- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2003

For the adventurous and prosperous residents of Washington’s cutting-edge neighborhoods, gambling on the future prosperity of their community represents just a small risk, one many home buyers moving into the city feel is worth taking.

Mount Vernon Square seems to be ready for the sophisticated buyers who have moved into Logan Circle and Mount Pleasant in the past. Now that construction is nearly complete on the new Convention Center, the surrounding neighborhood anticipates a resurgence of residential and commercial improvements.

Gerald Seegars, a real estate consultant with Urbane Realty LLC and Kabaka Group LLC, partnered with Salam Abdullah of Kabaka Group in purchasing the home at 512 M St. NW for one of the first renovation projects on the street.

Located just two blocks from the Convention Center and the Mount Vernon Square Metro, this Victorian row house was purchased as an empty shell and remodeled into an upscale, sophisticated home with meticulous detailing.

Mr. Seegars and Mr. Abdullah discovered that the building is part of a historic district, which means all their work had to pass two sets of inspections and adhere to certain restrictions.

“We were required to install a particular type of front door, which took us a long time to find,” Mr. Seegars says. “The door we put in is solid mahogany, which cost nearly $10,000. All the windows, which are oversized and extra tall, had to have wood frames. Just the windows on the front of the house cost almost $6,000 to install.”

Despite the extra cost and extra requirements, this project was a labor of love for Kabaka Group.

“Mr. Abdullah was the creative partner for this project, and he made sure everything was done in perfect quality,” Mr. Seegars says. “All the posts and spindles on the stairs were done by hand, and the moldings and wainscoting in all the rooms were carefully put in place. We put in three gas fireplaces, solid wood stairs on all three levels and hardwood flooring in every room.”

This home, built in 1900, includes a lower-level two-bedroom rental unit and is on the market for $849,900. The exterior includes a small garden plot inside the wrought-iron gate, a metal staircase and a metal front porch.

The owners added a brick patio to the back of the house, along with a main-level deck off the kitchen and a rooftop deck for the master suite. Brick steps and stone walls lead to the basement entry.

Inside, marble tiling was added just inside the mahogany front door to define a foyer entrance. The open living room features high ceilings, hardwood flooring and a deep bay window at the front of the house. Along one wall is a gas fireplace with a marble surround and a delicately detailed wood mantel.

Recessed lighting in this room and the rest of the house nearly eliminates the need for lamps. In the living room, along with the rest of the house, crown molding and wood trim around the doors, windows and floor add historical accuracy to the modern amenities.

Adjacent to the living room, the formal dining room features a tall window overlooking the brick patio and has a dramatic pewter-and-glass chandelier. Two arched entrances framed by columns lead into the dining room, creating an intimate setting for elegant evenings. Wainscoting has been added to the walls for additional stylishness.

Beyond the dining room, the eat-in kitchen has been remodeled to state-of-the-art sophistication, with Italian-tile flooring, granite counters, cherry cabinets with brass knobs, a gas range, upscale faucets and a built-in microwave. French doors lead to the rear deck for easy outdoor entertaining.

Nearby are a powder room and under-stairs storage. This home also has been wired with an intercom system, a stereo system, wiring for cable access and for high-speed Internet access. Other upgrades include central air conditioning, gas heat for the main building, with a heat pump for the basement, copper pipes, a new roof, all new doors and windows, and large-capacity water heaters.

Solid wood stairs lead to the second level, where the laundry room has been located for convenience. At the front of this level is the home’s second master suite, a large open room with high ceilings and a bay window overlooking the street. This bedroom has a gas fireplace, oversized windows, a walk-in closet and a private bath. The bath has cherry cabinets, marble counters, upscale ceramic-tile flooring and tub and shower surrounds, a whirlpool tub and a separate shower. Two additional bedrooms on this level share a full bath accessible from the hall. This bath also has cherry cabinets, marble counters and upscale fixtures.

The third level is devoted to a well-appointed master suite, which has a bay window overlooking the treetops and the street below, oversized windows and a gas fireplace with marble tiles. In one corner is a wet bar with a refrigerator and a granite counter. Two walk-in closets frame the entrance to the bath, which has two skylights, an Italian-tile shower and a double-size whirlpool tub with a window overlooking the city skyline.

Perhaps the best feature of the house is the rooftop deck accessible from the hall near the master suite. Panoramic views are visible from the deck, including the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and other landmarks. This deck will offer new owners the perfect location for Fourth of July fireworks or simply a place to relax high above the street.

The English basement rental unit has been renovated with as much attention to detail as the main house and includes an open living and dining space and kitchenette in the front room with a bay window at one end. The entrance to the home has a tiled foyer; the rest of the unit is fully carpeted.

New windows and new appliances have been installed, and there is a washer-dryer hookup in the laundry room. Two bedrooms and one full bath complete this apartment, which has a separate front entrance and a separate rear entrance leading to the brick patio.

Buyers of the home at 512 M St. NW will only need to bring their furniture, as every detail of this renovation project has been completed.

More Info:

Address: 512 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Community: Mount Vernon Square

Age: Built 1900, renovated 2003

Price: $849,900

Size: Approximately 4,000 finished square feet

Taxes: $2,400 in 2002

Exterior features: All-brick Victorian-style town house in historic district, solid mahogany front door, decorative metal fence and metal porch, brick patio.

Interior features: Four bedrooms; three full baths; powder room; hardwood stairs on all levels; marble-tiled foyer; living room with bay window and gas marble fireplace; formal dining room with arched entrances and columns; kitchen with stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinets, granite counters, space for table and chairs, door to deck; second master suite with gas fireplace, walk-in closet and private bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; additional two-bedroom, one-bath rental unit on lower level, which includes kitchen, laundry room and open living-dining room.

Amenities: Rooftop deck plus main-level deck; hardwood flooring; crown and chair-rail moldings; top-level master suite with wet bar, gas fireplace, bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; intercom system and stereo system throughout house; wired for high-speed Internet access.

Close by: Five-minute walk to Mount Vernon Square Metro and new Convention Center; walking distance to MCI Center, Judiciary Square courthouses; two grocery stores; restaurants and shops near Pennsylvania Avenue and in downtown Washington.

Open house: Saturday June 7 and Sunday June 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Realtor Frank Smith of RE/MAX One at 301/464-0044 or 301/237-8676

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