Good Deal or Not? Historic Federal Home Edition


This home is located at 1606 33rd Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Historic Federal with a contemporary flair and sun, sun, sun! Beamed living room addition with skylights overlooks professionally landscaped garden. Elegant library with French windows can be used as third bedroom. Close to Wisconsin Ave shops and transportation, in enclave of other early homes.”

More info found here and a virtual tour found here.

Since I walked around Georgetown a bit I thought it’d be interesting to feature one their old homes for sale. Man, this is a cool one. Check out the virtual tour, it is one of the most unusual I’ve seen. I think it looks pretty sweet but am curious why it has been on the market so long (182 days). What do you think of the home itself? $739,000 sound reasonable?

46 Comment

  • not a very convenient layout and would definetly need some updating. but for those people that love historic buidings and all that comes along with it, this might work for them.

  • Wow… huge kitchen, love the cabinets and countertops. The bathrooms are to die for, especially the shower curtain’s placement in the 2nd bath. This is way underpriced… I would say it sells for 863,417 or 871,734.

  • @Triple Nickel


  • ugh. There is nothing original to that historic building except the front facade, the brick floor, and no a/c. Well, it says there’s a/c, but then why the window unit?

  • Reasonable? No.
    Does it look like a pepto-bismol bottle exploded inside? Yes.

  • THe ceilings seem low but maybe that’s the camera perspective. DOM is somewhat high but a lot of good stuff is sitting on the market now….I think ultimately buyers are asking what else they can get for 739…there’s been a lot of really good stuff on the GDON’s for that price and much less. Georgetown has kind of become a place where people who previously had never left Texas think is the place to go….possibly a good deal for someone who is in love with the idea of Georgetown but DC has a lot more good hoods now to compete with that.

  • Wow, I wish this one would’ve been on the market back when I was looking for a tiny rowhouse in Georgetown with NO FRONT DOOR.

  • Yeah where is the front door…I see a little door lamp peeking out over the side walk…and if thats the case, how do you move your furniture in?

  • Ha! “Professionally landscaped” garden? Just because you paid someone to do it doesn’t make it professional.

  • You cannot do laundry while cooking or you need to try real hard not to drop it on the stove and watch it burst into flames.

  • Central AC = hot upper bedrooms. I wave a window-rattler in my bedroom even though I have “central” air.

  • and it is tiny and the layout is weird. You could get a nicer and more usable and larger space for this amount of money, easily.

    and yeah, where’s the door??

  • my parents actually looked at this place a few months ago. The entrance and kitchen are basically underground, it’s hard for a normal-sized person to do laundry in the kitchen, and the whole place felt very dated, and not in a “cool, I like how you’ve kept the historical details” kind of way. Also because it’s an interior rowhouse, there are no windows on the sides and the backyard feels really claustrophobic. Not much you can do about that, though.

  • Come on people, don’t you recognize this house from St. Elmo’s Fire?! I don’t think it actually was in the movie, but still reminiscent of Demi Moore’s pink Georgetown abode!

    ANYWHO, this house sold for $503K back in 2003 per, and it appears that the owner has done NOTHING except put in some stainless steel appliances, and they want a $236K profit after living there for 6 years??? $650K is a fair price.

  • You know what really grinds my gears? The photo tours on Every picture is half a megabyte. On my overloaded crappy work internet connection, it can take 10 or 15 seconds for each one to load, if it even finishes without crapping out.

    Is there some reason they can’t use normal JPEG compression, of the sort that’s been available for about, oh, TWENTY YEARS now, to make these pictures 1/10 this size with no perceptible difference in quality?

    Thank you. Have a great weekend.

  • Oh, and now that I’ve managed to look at some of the pictures.

    Nice range… for 1972. If they put that in themselves, they must have gotten it from a thrift store. That “digital” clock (you know, the kind with the numbers printed on a wheel) sure brings back some childhood memories.

    AND I’M OLD!!

  • You’d have to be a tiny little pocket-person not to feel claustrophobic in that house. Nothing against pocket-people, of course.

    Agree that the aesthetic is out-of-place, since the property is not located in California in 1975. Can’t speak to the dealishness of it, since I don’t know that area. Given that people have been known to spend a mil on Manhattan efficiencies, I suppose anything’s possible.

  • it looks like it should be a houseboat. if it WERE a houseboat, that’d be cool. otherwise, not so much.

  • Oh… my… god. I’m sorry to keep posting but I didn’t notice the caption before.

    “The kitchen has upscale appliances, generous prep space, and a brick floor.”

    Well, when compared to, say, a shanty in the west bank, I suppose that is accurate. But in Washington, DC I am pretty sure that a 30+ year old Jenn Air, a sears all-in-one washer/dryer that you can’t actually get to, and apparently no dishwasher is considered “upscale” by, well, anyone.

    I can’t argue with the brick floor though. It is indeed brick.

  • All I can say is WTF.

  • I love this description from the home tour. good work Realtor!

    “The entrance to the home is on the home has space for a home office or could be used as a dining room.”

  • @Angry Parakeet: Your a/c system is not balanced properly or just plain broke. I’ve never heard of anyone with central also running a window unit. Well, until now.

  • I just had to look at the tour again. Wow there really isn’t a front door at first I thought you steped down to get to the front door but no I think there is only a back door. Once you arein you can either go up to the dining room or down even farther to the kitchen? How do you get to the toilet? Do you walk though the shower? It really looks like you do from the pic. Someone with some money could make this a nice place and fix the layout and hopefully update it. I would be surprised if someone purchased this for more than 550-600k.

  • Again, I think these little g-town houses were originally slave quarters for the larger manor houses. Someone tell me I’m wrong or right please.

  • I think you walk down to get to the front door, because there appears to be an interior shot of the front door hidden in that picture of the office chair and tiny desk. And, holy dentist office waiting room furniture batman!

    I second everything Jamie said about the ridiculously large .jpgs. Realtors are, by and large, horrible.

    And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, you could get a much nicer, bigger place, that is updated well, in this same neighborhood, for more money.

    Still, I wish I had more hands. So I could give this place FOUR THUMBS DOWN.

  • If you can afford 800K would you rather live in Gtown or Columbia Heights/Petworth given that you get a much bigger, better place at the latter ?

  • Would this be considered a “pop-under”?

  • @Jamie Having a window shaker in addition to central ac is very common, especially in DC. Often times it is because the system or ductwork is undersized or bad static pressure, oe even just poor insulation. Angry Parakeet might want to look at electronic zoning or a mini ductless split system for the upstairs if its that off, but definitley have an ac company take a look at it.

  • there is a front door, it is below grade. you can see the break in the fence in the photo of the front.

    @jamie i too have a window unit along with my central air. old rowhouses are not well insulated so upper floors are often very warm unless you freeze the first floor. window units let you concentrate the cooling and save money.

  • @Anon 2:59, you ask that like the choice is obvious. For $800K I’d pick the Hill, but given the choice between G’town and Columbia Heights/Petworth and even given my well known not-so-fondness-for G’town, I’m picking the smaller place in G’town.

    It doesn’t make any sense to make comparisons like that b/c someone interested in G’town is looking for something very different than what they’d find in CH/Petworth (and probably vice versa).

  • i dont really want to advocate violence, but whoever their interior designer was, should be shot.

    call it a mercy killing.

  • anon 2:59:
    thankfully peoples all have different tastes and desires for a neighborhood.
    there are advantages and disadvantages to living on each side of the park.

  • yes, the kitchen and bathrooms are horrible, and the layout is kind of weird, but i have to admit: i kind of like it.
    i would probably ask for a lot less, given the needed upgrades.

  • Glad to see I’m not the only person feeling kind of cranky today — is it the weather? These comments are hilarious, I almost feel sorry for the poor little pathetic house! That said, for $800K I would buy something in Mt. P.

  • PoP, to answer your original question, part of why it’s been on the market 182 days is, it spent 165 days at $795,000 and $769,900. I guess some people will pay just about anything to have a drunken Georgetown freshman pee on the front of their house.

  • I should say something positive, too: that house is steps from Patisserie Poupon and Bonaparte — two places that are great if you can to them when the doors open. But $700K buys a lot of crepes.

  • Mark, what’s worse — 700K for a drunk g-town freshman peeing on your yard or 250K for nightly neighborhood drunks peeing on your yard, sleeping in it, and then coming back the next night? Sorry, but I live the latter — the former actually sounds more attractive right now.

  • I don’t want to pick nits, but the drunken Georgetown freshman would be peeing *directly on you house* not in your yard. Obviously every neighborhood has differences. My point was actually that just because a better class of people are pee on you doesn’t mean your property’s worth more.

    (I can’t find a source for it, but I understand that Benjamin Franklin — one of our greatest early urbanists — experimented with a primitive battery called a Leyden jar specifically to prevent drunks from a nearby tavern from peeing on his wall).

  • ha! i bought a home in 1999 in g-town, just like that. i paid 235 and sold it for almost 600 in 2002. it’s now going for 750. and there are bids.

    i hated it because of the drunk college kids, people f*cking in my alley, tourists thinking it was a ‘walk through’ if i left my front door open. oh, and i couldn’t stand my wife who insisted that we buy a place in GEORGETOWN. we’re divorced because of this whole house purchase thing, in addition to the fact that she was simply a horrible lebanese person….. no offense against lebanese people. she’s just a bad egg….

    cecil place by the harbor. look it up. i’m now in NE DC and couldn’t be happier.

  • The kitchen has a *brick* floor? Of all the places for brick…that sounds like a bitch to keep clean.

  • hmmm… thinking about it a bit,i might be wrong but i think all the houses in dc i’ve been in that have original basement kitchens all had brick floors. anyone else notice that? is that a thing?

  • Back in the day, kitchen were lined with brick to prevent fires from overtaking the house. Heck, even galleys on large naval ships with lined with ‘firebrick’ for the same reason.

  • the comments for this place are too funny. Having said that I just cannot understand why people would pay upwards of $700k for this dump. I do not want to brush my teeth on a sink that has separate hot and cold taps – not cool. The stove is form the 70! and electric?? who cooks in electric anyway? I am not sure I can fit my body into that shower! no way, keep my digs in NE hands down.

  • Not that I like the place – hayl no – but there are some clear hints in the skylight fenestration and light fixtures that the addition at the rear may have been designed by world famous, Georgetown-based architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. Most definitely a long time ago. Re: the skylights, long, narrow windows with frames painted white; re: the light fixtures, check out the little white tube down-light, and the recessed fixtures in that addition. All could have been spec’ed by Jacobsen. And he has been known for doing small jobs in Georgetown for friends. Just a thought.

    Here’s a link to something quite spectacular by Jacobsen, located in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, designed for a longtime friend of his who lives in Georgetown, and whose house has kitchen and baths designed (as a little favor) by Jacobsen. Similarities are interesting.

  • I am dying, reading this right now. I remember seeing this virtual tour a few months ago while sitting at work. I often sit and dream of moving the family back to DC, so I look at real estate. I laughed at this house then, and I am laughing at it now.

    I will say that I feel bad for the seller/agent. These comments sure aren’t helping their cause. That said, someone will come along, see this for it is, buy it for a fair price and hopefully redo it completely. That, or some investor will buy it, rent it to students and watch it slowly be destroyed.

  • there is indeed a dishwasher, and this place is kinda cool–like living on a boat. a place for everything and everything in its place. most of those little rowhouses in GT don’t have enough room to swing a cat. i have been inside many, and i remember this one place that had a fireplace in the “living room.” problem was, if you were sitting in the couch opposite the fireplace, you couldn’t have had a fire without frying your kneecaps.

    these were built for a time when people didn’t have all the stuff we have now, and the people who first lived in these places probably were dock workers. they were not spaces for the rich, fat, or pretentious.

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