Renovated Building at M and NJ Ave, NW Finished and For Rent

The house we’ve been watching getting renovated at 301 M Street, NW is finished and for rent. There are two craigslist ads for The Clara

First a one bedroom for $2100:

With 570 well-organized sq. ft. and 9.5 foot ceilings, this sunny apartment is pleasant and filled with amenities. Its open kitchen is completely new, with granite counters, stainless steel appliances and all-wood cabinets, cleanly designed for good cooking and entertaining. The apartment has original heart-of-pine flooring, good closet space, well-thought out storage shelving, washer/dryer, fully modern CAT 5 , central air-conditioning..

Inside, its grand, original windows with built-in shutters and elegant wood trim show off a fine view of the US Capitol. Outside, the vista is dazzling. This apartment comes with a huge, private deck of 220 sq. ft, just waiting for you to preside over memorable outdoor entertaining. On a highly visible corner, this historic building has a spectacular exterior and resident-friendly landscaping. Admiring nearby neighbors consider it the local “gold standard” for successful restoration.

Second is a two bedroom for $3900 [photos at the bottom of linked page]:

This apartment has all the interior space and exterior landscape of a two-story, high Victorian house. The layout offers superior entertaining space on the main level and flexible private space on the 70′ lower level. Two master bedroom suites separated by a multi-purpose middle room will easily support
•one household needing two bedrooms, or
•two separate households sharing the apartment, or
•one household using one of the bedrooms as a home office.

Admiring nearby residents call the CLARA the local “gold standard” for successful restoration because of its spectacular exterior, beautiful landscaping and plenitude of amenities. Its excellent features include: (See attached photos)

•11′ high ceilings
• 50′ vista from living room through dining room to kitchen
• Grand living room, with gas fireplace and original mantelpiece
• A windowed bay just right for intimate dinners
• Gorgeous mahogany throughout the main floor, including spectacular mahogany pocket doors between living and dining rooms
• Beautiful, original heart-of-pine flooring
• Huge, deepset windows with built-in shutters
• Spacious dining/party room
• Powder room and guest coat closet on main floor
• Sparkling new kitchen with granite countertops, brushed nickel/ stainless steel appliances, solid wood cabinetry, domed chandelier
• Two spacious, very sunny master bedrooms
• Each master bedroom has its own master bathroom with
granite-topped vanities. One bathroom has double sink bowls and glassed-in shower; the other has a single sink bowl, tub/shower; and hot towel rack
• Five large closets
• Built-in bookcases
• A multipurpose room — use as library, office, game or media room
• Generous outside patio areas – even space to garden in
• Fully modern CAT 5 wiring for IT needs

How do you think the reno turned out?

18 Comment

  • $2,100 for a 570 square foot 1 bedroom at M and 3rd? That’s a joke, right?

  • This is a great looking building and I wish more developers took the time to do a nice job and preserve old details.

    But they are not going to get those rents at that intersection. I wish it were otherwise because it would encourage more thoughtful restoration – but it’s not.

    • By the way POP I am still getting “you are posting comments too quickly” and that was the first comment I’ve made in a week.

  • I’ve walked by this renovation a number of times and have been interested to see what the final product is going to look like. I’m going to take a look at the open house tomorrow.

    The English basement studios on the 400 block of M St. are renting for approximately $1,800 a month, so the 1 bedroom is a reasonable price I guess. The $3,900 price tag for the two bedroom is completely ridiculous though. He is going to be competing with two beautiful new apartment buildings 1 block away with great amenities (Yale West and Meridian). Two bedrooms at these buildings are being advertised for $3,200-$3,500. The quoted walk score of 97 is complete bullshit. There isn’t anything within .25 miles of this rental. True walk score should be under 90.

    Given the competition from two of the better Class A buildings in the city just a block away going for $3,200, I think the owner will be lucky to get $2,700.

    • I’m pretty sure there is still a safeway on 5th street, and restaurants, and a hardware store, and the metro is 3 blocks?…. Not sure what more you need to walk to.

    • Living in a “Class A” building isn’t for everyone. That is FO SHO. I work in a class A office and have no desire to step into an elevator every time i come home or need my car.

  • Lots of angry people for a Friday! Everyone calling BS. I’ll just say it is beautiful and I can’t wait for the new cafe around the block to go it (the old Hoagie House).

  • Fully modern CAT 5 wiring? Haha! What is this? 2005?

  • My husband and I are the restorers of the Clara (named after our first tenant).
    First I’d like to express my appreciation to the Prince of Petworth and to the many neighbors, friends and, yes, street corner buddies who have supported us through the two years we have been working on the Clara’s restoration. It was a lengthy process both because we wanted to do it really right (and an 1872 house has many surprises – most of them bone-chilling and very costly) and not least because one of our contractors delayed us for nine months without ever producing any product, but unfortunately with a most considerable amount of our money). So it is with both relief and satisfaction that we are at the finish line.

    Let me tell you quickly that you missed our third apartment! It’s probably had the most interest of all, so I’ll just put the info in for your readers to consider: it’s a 1325 sq. ft one bedroom plus office, and it rents for $3200. apartment takes up the entire second floor of the CLARA, and then some. It is spacious, well laid-out, and has excellent entertainment flow. An additional room on the first floor can serve well either as an inviting bedroom or as an elegant office. It has its own powder room and a dedicated separate entrance, which make for plenty of privacy . Special features of this apartment include:

    • 10′ high ceilings, original crown molding and plaster medallions
    • Original heart-of-pine pegged flooring
    • Lovely bay, perfect for candlelit-dining
    • A party-friendly open kitchen with granite island and countertops
    • Brand-new stainless steel appliances
    • Handsome, solid wood cabinetry
    • Granite-topped, double-sink bathroom vanity on second floor
    • Stained glass and elegant copper amenities in first floor powderroom
    • Brand-new, in-apartment washer, drier
    • Lots of natural light through huge, deep-set windows
    • Original mantelpiece in living room
    • Gas fireplace in second floor bedroom
    • Closets on both floors
    • Romantic window seat with storage below
    • CAT 5 wiring for cable and phone
    • Fine view of US Capitol

    Now onto the factors involved in pricing. The big high-rise lofts have their own advantages, with quite different attractions than those offered by a well-restored Victorian rowhouse. Our building is memorable because of careful attention to amenities that you will never see in a loft – mahogany pocket doors with silver plated pulls, gorgeous crown molding and plaster medallions, original heart-of-pine pegged flooring, original fireplace mantels, beautiful folding shutters that fold into deep casement windows are a few of the beautiful things we have to offer. At least as important is the history that has been lived there. We have tracked down at least two important Civil War figures who lived at the Clara – one was a member of Lincoln’s personal guard, who was present for Lincoln’s inauguration, happened to be at Ford’s Theatre when Lincoln was shot, and helped carry Lincoln out of the theatre, and was in the Honor Guard that took Lincoln’s casket back to Illinois. “Nuff said for history. Amenities are hard to price, but we worked hard to make everything that is new in the building worthy of what is old in the building, and that attention to detail costs more, that’s for sure Let me just say that we are looking for ways to increase the range and quality of potential tenants, and we intend to be flexible wherever we can afford to do so. We aren’t professional landlords – the Clara is our single real estate investment – entered into only because I used to drive past the building when it was in its old, depressing state and wondered if we could afford to bring it back to life. I hope you will agree that we have done so.

    • Dear Susan Meehan,

      Thanks for taking the time and coming to explain not only your renovation process and also your pricing process. Putting your place on PoP is an adventure and open to many types of comments, as you may already know.

      First, congratulations to you on the restoration of your beautiful home. Old homes can be a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of surprises but hopefully worth it in the end because there is a magnificence that is missing from many of the newer or modern constructions. I love that you kept many of the original details, so definitely hats off to you and your husband. A big process, for sure.

      As for the pricing, there are a lot of concerned commenters about the pricing of the rental market in DC because rents seem high. Others will say it’s what the market will bear. Both are right. Part of living in an urban setting are high rents that are short on space (look at any great city around the world). Basic economics – supply and demand. Best of luck with your property.

    • Thanks for explanation and good luck with the rentals! It sounds like you put a lot of care into the renovation and did it well, which doesn’t seem to be standard. Hopefully you don’t have too many more surprises and the extra time and attention to detail pays off in the long run.

      I think that initially the prices seem very high for the area (though that block is really beautiful) but they could be about market rate if the place does have that wow factor and uniqueness that it sounds like it does. One suggestion though – I felt like the photographs of the place weren’t amazing and didn’t really match what the place sounds like. Obviously once people see it in person they get the full experience, but others may just browse over it on CL and decide not to go to the open house, assuming that its a regular place with a high price tag. Might be worth it to hire a professional photographer if you haven’t done so and maybe create a non-CL posting with higher res pics, just since it may be a smaller market of people that would be actually able to afford this place.

      Anyways, just my two cents and good luck with everything. It would be interesting to hear more about the renovation process and challenges/unique things if you wanted to share.

  • The house is very beautifully done…now the bad stuff. I walked/rode the bus by the house almost every day for two years.

    -you will be living basically on a freeway entrance ramp because of the New York Ave entrance to 395 right across the street
    -I hope you like taking the 96 bus to Union Station to get anywhere, because Shaw Metro and Union Station are 8/9 blocks away
    -there is no grocery store anywhere nearby. The Giant is closed, you will have to walk through Sursum Corda to go to the Safeway by the NoMa Station
    -there is a guy who basically lives outside the house begging for money from cars every day
    -the house’s backyard is basically a church that gets very busy on Sundays

    • Ok, I realized I was forgetting about Mt. Vernon Square and that Safeway, but those are not areas I would walk at night.

  • Susan:

    Can we see some pictures of the inside?

  • I live across the street and love the job you have done with this building! Great work and attention to detail! Looking forward to having new neighbors on our block when you rent it out – good luck!

  • Is owner (and commenter above) Susan Meehan (and her husband Bob?) the same Susan Meehan who has been protesting the liquor license of Hank’s Oyster Bar on 17th Street for the last 7 years as a member of one of those alcohol protest groups of only 6 people and which has currently forced chef-owner Jamie Leeds to close half of her outdoor patio and reduce operating hours? (If so, her husband Bob is also a Dupont Circle ANC commissioner.)

    Can’t wait until more amenities — restaurants, bars, etc. — continue opening in the area. You only have to be a property owner (not an actual resident) to protest their licenses.

    If this is the same Susan Meehan, be VERY afraid!

  • Suzan,

    Can you please update us as the units rent. Thanks.

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