Champagne in the Shell by Hipchickindc

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Shortly after closing, I wrote the first installment of the Adventures of Mark and Charles. Now I understand why reality shows film entire seasons before airing them. Poor PoP has been awaiting pictures and exciting renovation updates, and here it is, a couple months later, and the dynamic duo remain at the mercy of the DC gov permitting office.

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Although the house had been gutted to the walls by one of the previous owners, there remained many truck loads of dust saturated construction debris. Original woodwork that could be salvaged was carefully tucked into a generous neighbor’s basement. The rest was carted away after many back breaking, mask-wearing hours and a bit of help from friends. The stage was thus set for the long awaited “Champagne in the Shell” party.

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By candlelight and an electric lamp plugged into the one working electrical outlet, friends and neighbors gathered, eager to see the clean shell. With champagne-filled plastic cups in tow, tours were conducted by camping lantern. Stern warnings were issued as guests narrowly missed falling through a large opening in the floor where the staircase had once existed. Mark told the story of finding a letter from the 1940’s under the linoleum. We all oohed and ahhhed at the view of the pointy Victorian rooftops and the illuminated Capitol Dome and Washington Monument as seen from the third level rear window. Continues after the jump.

Now that the gargantuan pile of jagged pieces of wood no longer consumes the main floor, a solitary toilet sits in a prominent central position. The proposed walls have been carefully drawn in tape on the sumptuous heart of pine floors, exposed after many years concealed and protected by wall-to-wall carpet. A neat pile of building materials and a new old clawfoot tub awaits its usefulness once again.

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Despite their exhaustion, Mark and Charles appear to be holding up quite well. Many guests expressed wistfully how wonderful the house is and will be. Neighbors who have been suffering through years of living near an abandoned house openly exclaimed how pleased they are to see it rescued from the brink of destruction by evil developers.

11 Comment

  • Any pics of the Capitol Dome view from 3rd floor?

  • I tried…truly I did…but my photo skills and camera are not quite up to the necessary skill for night photography.

  • nice writing!

    Anyone who likes demo, please call me!

  • Thanks, bogfrog!

    Do you have a house in need of demo? I’ve been to sledge hammer parties before 🙂

  • Suzanne, thanks again for coming to the first “Champagne in the Shell”! Mark and I enjoyed giving tours of the shell while devouring in champagne and chocolates which ended in dancing until 1:30am. Hopefully for the sequel we’ll have electricity! Great story!

  • dang! I missed the dancing.

  • Thanks Hipchick! “Champaign in the Shell” was a calm, beautiful eye of the storm as we weather the home mortgage/banking crises (we finally got our funding available 2 months after closing), permit vacuum (still waiting), clean-up (can’t breath in enough 100 year old plaster and whatever), planning (every Metropolitan Home gives an better alternative) and shopping (we developed a signal we use so we don’t bite each others head off when we find ourselves 5 hours into Home Depot- or Lowes-Hell, exhausted, hungry, eyes bugging out, stomach aching, no customer service and nothing finalized. We just look at each other and say “I’m Palin-ed” and then we know annoyance is in the red zone and it is best not to talk to each other until we get a drink).

    The neighbors –both our current Le Droit Park neighbors and new Bloomingdale neighbors came together and got along famously. Champagne and candles makes everybody come together and makes any shell seem like a palace. Next party may have to be a dry wall party or maybe a sand-the-floors party?

  • Well done Mark – so you are not ready for us to come and stay yet then? ;0) Petworth is of course the name of an English town in West Sussex – and the whole town is falling down so your house ain’t nothing special. After years of trying to be English, Madonna who has two homes here, has a last achieved her goal – single mum, three children – spot on Madge!

  • Mark looks to me you are going all the help you can get. I Will wait until the time comes and I will polish the woodwork.

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