Wayback Wednesday: The Big House

Yesterday’s post about moving tips spawned a little conversation on Facebook this morning about the ill-fated move that inspired item number four, “If possible, move when the weather can be relied upon to be decent.” This, in turn, inspired me to share the house that was the subject of that move as today’s Wayback Wednesday post. It also serves as a nice counterpoint to my story a few weeks back about my apartment across from the crack park, because if that was the worst place I lived, this one was the best.

While the house was white when we moved in, it was re-painted yellow with blue trim while we lived there.
While the house was white when we moved in, it was re-painted yellow with blue trim while we lived there.

I moved here with my friend Heidi in the winter of 2003, when her sister (with whom she had been living) moved out of the area. I was living by myself – and had been for quite a while – but we were good enough friends that I decided to try having a roommate again. I think the most difficult part of the process was actually finding a place, since we both had very particular ideas about what we wanted. To this day, I occasionally pass some house or other in the neighborhood and think, “Heidi and I looked at that place.”

The great, sunny living room with huge windowsills was a particular favorite of the cats.
The great, sunny living room with huge windowsills was a particular favorite of the cats.

We ended up in this house, just a block away from what was then the rapidly improving Barracks Row Main Street area of Capitol Hill. (And is now the fully improved version of same.) It’s not far from where I live now, and I still pass by it often. It’s one of the older homes on the Hill, as it is wood frame and free-standing – neither of which were built after around 1810, if memory serves.* It was also fairly clear that what was the side door/porch when we lived there was once the front door, before the neighborhood was built up around it.

This house was far and away the biggest place I’ve lived other than my parents’ – probably because it’s also the only proper house (not an apartment) that I’ve rented. There were actually more bedrooms than people, a living room and a dining room, a laundry room, along with great outdoor space, including a giant – and fruit-bearing – apricot tree. It was great for entertaining, and we did plenty of it – several parties, a few cookouts, and a respectable amount of casual hanging out.

The back patio, complete with apricot tree.
The back patio, complete with apricot tree.

I feel fairly confident that, had Heidi not opted to move to Michigan in 2005 to go to grad school, I’d probably still live there. I could probably afford the rent on my own now, without a roommate, though I couldn’t back then – well, if it didn’t go up too much, that is. Heck, I wouldn’t mind buying the joint, but given its location, I’m quite sure that would be way beyond my nonprofit-girl means. Sigh.


* I learned this in a preservation class years ago, and while I may have the date wrong, at some point in DC, wood-frame houses became illegal, and party walls (that is, rowhouses) were required.


4 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: The Big House

  1. David March 28, 2012 / 11:45 pm


  2. Mom March 29, 2012 / 9:22 am

    It was a very nice house and you and Heidi had fixed it up so much. It is really great that it, and so many others, are being restored and re-loved!

  3. sionna March 29, 2012 / 12:23 pm

    That was the best DC abode you ever lived in. It had space and character.

    Let’s see, there was The Cold Apartment, the Tiny Alley Apartment, the aforementioned House, and now your current place. Did I miss any?

  4. wendalicious March 29, 2012 / 2:26 pm

    I remember watching the premiere episode of “Arrested Development” at that apartment, when I was visiting (2003). I think it was the same day you debuted the Cranberry Salsa recipe. Not sure why those are the things I remember about it, but…

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