- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

The Shaw neighborhood in Northwest Washington, once a vital business and entertainment district as well as a residential community, was one of the hardest-hit parts of the city during the 1968 riots.

Today, it is one of many D.C. neighborhoods undergoing rapid revitalization. From the new Convention Center area and Logan Circle on the western end of the neighborhood to the eastern end of the community along New Jersey Avenue, Shaw’s once-dilapidated but architecturally interesting homes are being transformed into renovated owner-occupied residences.

The home at 1603 New Jersey Ave. NW, a brick Victorian-style row house built in 1909, has been gutted and renovated this year and placed on the market for $415,000. Previously, this four-level building housed three families, but it now has been returned to its original function as a single-family home.

The construction of two Metro stations within walking distance of this block of New Jersey Avenue has sparked a number of renovation projects along the neighboring streets, including two additional homes in the 1600 block. The Shaw-Howard University Green Line Metro station, about five blocks from this home, is already open; the New York Avenue station, a new Red Line stop, is under construction.

The brick Victorian at 1603 New Jersey Ave. NW has been completely freshened with new paint on the exterior, and it has a deep front yard, which sets the house back from the street. A low wrought-iron fence surrounds the lawn.

In the back of the house, a small fenced space could be converted to an outdoor patio, if desired. This space currently functions as a storage area and provides access to a rear alley.

Gleaming hardwood flooring, high ceilings and elegant lighting fixtures define the interior of this home, which has been accented with distinctive yet neutral paint with contrasting large baseboards and trim. The entire first level of the home has an open floor plan, with a generously sized foyer leading into the open living and dining area. At the front of the home is a deep box bay window, which lets sunlight flood into the house from three sets of windows. Smooth ceilings overhead with recessed lighting contrast with the deep-greenish-gray walls to provide a sophisticated setting.

The upgraded kitchen opens onto the living and dining area and features contemporary-style cherry-wood cabinets and new black appliances. Sleek black tile tops the counters. Over the breakfast bar, which separates the kitchen and living area, are two unusual pale green pendant lights, providing work light for the chef and adding drama to the room.

Beyond the kitchen is a glass door to the rear yard, which has a transom window above for extra daylight. A tiny hall leads to a door to the unfinished lower level, which has plenty of additional storage space.

Beyond the kitchen are a laundry room and an upgraded powder room, each with ceramic tile flooring. The powder room has a large window and a pedestal sink, plus walls painted to complement the terra cotta floor.

Hardwood stairs lead from the foyer to the second level, which also has hardwood flooring in the hallway.

This level has two bedrooms, each with neutral wall-to-wall carpeting and freshly painted walls of darker beige contrasting with cream-colored trim. The full hall bath features a pedestal sink, terra cotta tile flooring and terra cotta tile walls, a large window and a deep niche, which can be used for linens or a plant.

The front bedroom on this level, a large, L-shaped space, has a box bay window that echoes the one below and provides a charming sitting area. All the bedrooms have tall windows that nearly reach from the floor to the ceiling.

The third-level master suite, reached from carpeted stairs, includes a loft area with a dramatic glass block wall, which allows for both light and privacy. A deep niche at one end of this open space can function as an entertainment center or be filled with plants, books or artwork. The master bedroom at the front of the house includes a private balcony accessible through a glass door.

The white-painted stone balcony includes supports for screens and could be easily converted to a screened porch, if desired. Views of the treetops and Victorian homes nearby can be enjoyed from the balcony and from inside the bedroom, which also has a ceiling fan and a walk-in closet. The owners upgraded the master bath with ceramic tile flooring, two separate pedestal sinks and a new whirlpool tub.

For urban living, 1603 New Jersey Ave. NW provides a sophisticated backdrop for entertaining and relaxing, plus a location within easy walking of transportation and offices on Capitol Hill. Those with a little more stamina might want to stroll farther to the MCI Center, museums on the Mall and the shops and restaurants filling the nearby Penn Quarter neighborhood.

For those buyers looking for the next upscale neighborhood in downtown Washington, Shaw may be just the right move.

More info:

Address: 1603 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Community: Shaw

Age: Built 1909, completely renovated 2003

Price: $415,000

Size: 1,362 finished square feet on lot of 714 square feet

Taxes: $6,557 in 2003

Exterior features: Brick Victorian-style row house, deep front yard with low wrought-iron fence; small fenced rear yard for storage.

Interior features: Three bedrooms; two full baths; powder room; hardwood flooring on main level; open living and dining room; upscale open kitchen with cherrywood cabinets, all new appliances; laundry room with new full-size washer and dryer, ceramic tile flooring; hardwood stairs to second level with full bath and two bedrooms; third-level master suite; recessed lighting; wall-to-wall carpeting.

Amenities: Private balcony off master suite; master bath with whirlpool tub, ceramic tile flooring, two pedestal sinks; gas forced-air heat; central air conditioning.

Close by: Five blocks to Shaw Metro Station and to the Metro station under construction at New York and Florida avenues; easy access to Union Station, Capitol Hill and downtown Washington

Open house: Sunday, Oct. 12from 1 to 4 p.m.

Contact: Associate Broker Helen Dodson of Long & Foster Real Estate at 202/364-5200, Ext. 2955

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