City girl meets suburb girl and lives happily ever after in this oh-so-big 1 BR, 1 BA Cleveland Park condo, complete with den and dining room. Photography freaks and literature lovers alike will find themselves at home.
Tired of confines of a city apartment, but not yet ready for a leap to the more sprawling suburbs, Heather Rowe and her partner Britt Cocanour compromised on a spacious Cleveland Park condo conducive to cooking and baking.
Heather: Britt and I were not seriously looking when we found this house. We were on our way to McLean Gardens to look at a place there when Britt said, “There are always places listed in this building on Connecticut, let’s go check it out.” We walked down the hallway and she opened the door and I literally gasped. We weren’t really ready to buy, but then we discussed it and had our realtor come back with us. We decided on a whim to put a bid in. We got really lucky. The person who owned this place had already bought another place and they were ready to go. To make a long story short, we were in by December 30.
I call this a compromise because my partner really wanted to buy a house and move to the suburbs and I am a city girl. We loved living our previous apartment but it was too small. I think she thought all apartments and condos were that size. We were both pleasantly surprised when we saw the high ceilings and lots of space in here. We both love the place, so I think we will stay a while.
[In the kitchen] I like to cook so I have a million cook books. Britt does not like to cook, but she is a very good baker. It works out very well. Britt is very detail-oriented — she likes to follow a plan. I’m a little bit more laid back, a little bit more spontaneous. I don’t like to bake because it’s too much of an exact science. You have to have one cup of flower and you can’t go over — she likes that. Cooking to me is a little more creative, you can just throw in this and throw in that and see how it works. It all works out very well for our friends when they come over.
[In the living room] Decorating is another compromise. I like modern design a lot more than Britt. Fortunately, we both like antiques. We have a mix of contemporary Pottery Barn stuff and antiques. Neither of us would like it if it was all Pottery Barn. These [auditorium] seats are from an old school auditorium that they tore down when they built the new convention center. We were at Good Wood looking for something completely different and found these and just loved them.
I once took a photography class and I like to dabble in it every now and then. I did this set above the auditorium seats and the black and whites on the other wall. I like to photograph things that are a little more abstract, like that one of the ropes lying in the bottom of the boat. I tried to take it from a little different perspective, make it not look so obvious. I’ve had some good opportunities to go to some really unique places and photograph things. It’s definitely a hobby but if I had my druthers I would like to make it more permanent.
Britt is a prolific reader. When we were on vacation she read about five books in one week. I like to read but I can’t read as quickly as she does. So when we moved in we had all these books and no space to put them. Lined on this wall were boxes of books and we just weren’t able to find anything to put them in. It wasn’t until some time in December of last year that we found this piece. It’s not even a bookshelf — it’s actually a kitchen hutch from an old apartment in Adams Morgan. Feeling like this is a home was pretty quick, but feeling like we had it all figured out wasn’t until we got rid of the boxes and put the books up.
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You’ll fall in love at first sight in Crestwood with this 3 BR, 3 BA ranch and join this GWM couple in the great gay migration north (of Dupont). Swim in the pool, soak in the hot tub, and exercise your green thumb in the garden.
Just one glance was enough for Doug Barker and Sam Kilpatrick to know they had found their new house. Turning that house into a home, however, was no walk in the park. But even if they waffle on the kitchen, they have a home full of memories reflected on their walls.
Sam: I first saw this house while I was driving home from work. I had never been in this neighborhood — I thought I could never afford any of the houses in here. I drove by this one and it had a “for sale” sign on it. I said, “That’s our house.” We both walked in and immediately fell in love — it was the right space and the right choice. And this was before there were gay people here. Since then it’s sort of become Dupont North. There are gay couples on almost every block now.
Doug: This house was built in 1951 but it still has some elements from the 1940s like the archways in the dinning room. We’ve really created a sanctuary here for ourselves. On weekends you feel like you’re on vacation. We have the pool, the hot tub, a garden and we’re right across from Rock Creek Park.
[In the living room] I love plants. I love making things grow. I’ve always just had an affinity for the natural world. I think gardening holds all the lessons of life. You fertilize it, water it and it grows. In the winter it doesn’t take that much time to take care of all the plants — a couple hours a week. But in the spring, summer and fall when things are actively growing just watering the potted plants outdoors is a twenty-minute ordeal every morning. We spend the better part of the weekend with the plants. It is a total labor of love, it’s not work at all. It’s great fun and the effect is fabulous. You get privacy and beautiful textures, colors and flowers. We also have an herb garden, which is great because Sam likes to cook.
Sam: [In the kitchen] I’d like to have a new kitchen but this one is still very functional. Everything is spaced well and it is easy to work in. The kitchen is mostly original so it fits the house. A lot of people would love to have this kitchen — I’d love to give it them.
Doug: I’m torn because sometimes you want what you don’t have. In this particular case, Sam wants a more modern kitchen because he cooks a lot. I want to give it to him, but on the other hand I love the look of the original kitchen. It’s a period piece. It works well with the house.
[In the hallway] This is the original doorbell and it is very fancy. It has its own little light, the bells are like wind chimes, and it even has its own special spot. It’s still kind of fun and we will definitely keep it because it speaks to the period of the home.
[In the den] A good friend of ours recommended this idea of painting foot wide alternating stripes and boy they just turned out perfect. It really makes it feel fun in here. What is interesting about it is that the stripes are the same color — just an alternating flat and semi gloss, back and forth. It makes a much different effect than you would ever think. It almost doesn’t even look like the same color — it is a really great effect.
[In the bedroom] Those pictures are from a friend of Sam’s…
Sam: …who passed away. He gave those to me before he died. All the artwork in the house has a story from different parts of our lives. We don’t go out hunting for art very often.
Doug: We don’t go hunting for many things at all. We almost never go shopping — most of the stuff in the house came to us through a meaningful relationship or a trip we took. For the most part the house and its furnishings are very eclectic because it represents all these different relationships. The nice thing about that is that everything here can be viewed with significance and meaning. I can’t look anywhere around the house and not think of loved ones from both of our lives.
Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by Todd Franson
Get this one hot off the grill in Adams Morgan! 1 BR 1 BA condo is central to everything, open to entertaining, welcoming for big holiday family gatherings, and home to a cat living its tenth life.
A longtime Baltimore native, realtor and consultant David Shott became a Washingtonian when his company relocated him. Making the move to Adams Morgan was easy. The hard part was convincing his family he had found a new home. But they came around in time for the holidays.
DAVID: I moved in here a year and three months ago. One of the reasons I chose this building was the neighborhood. I park my car on Friday and it sits there till Monday morning. I walk everywhere. I go to the local gym, work out and walk home.
[In the kitchen] I do a lot of cooking and I love to entertain. I have a lot of friends stop over periodically and I’ll invite them in for a drink or two. I don’t have a problem with that. I got into cooking back in Baltimore, where my ex and I owned a restaurant. We were involved with that for seven years, so I popped in the kitchen every so often to help them out and that’s where it started. Cooking is kind of a hobby for me. My friends come over and we try cooking different things. I had a fire in the kitchen here once — we were cooking lamb in the oven and the rosemary was too close to the top and it caught on fire. Then the smoke detectors went off — it was pretty alarming for the whole building.
[In the living room] Back in Baltimore I had a very traditional house and when I moved in here I wanted to swing to the other side and do a little bit of the contemporary stuff. My style is an eclectic contemporary with a mixture of some homey things, like the [stuffed] kitty under the table. It is something that my mom gave me because I have always been around animals. Cats are low maintenance so that was sort of a joke gift for me when I moved in here. It always draws a lot of attention when I have guests over.
This TV is one of my newest additions. It was a four-week project. I thought you could drill through the wall, connect it to the outlet, hang it and that would be it. There was no way. I have surround sound and I didn’t think about that when I bought it. I needed someone in here that was able to hook it up the proper way.
I painted the ceilings this dark color. Normally it’s just cement with a silver vent. I thought I would warm it up by painting it a flat dark color. Burgundy is one of my favorite colors — it’s nice and warm.
[In the master bathroom] The walls are the same color as the ceiling in the living room. The towels are all monogrammed. My friends always tease me for that. I think it looks nice and it makes a statement. The glass shower wall is great. The only downfall is that it is not meant for two people.
[In the bedroom] I actually got this bed at Bloomingdales. It’s Polo Ralph Lauren leather and it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I like leather — it’s low maintenance. If you spill something on it you can just wipe it clean with leather cleaner. The three photos above the bed are from a local artist in D.C. A friend of mine bought them for me. Then I have pictures of my parents. I don’t know if that is the most appropriate spot — next to my bed — but it is a place where the frame fit.
[After the move] I was trying to bridge the gap between Baltimore and D.C. It was really hard to do that because my family lives in Baltimore. Now, they’re coming here more often. It’s not just my mom and father visiting either — my whole family is coming to visit now. Christmas was here this year for the first time. Everyone came to my house and we had a Christmas tree out on the patio. They recognize that this is where my home is going to be.
Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail email@example.com. To see more photographs from this week’s featured home, visit us online at www.metroweekly.com/home.
Photography by Todd Franson
Ride the development wave along U Street, with this modern 3BR, 2BA townhouse, where wonderful walk-in closets, a watchful gnome, and do-it-yourself creativity combine style with comfort.
After a year in Manhattan, Mike Watson was more than ready to move into a bigger space. The small business owner soon found his way back to D.C. and a picture perfect house with room to spare for shoes.
Mike: I lived in D.C. after graduating from college and loved it, but I also wanted the experience of living in New York. So I had the opportunity, and lived in Manhattan for a year. I just didn’t like living there. It’s a great place to play and party, but as far as living there it’s intense. The cost of living is extremely different, although D.C. is catching up very quickly. Essentially, I was living in an apartment the size of this bedroom and it was $1,800 a month. It was crazy.
It just happened that I was looking online for a place in D.C. saw a picture advertising this particular project. Having combed the market at that point I thought why not. This area at that point and time, which was three years ago, was completely different. It was a little bit on the shady side. I decided to take a chance on it so I meet with the architect. He’s a great guy and we have actually become friends. The house was exactly what I would have picked out if I had gone through the steps of doing it myself. We have similar taste, which is very modern, clean, and simple.
[In the walk-in closet] This is what every closet in America should look like. This is about the size of my first apartment in Manhattan. I have a little thing with shoes. I’ve never counted how many pairs I have but I have a lot. My favorite is the old school Adidas. It goes well with my lifestyle. I don’t dress up because of the line of work that I’m in — I own the TCBY on P Street. I did the dress up thing right after college and now my life has changed a lot. But even though the Adidas are my favorite I still like to rotate what shoes I wear. You never want to wear one shoe too much.
[In the living room] I actually painted this painting. You watch Trading Spaces and they seem to make everything look so easy so I figured why not? A lot of people don’t believe I actually did it. It’s one of a few I have done now. Maybe I am not the most creative person but I take a lot inspiration from things that I see. If I see something that I like I will interpret it or recreate it for myself.
This set up is all new. When I moved in it was very different — I picked out furniture that looked good but wasn’t necessarily comfortable. As you live in a space, you start to realize more and more what you are going to use it for. After a year I took everything out and redid it. That included taking out the couch and putting in the sectional sofa, which is perfect for watching movies on the plasma screen.
[In the dining room] These chairs were actually in the junkyard. There were about thirty of them that were in the D.C. dump. A friend of mine salvaged them. What’s funny is Pottery Barn sells them for about $350 a piece. The biggest thing for me is the aesthetic of it — how is it going to look with everything else? You don’t have to go all out and have everything high end. That piece over there is Ikea but when you mix it well with everything else you don’t necessarily realize where it is from.
[In the backyard] Originally it was all grass back here, which looked nice but the reality is you have to cut it. So I replaced it with a rock garden instead. I put in the hot tub and combined that with the deck. The gnome is just a buddy of mine that hangs out in the backyard and watches over everything and makes sure everybody is playing fair. He’s just good fun.
To see more photographs from this week’s home, visit Environs at www.metroweekly.com. If you have a home or apartment that you’d like us to consider featuring in Environs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.