Good Deal or Not? “GRAND DAME” Edition (Reader Request)


This home is located at 1409 Kennedy Street, NW:

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The flier says:


You can find more info here and a virtual tour here.

Wow, I think the inside is pretty killer. I’m not a huge fan of the big columns in the front though. Any fans of the columns? Kinda reminds me a bit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But like I said the inside is pretty sweet. Even though the price has come down about $100k it’s been on the market over 200 days. Think the new price of $849,140 is reasonable?

49 Comment

  • The columns out front don’t bother me nearly as much as the enormous concrete slabs between the original porch and the front yard (or what’s left of it). What’s the purpose? It just looks so ridiculously overbuilt, like the porch has its own porch.

    • ah

      Well, “3 porches”!

      I don’t get it either . . . it would seem better to have a front yard of some sort than two large bonus porches. Was it so they could get a porch up on the third floor? Did they decide the “professional” landscaping for the back yard was just too expensive, and cement just takes a quick brush?

  • I agree with Anon that the concrete slabs are the biggest crime, although the columns are pretty bad too. The inside is absolutely lovely, though, but I think if I were interested in the house I would find out how much it would cost to fix the front and then subtract that from my offer.

  • Who needs a house that big? 10 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms (with even more on the lower level)? It would make for a great frat house or commune, I guess…..

  • Even though it looks a little tacky, if you drive a lot and don’t mind being a little off the beaten path, that’s a lot of house for the money. Love the porches and the big backyard.

    captcha: “rashes lost”

  • and did they paint the original brown brick, bright red and the mortar white?? they really did quite a job on what looks to have been a really lovely house.

  • Could really use some big plastic urns or maybe some lions to class it up.

  • Missing handrail on the steps

  • Despite the naysayers, I’ll say it’s a pretty good deal. (Of course, the obvious evidence is that it hasn’t sold for 200 days, so it’s not that great a deal …) That’s a whole lot of house, and the renovation, while straight out of the box, looks good. It is what it is. Allowing that there aren’t hidden structural/mechanical issues, this is the kind of place that people think of when they respond to house porn with “you can get twice the house for half the money in [insert east of the park neighborhood here].” I also like that location — just a few blocks off the park.

  • For that price, the kitchen appears pretty poorly designed. The layout and choices of appliances are not all that cook-friendly. Tiny sink wedged in a corner between the dishwasher and the stove? Two microwaves? Most cooks would rather have two ovens. And a real vent above the stove. I’ve noticed a lot of renovations seem to put in fancy appliances and countertops without much consideration for actual design. (Although Whirlpool isn’t even all that fancy.)

  • They ruined the brick work by painting it. The fireplaces all look TERRIBLE!

  • Lions would be good. Or they could grow some cotton in front to round out the plantation vibe.

  • I’m not a fan of ALL CAPS realtors’ descriptions; but it seems strangely appropriate when paired with that photo.


  • Nothing wrong with the front of that house that some serious demolition wouldn’t solve. A complete disaster. The designer should be ashamed.

  • Vonstallin

    The size is GINORMOUS !!! lol
    I like the house over all…and of course id change a few things.., but I do think its alot of house for the money. id love this house and garage. The only plus and minus is that right on kenedy st. The church events will clog parking, and when they have the stage shows at the baron that also will clog parking and traffic.

  • I know that whoever put those monstrosities on the front thought that a house that size needed to be “more” on the front but no. Many buyers decide to tour a house by just driving by and what they did to the house screams that whoever did this must have really f**ked up the inside which is wrong. Much of the inside is good and the kitchen isn’t horrible. Lovely floors, original stained glass windows I would guess, nice trim works, lots of fireplaces, nice yard, car garage, nice number of bedrooms. (is it just me or does this look like a flipper special with that just so decorating and no sense that anyone lives there?)

    I don’t think that price is all that bad – though obviously it hasn’t sold – but the front, oh my, all I would see is something I would pay a shit-load to get rid of.

  • THAT BRICK! Why, why did they do that? It looked nice the way it was. The house was based on, and may even be, a Sears model home called the Maganolia which was built between 1915-1920. Those crazy porches were a feature.

  • Sorry, I meant to say The Magnolia, not Maganolia. I’m typing too fast.

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding was the first thing I thought.

  • The front would make a great set for the musical “Show Boat.”

  • This 2004 photo shows that that horrendous pillar-and-porch monstrosity was there pre-renovation. The renovator just didn’t spend the money to tear it down.

  • A great example of the often significant gap between money and taste. Why anyone would think that the monster columns and concrete pads would add any value to this property is beyond me. If they had left the front of it alone so it was in keeping with its neighbors, the house would have sold already.
    They should seriously consider investing in a teardown of that front and then putting it back on the market.
    I would love to hear from realtors who showed or attempted to show this home to their clients. I wonder how many propsective buyers took one look at the front and just said “forget it.”

  • Actually, looking at the 2004 photos, it does not look that bad. What really throws the place now is those huge concrete pads, which don’t appear to be in the 2004 version.

    • Yes they do. The original porch was enclosed to make an additional room, and another porch added beyond it. The renovators opened the original porch back up and took the railing down from the second porch, but left it otherwise intact.

  • We toured that house before it was rebought and renovated as a possible shared/group house investment with a friend. Imagine the parties you could have! The ugly porch columns support a really nice balcony/deck on the top floor. It truly was an odd duck – a grand dame with original stained glass panels (that were sagging) woodwork (that was warped in places) three floors of possible bedrooms and tiny narrow staircase. It was in need of a lot of love and money and had been abandoned in the middle of a “re-muddle” – it looks much better now. Seems to me they were asking the same price they are asking for now, so either they got a good deal or they are taking a bath after sinking in a lot of money into the kitchen and bath. The kind of place you fall in love with, and then it leaves you broke and brokenhearted.

  • Good Lord, that’s atrocious. The neighbors must be thrilled as comps sink daily.

  • You guys are being way to critical. There is no way the neighbors would rather have the mess that was there in ’06 than this. Frankly the only thing that stands out to me are the concrete slabs everything else looks fine. All you have to do is put up a row of small shrubs or a professionally done garden and it will look fine.

    A 10 Bedroom house, completely renovated in a great area with a 3 car garage under $1M. . . and you guys think this is a bad deal???

    People are gonna look back on properties like this in 5 years and say “I should have bought”

    • “People are gonna look back on properties like this in 5 years and say ‘I should have bought’”.
      –Yeah, because that worked out so well over the past five years.

  • See here for aerial photos, lot line maps and the 2004 photo: http//

    Looks like all the goofy parts are actual historic parts. Well, maybe the porch’s porch was put on after original construction. Is there a basement room underneath there. That would explain alot.

  • If the Kingdom of Zamunda was looking for an Ambassador’s Residence in DC, they would buy this house.

  • The value of this house, whatever it is, and maybe its biggest problem, has to be the size. I have seen worse renovations. My biggest problem with this house is its proximity to its neighbors. It is rare these days that anyone would want a house this big. And if they are looking for this size of house, they would probably want a bigger yard and more privacy. So the population of potential buyers is quite small. If I had been renovating this house, I would have also put a lot more time (thinking) and money into the kitchen. I would also have changed out some of the mantels which are all painted the same fire engine red. Painting the exterior brick was a mistake because this now makes the exterior brick a maintence issue. This house is obviously only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Since there are not that many people in the market for a house of this size, I think the selling price is going to be adversely effected by the size. It is “functionally obsolecent” as the appraisers would say.

    • Mark – you should drive around the older neighborhoods of bethesda or arlington if you don’t think people want houses this size or care about privacy / lot setbacks. the thing to do in the expensive suburbs today is to build literally as many possible square feet as is legally permissible on the lot regardless of aesthetics or good sense. i’m serious – the infill mcmansions in expensive older suburbs are RIDICULOUS in this way.

  • It’s kind of bizarre looking indeed but it seems like it’s not a bad deal, perhaps just a bit niche.

  • On a columnar-foot-per-dollar basis, this is a great deal. there are even columns on the garage!

    And, I think its cool that it comes with an underground missile silo under the front lawn.

  • It’s like they plunked “Tara” into DC.

  • This is what I call Long Island Revival. Looks like the kind of mega mansions that are built even today in outer parts of Brooklyn and Queens. Who knew they had things like this in tasteful DC?

  • It sold 2 years ago for 650,000. It will sell in the 600’s (between 600 and 699). They are asking way too much.

  • Tara- as someone who lives a block or so away, where three and four bedroom houses sell in the 600s- I hope your prediction is wrong.

    This house looks pretty hideous, but the location and size are fantastic.

  • Tacky, tacky, tacky! A huge house in which all the side windows look a the neighbors’ houses which are like 2 feet away. There are reasons this house has been on the market for 200 days, and price is probably not one of those reasons.

  • Can someone perhaps enlighten me on who the target market for a 10BR/8Bath house is?

    • Fenty frat brothers who just scored lucrative government contracts, recent lottery winners, anyone with no taste and a pile of cash.

  • My wife and I saw it in a open house just for the heck of it. The house was crazy big, rooms everywhere. I don’t know what you’d do with all those rooms. It is probably an ok price but the place would be a pain to finish. The basement was a maze of odd finished rooms.

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