Greater Brookland Garden Club

Gardening in Brookland Since 1998

2012 House Descriptions

House 1

In 2001, this house had recently been cleared of squatters and renovated by an MPD officer. Originally built in 1915 by J.R. Haislip, the house was designed by George Santmeyers, a prolific DC architect who lived on Brentwood Rd. in Woodridge. Over the years, the residents of the house have reflected the immigrant nature of Brookland. At varying times, there were Russians, Dutch West Indians, and of course the ever present Irish living in this house.

As often is the case in Brookland, the house and garden have evolved. One of the first things planted
was a trumpet vine that flourished over the years only to not come back this year for the garden tour. A
lot of trial and error goes on. There’s been great luck with Scotch blooms and peonies, and no luck with
hydrangeas, ever. We’ve been pretty successful with vegetables in the garden, and moderately
successful with them at the dinner table. The tv room and guest room were gradually replaced with the
girl’s princess headquarters, and a nursery. The knick-knacks, books, and records in the man cave
basement were fairly quickly joined by a large assortment of kids toys and dress up gowns.

While juggling a cast of three different dogs, and now three kids, we’ve done what we can to keep the
house comfortable and in a style that is only partially dominated by the children. The art and wall
hangings represent our travels before the kids clamped down on our jet-setting ways. The same holds
true in the garden. The deck was added a few years after we moved in, and although a
miscommunication with a painter left the deck a fabulous 70s orange tint, we spend a lot of time out
there. We’ve tried to make a space where the kids can play and increasingly take an interest in the
plants. The yard has come a long way, from a plot of dead pine trees and abundant morning glory and
wild strawberries.

House 2

In 2009, the amazingly cute porch of a bedraggled and foreclosed frame foursquare on a shallow lot in Brookland lured two sisters to refocus their retirement funds into a single renovation project. Only after seeing identical porches on two other homes further east did it occur to them that the the house might be a kit house. A bit of research revealed that the house is indeed a Sears kit house, model Americus, built on-site out of two boxcars full of parts in 1923.

The property is now fully renovated, although the house is not yet occupied or fully furnished. This stop
on the 2012 tour will therefore focus on the before, the after, the how, and the why of the work done on
the house, the yard, and the workshop — now a studio apartment — attached to the garage.
With a finite budget, priority went to the basics of the house: upgrading the electrical service and
plumbing, insulating the exterior walls, realigning some elements that had settled unevenly, installing
central air conditioning, reconfiguring for an additional bath, and restoring the envelope, including
clapboards and new energy-efficient windows.

As a result, many interior details of the house — including kitchen cabinets, appliances, sink, bathtub,
vanities, light fixtures, entry door, interior doors — came from craigslist, ebay, and Community Forklift.
The result is a house that maintains its modest cottage-like character but provides modern amenities.
By contrast, the studio apartment has a cathedral ceiling and a unique hand-crafted modern vibe.

In addition to the owners, the creative and resourceful contractor who managed the renovation (and
designed both the studio apartment and the back garden) will be on hand to answer any questions
about how the idiosyncrasies of the house were accommodated in the renovation process.

House 3

Welcome to all that a contemporary row house can be! Built in 1923, our home underwent a total renovation in 2009, virtually rendering it a new home with high-end appliances and finishes throughout. The fine craftsmanship and attention to detail of the renovation are evident from the high-quality materials used to design of highly functional spaces. The renovation’s greatest impact was to modernize and open the home’s layout including the creation of a master bedroom suite and a half bath on the first floor.

Following the renovation, we installed a custom-made wrought iron fence to frame our front yard. Our
goal was to create a lush little oasis. We softened the wrought iron by flanking the outskirts with a
variety of grasses: nandina, sea, switch, and maiden grasses. The centerpiece of the front yard is a
lovely serviceberry tree. An assortment of perennials rounds out our front garden including knockout
roses, a burning bush, and others. Our love of gardening and community came together last fall when
we spearheaded a project to bring much needed street and residential trees to our block. All told, we
planted 18 trees with the assistance of Casey Trees. Please take a moment to enjoy the Redbuds,
Yellowwoods, Serviceberries, Black Gums, Hornbeams, and Honey Locusts that now line the street.

As you step into our home, you will notice a contemporary-casual style throughout, and how sun-filled
and airy our home is despite being a row house. Make a note to visit our whimsical ½ bath off the
hallway, a delight for kids of all ages. The basement is so bright and well finished; one might forget that
it is actually a basement. The basement doubles as a guest room, as it affords a high degree of
privacy, with a full bath and walk-out to the back.

Upstairs you will find 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. One bedroom is used as a home office, and another
as an artist’s studio. The dramatic headboard in the master suite was created from re-purposed
materials. Make sure to see the spacious, sun filled, master bath. Back on the first floor, pay a visit to
the kitchen and marvel at the chalkboard backsplash. Note that prior to the renovation, the kitchen was
a sleeping porch. This transformation was so well done, it is not immediately noticeable.

To wrap up your tour, please step into our back “urban garden”; our home came with two paved parking
spaces, so we have created a green space by building and repurposing multiple planters. Peach,
cherry and apple trees thrive along with Japanese maples, a pussy willow, wild grasses and a
vegetable garden. Lastly, please help yourself to a soft or adult beverage and a snack on our deck as
you enjoy the view of our neighbor’s mature trees.

House 4

The current owners purchased this home in April, 2011, becoming the third owners of this 84-year-old house. The original owners purchased the home in 1928, and in the late 90s, sold the home to one of their children who raised her family in the house until April of 2011.

In 2011, the home was showing the wear and tear of all of its 80-plus years. Linoleum floors throughout the kitchen covering holes in the floor through to the basement, unusable bathrooms, leaking plumbing, and extremely outdated cabinetry, appliances and fixtures.

Over the past 12 months, the home has been renovated to reflect a more updated, contemporary style.
Original hardwood floors were sanded and stained a deep walnut color. To create a much more open,
expansive space, the kitchen was stripped down to the studs and a wall was removed. Particle board
cabinetry was replaced with dark toned, solid wood cabinets with custom pulls. Formica countertops
were replaced with white Corian countertops infused with recycled glass.

Where there was once tired, worn out Linoleum flooring in the kitchen, breakfast area and sitting room,
one now stands upon a warm, custom gray Italian ceramic oversized 12x24 tile.

Throughout the main floor and moving to the second floor, take note of the custom lighting with designs
running from contemporary to modern finishes. Moving from the main floor to the second floor, one
ascends a rebuilt staircase, with a contemporary custom baluster, spindles and newel.

Upon reaching the second floor, as you look immediately to your left, you will find a newly renovated
main bath; blues, grays and black glass tile throughout the shower; white marble with gray and black
tones covers the floor. Moving from left to right, one finds themself in the master bedroom. Off of the
master bedroom, an old sitting room was converted into an additional bathroom and walk in closet.
Two modern vanities with extra storage, a fun river rock shower and toilet area, and a shoe tree in the
closet create a luxurious master suite.

Outside, the home boasts clean, minimalistic and well-manicured landscaped gardens. Along the
walkway leading up to the house, you will find Caramel Coral Bells and Zebra Grass. The front bed is
filled with Pampas Grass, Blue Fescue Grasses, Red Knock-Out Roses and a Pink Delight Butterfly
Bush.

The home backs to the Francisan Monastery’s acre lot filled with mature oaks and maples. In the
backyard, the couple has also started an elevated herb and vegetable garden with cilantro, jalapeno
peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, oregano, parsley, arugula and basil.

House 5

While driving through Brookland just a week before Christmas of 2008, we looked up at a house on an ivy covered hill with four big white columns and a porch that was made for rocking chairs. A few months later we moved in and bagan making this four square Greek revival style house our home. The house was built for Mrs. Angela McHugh Barr in 1924 at a cost of $17,000. Since then, other owners have added a powder room to the first floor and reconfigured the kitchen. We have renovated the powder room with period touches such as hex tile flooring, an antique pedestal sink and a stained glass window in the old milk bottle pass-through. The back porch was converted into a lovely sun room using matching salvaged french doors and more stained glass. This room has become our favorite three-season refuge. Rather than modernizing the home, we have been very conscious of maintaining the original style and architectural elements of the house.

Stacks of letters, photos and other artifacts found in the attic give us a glimpse into the lives of the
families that lived within these walls before us. We enjoy learning about these people and we are eager
to share this history with our guests. We love the house as it is, with its crooked walls, crooked floors,
warts and all. We hope you will too.

House 6

This house is a left-entry brick Colonial Revival built in 1926. It was designed by architect Louis J. Rouleau, and commissioned by the original owner, a chemistry professor at Catholic University. The home has a gracious Southern feeling, with floor-to-ceiling shutters flanking French doors on a four-column front porch. Those same French doors frame the fireplace in the living room. Additional interior French doors provide for light-filled spaces. Only the first floor of the house, which includes a living room, library, dining room, family room and kitchen, will be open for the tour.

The house sits back on the property, which is located on a hill. A brick walkway leads to the house, and
continues along the west side to the rear patio. The garden has matured greatly since the house was
featured on the 2003 tour. Although the loss of some trees has increased the amount of sun,
particularly in the rear yard, shade gardening remains the rule. The front garden features several
seating areas and a fountain. The rear has a second fountain, and the yard is framed by oak-leaf
hydrangeas, paniculata hydrangeas, and azaleas.

House 7

This Victorian, built in 1900, has five large gables as its roof line with all the original woodwork and trough gutters remaining at the top. It has a wrap-around porch at its front with one part having been closed in many years ago to make a small sunroom on its southern side—better to see the large pink roses that grow up to its windows.

As with most houses built at the end of the 19th century, there was no real kitchen to speak of. What was there had been set up on a previous back porch that was in danger of falling down. In 2010, the current owner embarked on an expansion of the footprint of the original porch in order to create a real kitchen. This expansion allowed the possibility of building up above it from the first floor to the second floor and extending a small bedroom in order to make a large bedroom with a bathroom – creating a true master bedroom. The flat roof above the new bedroom is now a deck off the previously finished attic.

The 4-level home boasts original detailed woodwork, hardwood floors, three stain glass windows,
pocket doors, two fireplaces, commercial size windows, lighted stairway newel post and 10-foot
ceilings. The attic has the feel of a bed-and breakfast while the finished basement is used for family
viewing of movies and sporting events. The house was given a multi-colored painted-lady type painting
in 2005 and is being scheduled for a re-painting. The owner has attempted to maintain the original
integrity.

The inside garden does not appear to be very large until you start to work on it. An old run down garage
was taken away and is now a back patio with flowering pots of annuals. Vegetable boxes have been
added to both sides of the house.

House 8

The year is 1904: Teddy Roosevelt is President, New York City’s subway opens, Cy Young pitches a perfect game and local medical pioneer Dr. Charles R. Drew is born (and years later, the bridge on Michigan Avenue in Brookland is named in his honor).

Also that year, Kate C. Dolloway built this home with a turret featuring two stories of bay windows, an asymmetrical layout and a semi-wrap-around porch — all elements of Victorian-style architecture. Since then the home has undergone many transformations including an incarnation as a boarding house, once home to many current Brookland residents.

The single family home features the charm of its original days with hardwood floors and decorative
wood trim with rosettes throughout as well as corner fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom,
10-foot high ceilings and pocket doors. It is lovingly decorated with family heirlooms, artwork and other
special belongings collected over the years — from an oil painting of the owner's mother as a child to
his grandmother’s antique corner cabinet (now used as the family room media center) to a china set
from France once used for entertaining by his great grandmother.

An updated eat-in kitchen as well as two redone bathrooms provide more modern amenities but keep
with the elegant look and feel of the house’s era. A converted attic apartment, which runs the length of
the house, features an original claw-footed tub, exposed brick and pitched ceilings.

As Brookland House & Garden Tour guests visit this house, they should notice the many reused and
repurposed items throughout the home including bathroom vanities that were once a dresser and
buffet, a foyer bench created out of a twin bed and the backyard arbor made out of discarded wood
pallets and reclaimed front porch posts. Some of the artwork throughout the house and gardens were
created by the owner and other family members.

House 9 (Reception)

Often admired from the sidewalk by those strolling to church or work, this Grand Victorian has quite a presence with its turret and dual wraparound porch. The three full stories and additional handsome gables and dormers only add to its stately appearance at this mid-block location. The owner has brought his own vision to this masterpiece of Victorian Architecture, but has been carefully respectful of the proportions and details still remaining from the 1913 construction.

After quite a bit of consideration, it is believed that the house was perhaps originally built as a rooming
house for students. There were many smaller to medium sized rooms with walls that appeared to be of
original construction. It also appears that there was no grand fire place and mantel — hard to believe
with all of the attention to detail on the outside of the house! So, the interior does seem like it has
always been much more modest compared to the exterior.

Please take the time to appreciate how nicely the modern updates have been integrated into this nearly
100-year old house and how the newly planted landscape complements the scale and proportion of the
architecture. A special thanks to our neighbor, Mary Pat Rowan, for her landscape design and planting
assistance.

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