- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2002

In 1870, Washington was experiencing post-Civil War reconstruction along with the rest of the nation, and the first two black congressmen (from Mississippi and South Carolina) took their seats in the House of Representatives.

A row of Federal-style town homes was built along Fifth Street NW in what is now called "Old City No. 2." Built before the advent of automobiles, the end unit of this row of town homes at 1618 Fifth St. NW also included a carriage house behind the main house. Three generations of one family owned the town home before the current owner.

The town home and the carriage home are part of a unique compound, fully fenced and surrounding a private courtyard and now on the market for $995,000. For the past 17 years, the owner has cherished the quiet of living in the carriage house far back from the street, meticulously maintaining his home and the town home at the front of the property.

The central courtyard features garden beds, a brick wall, a brick patio for dining under the stars, and plenty of space for lounge chairs and entertaining friends. The courtyard area has high walls for privacy and quiet. An adjacent driveway allows for two cars to be parked off the street.

Both houses have been renovated through the years and have little of their original materials, but the row house does include a pressed tin ceiling in the foyer that has been in place since 1870. Hardwood flooring has been installed in all the rooms of the main house. Just off the foyer is a powder room with a partial brick wall that adds interest to the room, and a utility/storage closet is nearby.

To the left of the foyer is a combination living and dining room with a brick wall on one end with an arched entrance to the galley-style kitchen. On the opposite side of the foyer is a guest bedroom with a walk-in closet, tall windows overlooking the street and a gas-burning fireplace set into a brick wall.

Upstairs, the master bedroom includes three closets, a private full bath and a separate den or sitting room. Across the staircase is a second bedroom with a wall of closets and a private full bath. Laundry equipment, conveniently on the bedroom level, is concealed inside a closet.

The lower level of this row house has a separate entrance and has been renovated for use as a rental apartment. This apartment has a full-size kitchen in the front and a central living/dining room with a brick wall and a fireplace that will include an insert to increase heat output. Off the living room is a large full bath. The apartment also includes a bedroom with a closet.

At the back of the property is the carriage house, which features a huge picture window at the front that once served as the entrance to the building for the carriages. Four layers of brick constitute the exterior of this building, creating an extremely soundproof and well-insulated home.

Inside, a mirrored powder room and a coat closet have been built off the foyer, which leads to the open main entertaining rooms. At one end of this large space is a sunken living room, which has a stone wall at one end with a fireplace, built-in storage for firewood, and built-in shelving for stereo equipment and books.

A few steps up but open to the living room is the dining room, which has a wall of glass shelves on one end and a crystal chandelier overhead. Both rooms are bathed in light from the former carriage door.

Off the dining room is the galley-style kitchen, which has ceramic tile counters and a door at one end leading to the utility/storage room and the conveniently located laundry room.

An open staircase with wide wood rails and an enormous skylight overhead leads to the upper level of the carriage house. The first bedroom includes a wall of closets and a private full bath.

The master bedroom, a dramatic room with an exposed brick wall at one end and track lighting, includes French doors to a small wrought-iron balcony overlooking the courtyard. Two more windows overlook the courtyard, and closets behind wooden shutter doors line two walls. A private full bath is off one corner of the room.

The owner has enjoyed owning a private oasis in the heart of the city, a compound that future owners can fill with family or choose to rent to others for the income. Old City No. 2 is part of a rejuvenated neighborhood near the new convention center and Howard University.

Residents of this community live within four blocks of an elementary school, a junior high and a high school, and can even walk to Howard and Georgetown University Law School, as well.


Address: 1618 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Community: Old City No. 2

Age: Built 1870

Price: $995,000

Size: About 1,400 finished square feet in carriage house; about 1,550 finished square feet in main house; about 700 finished square feet in basement apartment; all on lot of 3,372 square feet.

Taxes: $835 in 2001.

Exterior features: Fenced compound with two homes, each Federal-style town homes of brick and siding; off-street parking for two cars.

Interior features: Main house has foyer entrance, living/dining room, galley-style kitchen, first-floor bedroom with fireplace and walk-in closet, powder room. Each of two upper-level bedrooms has a private bath; master bedroom has separate sitting area. Carriage house has sunken living room with fireplace, raised dining room, powder room, each of two upper-level bedrooms has private full bath. Basement apartment has kitchen, living/dining area with fireplace, bedroom and full bath.

Amenities: Fully fenced courtyard between homes with brick patio, garden beds, space for dining and entertaining, hardwood floors, gas heat and hot water, central air conditioning.

Close by: Convenient to Howard University and downtown; walking distance to all three public schools

Schools: Scott Montgomery Elementary, Shaw Junior High, Dunbar High

Open house: By appointment.

Contact: Realtor Andrew Greenspan of Long & Foster at 301/907-7600.

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