GDoN “Mid-1700 home steeped in history” edition

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm 54 Comments


This house is located at 1222 28th Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Mid-1700 home steeped in history on the market for first time in over 50 years. Enter into a lg. living room with grand FP and hand hewn beams. Next is a den and 1/2 BA with WD. Bright TS kitchen addition with room to relax and 3 skylights. Doors to wonderful G-town garden and private walkway. Upstairs is the bedroom, office nook and full bath. Lots of storage under eaves. sold “as-is”

I have always wanted to see inside this multiple ‘House of the Day’ nominee:


You can see more photos here.

This 1 bed/1.5 bath is going for $865,000.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    $865k for a 1bed/1 ba. Woof.

  • Kingman Park

    Weird that they show the house with 2 twin beds in the only bedroom. Traditional couples only, thx.

    • dcd

      That’s most likely because a larger mattress wouldn’t make it up the stairs.

      • Kingman Park

        Sounds like a serious deal breaker to me. Unless you get a memory foam mattress.

      • Philippe Lecheval

        They make larger mattresses that are broken up into multiple pieces for just this sort of situation. It wouldn’t be that difficult.

        • textdoc

          I’ve heard of split boxsprings, but not split mattresses.
          Seems like the stairs would be workable with a mattress that comes rolled up, or a futon mattress.

          • sproc

            They have mattresses that are internally hinged/creased so that they can be folded.

          • Formerly of Capitol Hill

            Sleep Number. The “box spring” comes in pieces, and the mattress deflates.

  • Anon

    This reminds me of that house in Up! – the movie. I wouldn’t have the heart to do this, but a developer wouldn’t have to spend too much to renovate this into something that would appeal to a buyer at well over a million. (Though historic designation might put a hamper on things.)

  • bruno

    I so wish there were more small houses like this in DC. Nice place.

  • anon

    Were Lucy and Ricky living there?

  • LJ

    I always liked this house and it’s adorable, but seriously dated kitchen and interior looks dark, and out of the 19th century. I have no idea what a 1br house goes for, probably less than this, but it’s a unique one.

  • Guillermo Brown

    Pop it up!

    • bruno

      LOL. Really. Let’s put some polished chrome and glass atop that thing, people.

    • Hill Denizen

      It looks like it’s already been popped back, so might as well put a pop-up on the back portion of the house.

  • blue peter

    800k for this?! WHAT THE F?! This really is an insane place for home ownership…it just boggles the mind…absolutely INSANE!

  • anon

    I like old houses, as I seem to like living as if I’m somewhat in an earlier time, but that time for me is later than this house – 1880’s – 1920’s, when rooms were larger, and ceilings were higher, and windows bigger – making for an airer feeling than in most (not all, I know) newer construction – I’m not drawn to the dark, tiny closed in feeling of a place this old.

    And if I wanted to buy a house this small, I wouldn’t want to pay that much, no matter how nice the neighborhood is.

  • DM

    Yeah, I just don’t think I could get behind a $865k 1 bedroom sold “as-is” in a neighborhood most of DC sees as immaterial.

    • textdoc

      “in a neighborhood most of DC sees as immaterial” — Georgetown isn’t especially appealing as a neighborhood to people under 40 or so (other than students)… but it _Is_ one of D.C.’s most established neighborhoods.
      Just because most PoPville readers (myself included) don’t particularly fancy Georgetown doesn’t mean that there aren’t well-heeled buyers out there who do.

      • bruno

        Let’s toss a log on the fire and have Jack and Jackie Kennedy over for drinks.

        • Dan

          Someone’s gonna have to sit outside.

          The place screams, “rich old widow.” I think it’s awesome with a price just barely within “reason.” The cozy private rear yard does it.

          Maybe the Kennedys could have kept this as a guest house for VIP visitors.

          • Hill Denizen

            It is right around the corner for Julia Childs’s old house.

    • Anony

      LOL. Just because many popville readers prefer the up and coming areas doesn’t mean g’town is “immaterial.”

      • Philippe Lecheval

        Keep in mind these are the same people who think that Shaw is the best, most perfect neighborhood on the planet.

        • Anonymous

          True. Shaw is a sketchy craphole for the most part.

    • ChillyDC

      I was wondering how far down in the comments I’d need to go to find the Georgetown bashing. “Immaterial.” Right. I’ve lived all over the world, but have never lived in an area with such diverse and interesting neighbors. Believe it or not, Georgetown residents are not all old, white people. Anyone who deems Georgetown “immaterial” has never looked into its fascinating history, or ventured much past Wisconsin and M.

  • Eleven

    I think it will be very, very interesting to see what this ultimately sells for. It is really cute but that price is bonkers IMHO for a place without even a windowless potential baby/guest spot.

  • Anon. No. 5

    I think it would be cool to rent here for a year or two for the experience of living in such an old home. But do I want to OWN it, at this price? NOPE.

  • If I were an old single person without many material possessions this would be right up my alley. I think the price is perfectly reasonable for a 200+ year old house in that seemingly good of a condition in one of the nicest neighborhoods in America.

    • Philippe Lecheval

      You would.

  • I Dont Get It

    Did the ghost of my mother decorate that place? Snark aside it would be fun to live in a small place like that for a year or two.

  • K

    If I were a rich aging hippie I would buy this house in a heart beat. So if it comes on the market in another 30 years……and local government work gets significantly more lucrative…..I would totally buy it.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    Georgetown’s high-priced real estate market clearly reveals as a lie the notion that nobody wants to live in Georgetown anymore. That said, I’m not totally sure who the buyer of this place would be… Pied-a-terre for a rich European? A wealthy widow/widower who doesn’t want much to take care of?

    • ExWalbridgeGuy

      Nearby mansion owner who buys it as a guest house?

    • Anon

      Pied-a-terre for their kid attending Georgetown down the street.

    • DC_KT

      I was thinking it’d make a really cool Air BnB rental. Although it would run the risk of getting trashed I guess. LOL at the idea that nobody wants to live in Georgetown, also. As long as there are rich people in DC there will be Georgetown.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a dumb price. There’s zero development potential, you can’t pop this thing up or really build more on the property (probably already at maximum FAR). And it’s in dire need of a renovation.
    It’s looks like one of the re-creations from colonial Jamestown settlement. And remember, most people at Jamestown died.

  • shaw

    That thing is *adorable*! I mean, needs a total renovation and would be a million times better with an off-street parking space since it’s nowhere near a Metro, but if I had the time and money and the inclination, I’d buy it. It’s a lot better than an apartment!

    • It does not need a “total renovation”. You would completely strip away the reason the house has value.

      • Intrinsic value, that is, as there’s obviously some value assigned to the land plot in one of the prime sections of an already prestigious neighborhood.

      • shaw

        I actually disagree – most of the materials in the photos date back towards the 60s, 70s and 80s. I would imagine that removing the elements that are not original to the house (which is the bulk of the present interior) could reveal many interesting elements that *are* original, or are at least a lot closer to that period, that could be highlighted in an appropriate renovation.
        In addition, as any house this age would tell you if it could talk, part of historic preservation is the constant adaptation to modern uses and needs. Adaptive reuse is the *only* thing between a historic home and a wrecking ball, because, as you pointed out, the land beneath is has value.

    • Anonymous

      This house is less than a 10 minute walk to the Foggy Bottom metro station and is a block or so removed from multiple metrobus and circulator lines. Certainly manageable if you didn’t want to worry about having a car.

  • OnTheOtherHand

    If only it wasn’t worth so much + in need of serious updating… what an awesome AirBnB, etc-property. I think tourists would eat this up as an alternative to hotels. You would have no problem keeping it occupied.

    • dunning-kruger

      Probably the best use for it but I’m not sure the neighbors would be too pleased and they probably have the political capital to shut it down.

  • ColHeist

    This home is owned by the Ann Z. Caracristi trust. Ms. Caracristi passed away last month and is the former Deputy Director of the NSA and was the first woman at NSA to be promoted to GS-18 rank, in 1975. I wonder if any other notable Washingtonians occupied the home. Pretty cool history.

  • Maddy’s Mom

    I went to the open house yesterday. The house is in remarkably good shape, all things considered. Even on a rainy day, it did not smell damp or otherwise unpleasant.

    You come into the front parlor, which is the width of the house, has a huge fireplace and beamed ceiling, and feels much airier than you’d expect, despite being very dark with the existing paneling, because the ceiling is so high – at least 9 feet, which is not what you’d expect from the outside of the house. Then behind that main parlor-room is a small room about 5′ wide (back to front) on the right, and a powder room with washer and dryer and what looks to be the cabinetry from a pantry on the left. The rear addition, which has the eat-in, sit-in kitchen, skylights, and a wall of sliding doors to the tiny back yard, is the full width of the house behind that. That’s a very pleasant, bright room. As a kitchen, it has a lot more space than those you find in a typical G’town or Capitol Hill rowhouse, even if the rest of the house is tiny. A stair that climbs around the fireplace leads to the second floor, which has a bedroom with cabinets cut into every knee wall. Behind that is a dressing room and full bath along the back of the house.

    A challenge would be living with the very limited light from the east (street-facing) side of the house, especially upstairs, with the single dormer as the only source of light and air for the bedroom. I think any buyer would want to completely reconfigure the upstairs to bring more of the light from the back of the house into the front room. Every interior finish in the original part of the house, as well as the plumbing, dates from ca. 1920-1950, apart from the front room downstairs, where there are beams and the incredible fireplace, so there is scope for restoration/reconstruction/lightening up of the interior.

    Access to the cellar, where all the mechanicals are, involves climbing into a cellar door that’s wedged between the front of the house and the sidewalk, and hemmed in by a fence. I did not attempt it, but it appears that the only way in is to climb *sideways* over the cellar door – i.e., you can’t approach the cellar doors straight on. It’s one of those Georgetown houses where the sidewalk is above the original level of the main floor, so the main floor is already a bit below sidewalk level.

    Takeaway: A fantastic project for a true old-house lover, someone who doesn’t have a lot of large furniture and really wants to own a very, very early house. Renovation would be an archaeological project, but very rewarding. (It’s undated, but there’s good reason to think it’s older than the Old Stone House.) I like the pied-à-terre idea.

  • blindbible

    Additional, very interesting description from Zillow:

    “Believed to be built by a British Skipper in the early to mid 1700’s, this house has been home since 1950 to Ann Caracristi who was a WWII code breaker and NSA?s first female Deputy Director. This house is known as the oldest “little” house in Georgetown and one which is often noticed and frequently photographed.”

  • logandude

    I had fun looking this one up in my copy of Deering Davis’s “Georgetown Houses of the Federal Period”, published in 1944. There it merely states that it “was built prior to 1775 and has remained almost unchanged in a wonderful state of preservation – a tribute to the craftsmen who built it, and the honest timbers used.” To judge by the picture in the book, neither the present-day roof nor the siding on the front of the house is original.
    Georgetown was not founded until 1751, and this location is outside the bounds of the original plat of Georgetown (which extended from what’s now 30th to 34th Streets). So, unless this was a rural cottage built before the founding of Georgetown (and why would a British skipper do that?), I would think it was built sometime in the 1750s or ’60s as Georgetown expanded beyond its original boundaries.
    I also found it interesting that, in 1944, this was considered to be located in “a bad residential area” – the Georgetown gentrification apparently hadn’t quite reached there yet.

  • Harry

    The old part is gorgeous and lovingly in period or at least consistent with it. That kitchen is an utter monstrosity and not just because it’s so glaringly inconsistent with the stunning Colonial original. I’m surprised, and saddened, by the tenor of the comments, as if something old and charismatic has no value whatsoever. Surely we can be more broadminded than that?

  • Tyler Allard

    Why does it say “Mid-1700 home” when the “year built” on the listing says 1900? Am I missing something?


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