Early 20th-century house with modern updates lists for $2.5 million
The house was designed by architect George T. Santmyers and built by Thrift Building Co. Santmyers is best known for designing apartment buildings such as Meridian Manor, at 1424 Chapin St. NW, and 3901 Connecticut Ave. NW, which are both on the National Register of Historic Places. The DC Architects Directory calls him “one of the city’s most prolific and important architects of the twentieth century.”
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
Although the bones of Santmyers’s design remain, the house has been expanded horizontally and vertically and updated through the years. Yet, from the exterior, the harmonious blend of the new and old makes it difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
“The other thing that drew me to the house was the front porch,” Trauben said. “We sit outside on a Saturday or Sunday, we read the newspaper or a book, we say hello to our neighbors. It helps us to be part of a community, and community is so important, especially in today’s world.”
The stained glass in the sidelights and transom that surround the front door were designed by Baltimore artist Daniel Herman. He also designed a triptych in front of the kitchen windows. That design was based on a poem by French poet Arthur Rimbaud called “The Bridges.” Some words from the poem were incorporated into the design.
The front of the house has a traditional layout, with a formal living room on the left and a formal dining room on the right. However, the vaulted ceiling in the living room gives it a more modern feel.
The stairs that lead up to the second floor have an unusual handrail and newel post, together resembling a rolled-up piece of paper that has been partially unfurled. The handrail looks like the flat piece and the newel post like a thick scroll.
The back half of the house is where the home veers from expected to unexpected. The vaulted ceiling, the skylight and large windows give the great room a lightness and airiness unusual in early 20th-century houses. A hefty stone fireplace anchors the room. Shelves and cabinetry offer ample storage.
The space also accommodates large gatherings. Trauben said for his son’s bar mitzvah, the family had 60 guests for a sit-down dinner without the room feeling cramped.
“The house is really designed with great spaces for entertaining,” Trauben said. “I’m hoping that, as we go past covid, that it can be turned back into an entertaining house.”
The kitchen functions well for a family that keeps kosher, with separate areas for prepping, cooking and cleaning. There are two refrigerators and two dishwashers. The long, curved island at the front is a nod to the previous owner’s family. According to Trauben, that family had seven children. He pictures the seven kids sitting at the island having breakfast.
Behind French doors, there is a large office. Next to that is the entrance to the screened porch. To the right of the kitchen is a playroom/family game room with built-in cabinetry and a desk. The main level has two powder rooms.
The second floor has six bedrooms, more than enough for the Trauben family. One of them they turned into an exercise room. Another is an office. And one is a guest room. One of the two bathrooms has a full-length mirror that opens to reveal a large storage space. There’s also a sitting area with a built-in desk and more closets.
The top floor is the owner’s suite, with a large bedroom, a bathroom, and a sitting or dressing area that has two closets.
The house has good-sized front and back yards and a parking pad with space for three cars.
The seven-bedroom, six-bathroom, 5,100-square-foot house is listed at just over $2.5 million.
3819 Morrison St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Approximate square-footage: 5,100
Features: The 1918 Craftsman-style house was designed by noted architect George T. Santmyers. It has been expanded horizontally and vertically and updated through the years. The house has three levels above an unfinished basement. Outdoor spaces include a wide front porch, a screened porch, and front and back yards. The parking pad can fit three cars.