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You too can be part of the U Street scene with this upper floor 1 BR + den, 1 BA apartment overlooking D.C.’s fastest growing neighborhood. Au courant polished concrete floors and a wide-open kitchen make a splendid base of urban operations.
Randy Kerr left the suburbs for a more urban-focused lifestyle. He found just what he needed — and then some — at the new Ellington on U Street. Now he can sit and watch the world go by his window. Or, better yet, get out and join in the fun.
Randy: I moved in during July 2004. I’m the first resident in this unit, and in a brand new building. As I was moving in, they were wiping off the cabinets and sweeping up the floor.
I moved to the Northern Virginia area from the Pittsburgh area when I graduated from college. I lived in Virginia that whole time but I always wanted to live in the District. I was driving home from Eastern Market one day when I passed this place and I thought, “Well, let me check it out.” At the time I was selling my place [in Virginia] and I wanted to move into the city for a year to decide what neighborhood I’d like to buy in. So they showed me a few units here and I decided this is where I want to be.
When I first moved in, I looked at the floors, they’re polished concrete. I asked if they were going to put hardwood down, and they said, “No, this is the new thing.” I was like, “Ooh-kay.” But now I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The upkeep is easy. But they’re not very forgiving if you drop a glass or something. I’m always going to Crate and Barrel to get replacement pieces.
I love the neighborhood. Everyone seems to be melding together very nicely and that’s what I like. I like the very diverse neighborhood. It’s also very mixed straight and gay, especially this building. We all get along very nicely.
[In the kitchen] I love the oak cabinets and the granite countertops. I like to cook, as you can see from my appliances. I love to cook a Sunday dinner. I guess you could say I’m very traditional in that aspect. That’s the one day where you need to set aside some time for yourself and for me that’s cooking Sunday dinner. I may end up eating it for a few days, but at least I’ve set aside that time for mysel, to have a couple glasses of wine while I’m cooking, maybe have some friends over.
[In the den] And this is my little den. It’s smaller than I actually thought it was when I first looked at it. I really can’t have more than one person in here with me. That’s my pride and joy — a 46-gallon aquarium. It’s all live plants, and the majority of fish in there I’ve had since September 2001. I’m very proud of that.
[In the dining room] I like little intimate dinner parties so if I have five or six people I’ll pull up a chair. I love fresh flowers. I go to Eastern Market almost every weekend for my fresh vegetables and fruit and flowers.
As you can see, I’m an avid reader. I travel a lot with my job. I scour used bookstores everywhere I go. I go to Borders to buy new books and used bookstores to buy old books — I’m really running out of space. I’ve started piling books everywhere. I used them as decorations, to stack things on. I love books. I think when you have pictures and books out, you really get a feel for who that person is. I’m thinking of having some more shelves made to put in here.
[In the living room] I love to be comfortable. I just like to have my friends come in here, sit down, curl up on the couch, throw the pillows on the floor, and everybody just be themselves. It’s very hodgepodge, very eclectic. That’s what I like. Gay men take so much pride in their homes and make them showplaces. I enjoy doing that as well, but again, I want to make it so that you can live in it, not just look at it.
[In the bedroom] I don’t want a television on [in the living room]. I put in a CD and go into my living room where I can read, especially in that nook where I can see what’s going on both up and down U Street while I’m reading. Basically, I only sleep in here at night and when I come to bed I’ll watch a little television. The only thing is at night it gets a little noisy when the bars let out. That’s just part of living in the city. You get used to it and after awhile it becomes second nature.
The quality of life is a hundred times better [than the previous house]. Once I get home from work on Friday evenings I usually don’t get back into my car until Monday morning unless I go to Eastern Market. I never leave the city. I love it.
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