Good Deal or Not? “Worthy of Architectural Digest” Edition

by Prince Of Petworth February 1, 2010 at 1:00 pm 38 Comments


This condo is located at 1605 7th Street, NW:

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“Worthy of Architectural Digest, the quality construction and material of this 3 bed/ 3 bath, 2700 SF duplex condo is enchanting. Rehabilitated in 2006 by HRY Design (featured on HGTV, DIY TV). The high-grade finishes – European cabinetry/granite kitchen – marble bathrooms – maple floors -travertine tiling – and much more. Convenient location to Metro, shopping, restaurants. Must See To Believe!”

You can find more info and photos here.

Holy cow, I had no idea the units inside this building were this high end. What do you think of the unit itself? That’s one wild bathroom. Does $749,000 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/3 bath duplex?

  • Joe

    I think falls victim to “being the nicest house of the block” syndrome. it is very nice, but why no kitchen island? I think it is just too much for the area and the condo fee is high to boot. This should be west of 16th st in my opinion.

  • New2CH

    If half the space wasn’t below ground, given the amount of space, I’d say fair deal … but for 750k in Shaw, I’d at least want some light …

  • All I see is a lot of awkward space and a high condo fee.

  • MS

    NOT a good deal. Over $700 a month in condo fees (which generally goes up 6-10% a year btw). Roughly, that condo fee equates to $125k in purchasing power if you applied that to your mortgage. Normally with condos you get gyms, roof decks, pools, etc.— other services that justify at least a portion of the cost. For those that argue that you don’t have to worry about repairs and that is what the condo fee pays for, consider this: most people own their condos two inches into the wall. Drywall is your responsibility, flooring, ceiling, etc. The ONLY thing that may go wrong is the roof. So, you pay $10k a year in condo fees for what? That is insane. The space isn’t even that nice. Maybe I’m too practical- but I wouldn’t pay more than $600k for this place!

    • Apparently condos in your world don’t have exterior walls, brick to repoint, common areas, insurance policies, security systems, trash removal, or water. There are a lot of expenses that add up.

      Having said that, I wouldn’t buy this unit.

  • It is a surprise that the place is so high end inside. I go by it regularly and the block is dirty, loud, and not going to improve for a looong time. Maybe it’s aimed at a son/daughter of royalty attending Howard (al la Eddie Murphy “Coming to America”?) Note the many animal pelts!

  • New2CH

    Wow, just saw that condo fee, AND no parking? And I don’t like the flooring and general layout, either. No wonder it’s been on the market so long. They may need to drop the price another 100k.

  • Victoria

    It’s a bargain when you consider that the bathroom doubles as a mausoleum.

  • For me, this building has always been extremely eye-catching… due to the spacing disasters in the freehand painted letters over the door. I’m inclined to think it’s supposed to be “The Lafayette” but I’m not so sure…

  • Sully

    I love this building but that is too expensive with the condo fee. I looked at a place here awhile back for 399K and it was 2 bed 2 bath, so this should be no more than 550K. With that condo fee I would not go above 500 for it.

  • PT Varnum

    Laf Ayette?

  • The letter spacing looks like there was an erroneous extra “F”, then painted over. Very similar to the free-form lettering on the “PARKVIEW” condos on Irving.

  • Me

    that building was full of artists, now it’s full of people who can afford art, so I guess nothing has changed.

    • blah blah

      you might consider that no change, but thats seems a huge difference to me.
      i remember when there were artists here. i went to a party there about 11 years ago.
      they were trying to call that are NoMa. and everyone that was a guest groaned. still, there was some week effort to make it an arts district that never panned out. obviously.

      i always love how disheveled the sign looked. to each their own i guess.

  • Realtor

    I’ll give you $350,000 for it in five years.

  • PetworthRes

    Hope someone that lives in this building is reading this post. Your home-made sign makes your building look really sketch. I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t even consider buying a unit in your building because they can’t get past the sign!

  • Eric in Ledroiit


    Again all the ridiculous comments on condo fees. Condo fees are not set by some rapacious third party. They are assessed by the owners of a building to provide for the collective maintenance and services of that building. If they are too high, you can join the condo board and lobby your neighbors to reduce maintenance, services, or reserves to lower your fees.

    Read this or any of the thousands of other similar explanations on the web: http://condopundit.com/wordpress/?p=6

    Again, you as owners set the condo fees. As a homeowner I can tell you that the cost of maintaining a home without condo fees is quite high and incredibly variable.

    • SDJ

      Is the cost of maintaining a home REALLY 8K a year?

      Come on. Let’s be honest.

      • The insurance policy alone may be close to 8k.

      • Eric in Ledroiit


        and if the cost of maintaining the condo is less than the condo fees, they’ll be reduced.

        where do people think the condo fees go? they either go to pay for maintenance or they get deposited in a reserve account. how hard is this to understand?

    • I’m with you on the condo fees, not on the “gorgeous”. :)

  • Caro

    I live one block away, walk by here all the time, and was never entirely sure it was fully inhabited, let alone that this was what’s inside! Unless they’re going for the “awh, how sad that this pretty old building is dilapidated now” look, maybe it’s time to fix up the outside… starting with the sign.

  • Yeah definitely needs some work on the curb appeal. I’ve been in a studio in this building and it was nowhere close to having such high-end finishes. I think they may have overdone the renovations considering the building.

    Having said that let me say that this is one of the few PoP GDoN bathrooms that I can say I really love! Definitely not builder-grade in style or materials!

  • PFL

    really not feeling this one at all…

  • PFL

    really not feeling this one

  • K St.

    The really high condo fees for not too much in amenities or included utils makes me wonder why. Are they anticipating some sort of major problem? Have they recently had some sort of major problem?

    I would want to know those answers before I thought about buying there…

  • Just J

    If that unit is 2700 sq ft; 700/month is pretty reasonable. 2700 SF is about the size of four 1-bedroom apartments, so $175 a month (700/4) is pretty reasonable in this market. The maintenance cost of the building is going to be the same regardless of whether there are 4 units or 1.

    That being said, its not a good deal. Unit is nice but for $750K you get a lot more for the money in city vista or one the surrounding complexes. New construction, parking, grocery store within walking distance, restaurants, metro, curb appeal, lots of good comps, the list goes on and on

  • Just saying

    If that’s worthy of Architectural Digest, cancel my subscription!!!

  • I think it’s a great looking space. 2700 SF and three bedrooms is huge. And the renovation looks top notch. But it might be a little pricey for that location. The most likely buyer for a three bedroom unit is a family with kids and query whether they would want to live in an apartment in that area when you could probably get a rowhouse (with a yard and parking) for around the same price.

  • Mary

    I am trying to get my husband to go for this place. I love it and it is in one of the most convenient neightborhoods in DC. It is a block from the subway and walking distance to The Giant and downtown. The value is huge.

    • zillow

      no, actually it is not a huge value. and the neighborhood is still sketchy.

  • IHeartShaw

    I second that the neighborhood is quite convenient. NEVER would I have thought anything like this was in hidden inside this building! Wow, totally surprised that it’s not a halfway house…

  • history buff

    This is a great building that has been housing artists, designers, and musicians for years. In fact, this very space was where my band practiced. The location is amazing. It is one block from the metro and one block from the Giant grocery store. However, the most amazing space in the building is the top floor which consists of the whole floor plus roof deck with an insane view of the city.

  • new hampy

    i have a friend who lives in a studio in this place. it’s a really neat building, but is plagued by problem residents and major building rehab needs. i suspect that is why the condo fees are so high. buyer beware.

  • Bibliophile

    The condo fee is only high because we are putting a new roof on the place right now so it is artificially inflated. Not usually this high. And they will go back down when that project is over.

    And it is not “plagued by problem tenants” as someone said above.

    The space is jaw dropping. And the neighborhood is lovely. I live in the building and it really is a wonderful place.

    As to the area–I have never been the victim of crime (not true when I live in Adams Morgan and Eastern Market) and the amount of redevelopment meaning the value will go up.

    If you can afford this pace–it is WELL worth it.

    • Victoria

      I would worry about a condo association that has to raise fees – which is in fact, a special assessment after all – to replace the roof. Sounds like you’re not operating with sufficient reserve funds generated by ordinary fees.

    • Anonymous

      dude, don’t sweat it. some people are just haters.

  • Bibliophile

    And Fine. We can slap a coat of paint on and change the sign. It could use some love……no argument on that point


Subscribe to our mailing list