.
Dave not also Diana
2/1/2013 at 11:14 PM
This is the identity therapist for Dave and Diana. How about Dante's in Little Italy?? Do you want Friday or Saturday nite?

Dave, without Diana
2/3/2013 at 1:24 PM
I love that your commenters are so familiar with each other that they're making dinner plans on your page. :)

Well, if the price range of the house is considerably higher than your own, I'd say TRADE, then SELL that place, purchase your own home back, and sit pretty with a tidy profit ;)

Otherwise, I don't think this house is quite you. In your post we don't see the list of projects, and it seems... too "done", to me. It is quite lovely, though... so I can see why you'd be torn :)
Also, there is, in my opinion, such a thing as a house that is "too big" 3000sqft?! That's absurd!
Whitney, meet our parents. They're still figuring out how this whole commenting thing works, although we give them credit for trying. :-) <shakes head in embarrassment>

I agree with you on the concept of a home being too large, especially in homes when character and charm is sacrificed for sheer square footage. We have enough to do in a house that's only 15 feet wide!
2/5/2013 at 11:49 AM
That house would be right at home in our neighborhood. The floor plan is very similar to ours and it looks like it has retained a lot of its original features. The intercom is definitely from the period, probably late '20s/early '30s at the newest, and is a very nice touch, though the master light switch panel is a little strange. The room on the second floor with the intercom was probably the original master bedroom and the room on the third floor was probably the maid's quarters. There are probably wires still inside the walls for connections to the kitchen and basement as well.

The area at the back of the house where the back staircase is looks like it might have originally been a butler's pantry.

Funny thing with the old gas stove burners. We have the exact same thing, only with three burners! They were made by Simplex. There is a gas line run to one of our third floor bedrooms (originally a maid's chamber), so we are thinking that may have originally been their location. Haven't tried to use them, but it looks like they could be restored easily.
2/11/2013 at 5:33 PM
This one would be way too big for me, though I adore the views. And if I'm going for a house of this age (and it IS my prefered age), I'd go for a Craftsman instead of a Colonial Revival.

I have one of the little two burner stoves in my basement, but mine has tall legs (placed on the floor instead of on a shelf). My grandmother had one, too. At least where I come from, they were/are used as canning stoves so you don't have to heat up the kitchen in the summer, but were probably originally intended to heat water for doing laundry. Mine was right next to the basement water taps.

I would love to restore mine.
Joan D
2/18/2013 at 5:02 AM
We lived in Rosemont in a wonderful house before moving to Old Town. Our view was the Masonic Temple (our 'night light') and we loved the neighborhood. But I would never trade. While we were just a mile + from the city dock, we almost never walked to OT during the week. When we got home from work, the last thing we wanted to do was get back in the car and it wasn't practical to walk it. Moving to OT changed our lives completely. During the long days we walk to Jones Point almost daily and even in the short days we're out almost every evening. There is near endless variety on our walks and we see new details the 500 th time we pass a house. Plus, the parades!!! We feel blessed to live in this amazing place. No ambivalence here. No trade! Joan
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