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GDoN “Modern masterpiece by Louis Giles Jr. 1960 mid-century modern design” edition (multiple reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth May 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm 40 Comments

This house is located at 4235 South Dakota Ave, NE. The MRIS listing says:

“Modern masterpiece by Louis Giles Jr. Complete, meticulous renovation keeping true to home’s 1960 mid-century modern design. 3,500+ sq.ft. 3 bed/ 2.5 bath. 18-foot living room ceiling w/wall of glass. Small cooling pool w/waterfall. Close to Catholic, Howard & Monroe Street Market.15-min walk to Brookland/CUA Metro. Looking for next stewards of this rare & exceptional example of modernism in DC.”

You can (and must) see more photos here.

This 3 bed/2.5 bath is going for $1,125,000.

  • John

    WOW–I love it. Amazing home.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Wow do I love this place! I would want the furnishings, too.

  • AnonV2

    I know this will appeal to many people, but MCM architecture and furnishings never did it for me. Probably because it reminds me of all of the sterile municipal buildings of the same era. The post office down the street from where I grew up looked EXACTLY like the front of this house. And the crappy library. And to a lesser extent the elementary school.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      yeah, I’m generally not a fan because it looks so very, very dated. And most of it is very boring and bland. I feel like there is a way to do clean lines and minimalism that isn’t this sterile, dreary look.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      Same, from the outside this house screams business, not residential for me. I don’t care for the inside either, it seems to be well done, but not my style. The price seems high too?

    • Carey

      To each his own, but I’ve always loved this style of architecture. I feel like it’s finally earning the appreciation it deserves.

  • bean

    That sculpture and painting in the fourth photo look a lot like a Noguchi and a Basquiat, respectively, which would be totally awesome if they were originals. Love this house.

    • Bobert

      A Basquiat just sold for ~$130m. I wouldn’t leave that hanging at an open house …

      • bean

        Bobert, I’m aware. I was doubtful but also thought it would be pretty impressive. mmm thanks for the info about Snodgrass, you’re right it does look like he rips off JMB.

    • mmm

      The piece that looks like Basquiat is by Michael Snodgrass whose entire style is a total bite of Basquiat (down to the crowns).

      • bje22201

        Then that’s lame. Because I too thought it might have been a Basquiat.

  • Bobert

    I love the house and the way it’s furnished. The only drawback (and it’s a huge one) is the location. I wouldn’t want to live right on S Dakota Ave.

    • Anonymous

      I would add the size of the kitchen (small) and the overall flow (multiple levels are awkward).
      I also grew up with MCM, so I’m predisposed to hate it.

  • Anonymous

    Eh- While a cool house- there is really no backyard space for entertaining- which to me would have been great because the house as is- does not have a good flow for entertaining. It also doesn’t seem like 3500sqft.

  • ET

    I used to not love mid-century modern. Places like this prove that when done right it is great. The decor and reno (I assume it has a modern reno) are in tune but don’t feel dated or forced.

    • TinkerTaylor


  • wdc

    The interior is a gorgeous example of its style. It’s not MY style, but I do appreciate a job well done; bravo to the owners.
    Though– is the dining room above the kitchen? Do you have to schlep food and dishes up and down all those stairs? Because hell no.
    The front exterior, unfortunately, is just plain ugly. I don’t care who designed it; MCM doesn’t have to be ugly. This looks like a small town DMV.

    • anon

      Agree on dining room placement – I figured most people would use that living room next to the kitchen the dining room to avoid schlepping food up and down the stairs. That would leave what is now the dining room as an odd, lobby-like area next to the front door – not an ideal living room, as far as I’m concerned, behind the front door like that. But then, there’s a family room up on the mezzanine level, which would be the real living room – it has a fireplace and looks much cosier. The lobby-like next to the front door would make a nice home office area (it looks more like a conference room now that a usable dining room) overlooking the two-story dining room, or else just a little-used expanded foyer area, or a showcase for more artwork.
      But this sort of MCM does appear sterile to me.

  • NHAve

    Incredible. I wish they would schedule an open house so I could gawk. The furniture is probably worth the same as asking. If this house was in a walkable/bikeable location I’d be scheming. But, if it were in a more desirable location it would surely be closer to $2M or more & way out of reach. The sq footage comes from all the non-bedroom rooms – lots of little spots that would not qualify as a bedroom but are like separate rooms.

  • spookiness

    If I lived here I’d never leave the house. Not my price range in any case, but it seems like pretty much any decent detached house in the district square is around 1m anymore, so I don’t think the price is bad.

  • Mojotron

    The interior is great, but the exterior reminds me that I need to get my teeth cleaned.

  • zipdc

    Since I’d never be able to afford to live in a house like this, I can assess this solely through my fantasies and say it’s perfect and I love it.

  • Dognonymous

    A stunner, but I’d say more as art than a home. The design is stellar, but so much of it derives from the minimalist aesthetic. To actually live here, I think I’d struggle to keep it as spare and precise. The master bathroom is striking, but I don’t see any cabinets or vanities for, you know, toothpaste, toilet paper, and the other trappings of daily life. The closets in the bedrooms don’t look walk-in, which probably means additional dressers for clothing. I think you need to add a lot of functional furniture pieces to this house to make it really work, and that’s a bit at odds with the staging. That said, I’m 100% daydreaming about how I could recreate that plunge pool in my own yard.

  • Rich

    The pedigree is part of the value of a house—and just because you don’t care doesn’t mean that realistic potential buyers would feel the same way. The market for a house like this is specialized and it clearly is well thought out in terms of the setback with trees and shrubs to buffer the busy street. The flow of the house and the “non-bed room” spaces are really part of the period. The dining room is really meant to be a formal space and the area near the kitchen easily could be a family room type informal space or a living room/dining room. the big space is meant to gather people and be exposed to other parts of the house. The kitchen seems large-MCM houses, even large ones, often have small kitchens.

  • Cam

    Not exactly my style, but I love it anyway. Well done! I don’t see dental office at all! I love all the clean lines, even the colors. I don’t like the location. Not sure about price, but for something strikingly different, it will probably find a happy buyer.

  • west_egg

    Vessel sinks should be illegal. (Otherwise — what a beautiful home!)

  • anon

    The exterior looks like a school, but I love everything else!

  • Blithe

    Wow! I’m glad that I paid attention to the editorial: “…(and must) see…”.

  • Jay

    Well, I like the waterfall. I don’t like… almost everything else. In particular, that living room-type area on the same floor as the kitchen screams out for hardwood floors. It looks like a reception area or a waiting room … ugh! Also, vessel sinks are terrible and those round overhead lampshades would have to go. And is that a high school locker room bathroom? The whole place, outside and in, has echoes of places I just don’t want to be…

    That said, with a few changes (and different furnishings), I think this place could be okay. I just don’t get the appeal of MCM design… like, at all.

    • spookiness

      The flooring of the lower level is an extension of the patio and vice-versa. That’s one of the tenants of MCM- visually blending the indoor and outdoor spaces. I saw a condo recently that did this with a wall. Stone on the wall flanking the outside balcony, extending through a glass floor to ceiling wall, then continuing along a dining room wall, then wrapping 2 feet into a hallway. It was a great detail, and the unit was great, but the building itself was not well maintained.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Is that a Tesla in the garage? Someone has way too much money

  • navyard

    Is there a coat closet? Because it would drive me crazy if people entering the house starting putting their coats on my dining chairs.

    • Anonymous

      One shouldn’t invite such crass people to one’s house in the first place.

    • MidCenturyMike

      There is a coat closet.

  • anon

    I’d guess that the house has been staged with mid-century furniture to show off the home. I doubt that it all belongs to the current owner.

    • anon

      Actually, I take it back. Some of it is idiosyncratic enough to make me think this is actually the owners stuff.

      • MidCenturyMike

        Not staged. All furnishings are the owners.

  • andy2

    I’m a huge fan of MCM, and loved all my Aunts’ and Uncles’ Eichler’s the had in California. The updates are in keeping with the style, while bringing in some more contemporary aesthetics.
    I second West_Egg – the (wo)man who brought vessel sinks into vogue should be tarred and feathered.

    The location is less than ideal, but the setback from SD Ave should make it a bit more livable.

  • Gorgeous. I think most of the problem is that MCM has been conflated with brutalism. Beautifully designed houses like this have nothing to do with horrid public buildings. And yes, I’ll include the MLK library in the horrid category.

  • Christopher Budd

    This couple has spent 30 years collecting pedigree furniture and accessories that fit with the style and time frame of the house. So that is not staged.


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