Environs

by Chord Bezerra
Published on December 25, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

Photography by Todd Franson

Amenities are made to be used, so luxuriate in the Jacuzzi, admire the period renovations, and lounge at the grand piano in this 5BR, 6 1/2 BA Columbia Heights townhouse where the more is always the merrier.

Making a five-story house feel cozy may have seemed daunting at first for real estate agent Brandon Green. Three roommates, a grand piano, and lots of Argentine art work later, things started to feel a little more like home.

Brandon: I moved in here a year ago. I have three roommates. I'm a real estate agent and I came across this house just being out and about in the field. This house was built around 1895, and it was originally one gigantic house like it is now. Then some time around World War II they cut it up for the soldiers that were in Washington, as they did with a lot of these Victorians in Columbia Heights, to make them into rooming houses. In the 1960s, as I understand, the house was converted into five apartments. When the previous owners bought it twelve years ago they reconverted it into one house and did all the major structural repairs. Everything you see here they did over the last ten years. Now it's mine and I have my own ideas.



[In the kitchen] Apparently, the cabinets are original -- everything else has been duplicated to look period. A lot of the woodwork in the house is original and a lot of it was replicated. You will see there are several different kinds of woods. I don't know exactly how they renovated, but I think only a certain amount of the wood was salvageable, so they had to recreate a lot of it.


[In the front yard] Having a secure gate around the house is really nice. It's been problematic on occasion, though. Once, I was sitting in my office and the neighbor from across the street called me and said, " Are you okay?" I said, " Yeah, why?" He said, "Because the fire people are about to break down your door." So I walk upstairs and open the front door and as I'm opening it there are three firemen with a battering ram on the heave of a heave-ho about to take out my front door. Apparently somebody had called and said that someone was dying at my address. I don't know if it was a trick or what -- it was crazy.

[In the living room] I bought that piano five years ago. I was living in a little studio apartment and I had very little money. Instead of thinking, "Perhaps I should use the money for food," I bought a piano. It made me starve for a month because I had no more money. But it's a great piano, an Arthur Jordan, built in the 1920s. I slept on a floor for a year, but I had a piano.



[In the master bedroom] These are actually kind of fun. I bought them from an artist in Argentina. I like artwork that tells a story of some sort. This artwork is a little unusual for what I usually get. I like contemporary narratives. I think what attracted me here was the portrayal of passion and sexuality in the Latin culture. The artist was also a really cool woman. I walked into her shop and I was staring at these. She had several others that were much more revealing but when my mother comes over I don't know if I want that hanging in my room. So we got to talking and she actually invited me back to her house. I met her mother, went to lunch with her husband. We actually stay in decent touch. I'm going back in February, so I'll see her again.



[In the master bath] I love the bathroom. Every place I have lived before had very small, nasty bathrooms. So having a big bathroom with a lot of space, a sauna and a Jacuzzi tub was awesome. That's the thing about this house, we use every corner of it, all the features. I know a lot of people who have wonderfully large houses and they just don't use the space or the amenities. I definitely wanted to have a house where it wasn't too big, but was big enough to allow for extra people. It is a well-used house, always full of people.

Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com.


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