Sale price: $365,100. Where: Cumberland.
For the price of a three-bedroom split-level on a fifth of an acre in Rockville, this three-bedroom contemporary sits on 23 wooded acres.
You know you've become jaded about DC real estate when you find yourself saying, "Wow, this place is less than a million dollars!" But the fact is, a multi-story house in one of the District's most desirous neighborhoods can easily run into seven figures these days. In fact, it's been predicted that by 2018, a million dollars will be the average home cost in Washington, which ought to scare anyone who's looking to buy. But the most distressing aspect of a house hunt in 2015 DC is that for a million dollars, you often don't get very much. Fixer-uppers abound, multiple bathrooms are scarce, and if you're in the market for outdoor space, keep dreaming.
So when I stumbled across this (admittedly very pricey) home in Shaw, I had to share it. Yes, it's nearly a million dollars, but it really has everything you could ask for if you're in the market for a family home. It's a perfect blank slate, waiting for some creative homeowners to step in and turn it into a chic, comfortable abode.
Anna and Dan Kahoe, the owners of U Street's interiors mecca GoodWood, moved into their funky, vintage-packed carriage house in Blagden Alley about eight years ago, long before a rush of shops and restaurants invigorated the neighborhood. The property sat far back from the street and the lot was so overgrown with weeds and covered in detritus that Anna says it "looked like a Motel 6 in Guadalajara." Now, two years after bringing in S2 Development and architect Shawn Buehler of Bennett Frank McCarthy, that lot full of weeds is well on its way to becoming a small but luxurious condo building designed to delight homebuyers looking for a modern space to kit out with their eclectic wares.
Another glassy, luxury condo development? These days, they’re everywhere you turn. But 2030 8th Street at Atlantic Plumbing, the 62-unit building from JBG at the corner of Eighth and V streets, Northwest, is a standout. Designed by New York’s Morris Adjmi Architects, the project features plenty of industrial references—floor-to-ceiling, warehouse-style windows and a steel facade—as an ode to the site’s former occupant (the actual Atlantic Plumbing). A full-service concierge and party-ready rooftop don’t hurt. The price, on the other hand, is a little painful: Studios start in the $300,000s; penthouses push $2 million. 2030 Eighth St., NW; 202-792-8880.
This prewar beauty at 14th and R streets, Northwest, has had many lives: a 1920s Studebaker dealership, a homeless shelter, and now the coolest apartment complex in DC. The architecture firm Eric Colbert & Associates designed the Mission apartments to incorporate three neighboring historic rowhouses and a new addition in the rear, but the best units are the ones in the old car showroom, which have exposed-brick walls unlike any you’ve seen (and if you’ve been in the District five minutes, you’ve seen tons). These show so many layers of old paint, they look like original artwork. The rent might be more than your mortgage (a 392-foot studio goes for $2,225 a month), but one look inside and you may consider moving. 1350 R St., NW; 202-779-9172.
This article appears in our July 2015 issue of Washingtonian.
On Monday, Urban Turf reported that Washington's shortage of available homes on the market has now continued for a shocking six years. As they explained, "The benchmark of a balanced housing market is usually a six-month supply of homes on the market. The inventory of active listings for sale in the District has been below the six-month level since July 2009." In other words, there have been too few homes on the market to meet demand since the second year of the Great Recession. And it's getting worse.
The District of Columbia's Office of Revenue Analysis (DCORA) released new findings today that show how the median cost of a three-bedroom home in Washington correlates to median test scores at the new elementary school attendance zones for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), which go into effect in fall 2015. The findings are daunting for anyone in Washington who has small children or is considering starting a family. To buy a home in a zone that guarentees your child will attend a top-performing school, you'll need a budget far beyond the means of many.
In Washington, landing a Whole Foods near you can feel like winning one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets—a sign your neighborhood has arrived. The upscale chain, after all, is credited with catapulting the 14th Street corridor into a top residential choice. Could your corner of the region be next?
Thus when Whole Foods announced two new Washington-area stores in May, local reactions were predictably euphoric.
In the first location, Tysons Corner, the prospect of a 70,000-square-foot flagship was greeted as a sign that the office park/shopping mecca is on its way to becoming a place where people will actually want to live. At the second, Shaw—two blocks from Howard University—the choice was interpreted as proof that the neighborhood’s recent gentrification is no ephemeral phenomenon.
Treating a high-priced grocer as some kind of real-estate fairy godmother, though, kind of misses the point. Like all major retailers, Whole Foods relies heavily on micro-demographics and complicated algorithms to determine which places are already on the rise and primed to attract the well-educated, affluent types who fit its meticulously researched customer profile. Hype notwithstanding, the store doesn’t anoint a neighborhood—it does a more intricate version of the same math a lot of house-hunters do. And that, of course, is what makes its science so interesting.
Apparently Roberta Flack’s Hollin Hills house isn’t the only celebrity home currently up for grabs in the DC area. On Friday, a Georgetown Colonial once owned by Julia Child popped up on the market. Built in the late 1800s, the 1,364-square-foot three-bedroom frame house on Olive Street NW was home to Child and her husband twice—once in 1948, then again in 1956 after the couple’s return from France. That’s when they expanded and upgraded the home’s kitchen, and Child began giving cooking lessons to her Georgetown neighbors while researching for her debut cookbook.
The current owner is clearly banking on the property's storied past: Despite the home’s obvious disrepair—it’s being sold “as is” as a fixer-upper and the listing only includes one interior photo—and a 2015 tax assessment of $856,620, it was listed for $1.1 million. No word on the state of the kitchen.
Head to Redfin for more details on 2706 Olive Street NW.
Midcentury modern architect Charles Goodman isn’t the only big name associated with this 1951 Hollin Hills home—according to the listing, it was also once home to both poet/musician Gil Scott-Heron and iconic '70s singer Roberta Flack, who was raised in Arlington and got her start performing at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant in Capitol Hill in the late 1960s. Celeb-pedigree aside, the four-bedroom home also boasts a double-height wall of windows that overlooks the huge slate and stone patio, 30-gallon granite pool, and a koi pond.
1927 Marthas Road is listed for $869,000. Take a look inside below, then get the complete tour here.