- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Buyers interested in finding the District’s next Logan Circle or Mount Pleasant, neighborhoods experiencing extensive rehabilitations of older residences, can look to LeDroit Park.

Nestled between North Capitol Street and Howard University, the town homes here enjoy a location on a hill with the utmost of city views, including the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.

According to Realtor Edward Poutier, “The values are climbing higher and higher in LeDroit Park, as individuals are fixing up these homes at a higher level of quality. As each home comes on the market, the new owners are recognizing the potential of the neighborhood and renovating their homes accordingly.”

The home at 83 W St. NW in LeDroit Park, now on the market for $649,000, is a Victorian-style brick town home with stone accents and a location on a corner lot.

Built circa 1915, this semidetached home is one of the many hundreds built in the District by Harry Wardman. A nearby home, as yet unrenovated, recently sold for $399,000 just to be gutted and rehabilitated by the new owners.

The current owners of 83 W St., Allan Pinkney and Dennis Muse, both accountants, spent three years renovating the home, doing much of the work themselves.

“When we bought the place, it had been converted into an eight-unit boarding house, but it originally had 10 bedrooms,” Mr. Pinkney says. “We started by gutting the house from one end to the other, but we tried to save what we could of original wood doors, some of the hardware and some of the lighting fixtures. We were able to save a couple of the original mantels that were coated with layers of paint which we sanded off.”

The owners started the project working with a contractor but finished it themselves. They were able to hire a friend, an expert plasterer, who added elaborate plasterwork to many of the ceilings in the Victorian style.

The main entrance, a reception area set inside a wrought-iron gate, features marble flooring, wainscoting on the walls, and a solid wood door with glass inserts.

Inside the home, most of the rooms feature the original hardwood flooring. The foyer and living room include new hardwood flooring that blends with the old. An oak staircase with a paneled wall and detailed woodwork leads to the upper levels and provides a focal point for the foyer. A powder room with crown moldings and an original solid wood door faces a coat closet tucked under the stairs.

The formal living room features two deep box bay windows that add to the living space of the room while filling it with natural light. Transom windows are found over almost every door in the house, adding to the flow of light from room to room. All 48 windows in the home are new.

Across the foyer, a wide and elegant entrance to the formal dining room can be closed with an original wood pocket door. The dining room features the original wood mantel with its detailed woodwork, and includes open shelving where the fireplace once would have been.

Wall sconces, part of the original house, flank the mantel, while overhead, elaborate plasterwork includes a ceiling medallion.

Through the years, the original detailed wood trim around the windows and doors had been replaced with modern, narrow trim pieces, but the owners returned the home to its original beauty by adding wood trim to the windows, three-piece crown moldings around all the ceilings and deep baseboard trim.

Beyond the dining room, the comfortable kitchen has been upgraded with new windows, a glass door to the wrought-iron balcony, and an expansive center-island work area and breakfast bar. Ceramic tile flooring was installed, along with tile counters, upscale cherry cabinets that include a wine rack and black Kenmore appliances.

The glass door leads to the balcony and to steps leading to a parking area that can accommodate three cars.

Along one wall are closets that include a stacking washer-and-dryer. Originally, a back staircase led from the kitchen to the upper levels, but the owners converted the space for extra closets and bathrooms.

The second level features a guest suite with two deep box bay windows, a gas fireplace surrounded by bookshelves and two closets. Nearby is a full bath, which features a double sink, maple cabinets, a glass-enclosed shower and a whirlpool tub.

The center bedroom has been converted to function as a den or study but is now furnished as a family room for relaxing with a book or watching television. The second bedroom on this level features a private wrought-iron balcony.

Hardwood flooring, Victorian-style light fixtures, transom windows and extensive plasterwork all add elegance to this level and the one above. All the rooms on the second and third floors enjoy expansive city views, including the charming rooftops of LeDroit Park nearby, with the Capitol and Washington Monument visible in the distance.

The third level has been reconfigured with two master suites. One includes a private balcony and a walk-in closet with built-in shelving. This suite includes a private full bath with a dual-sink vanity, a glass-enclosed shower and a claw-foot tub that was restored from the original house.

The second master suite includes two deep box bay windows and a wall of closets. The adjacent full bath for this suite features dramatic black marble, a double-sink vanity, a glass shower and a whirlpool tub placed under a window.

The lower level of 83 W St. features a separate, above-ground apartment with a private entrance, two bedrooms and one full bath. The apartment, which now rents for $1,100 per month, includes a modern kitchen, a separate dining area, and a washer and dryer. The apartment has separate utilities from the rest of the home except for water.

During the renovation, the owners were able to extensively insulate the home, adding dual-zone gas heat and dual-zone air conditioning. They added a large skylight at the top of the staircase that filters sunlight to all three levels of the home.

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