loading...

A Logan Circle Renovation With ‘A Lot of Knuckles’

by Lark Turner

image

When Christian Lilley and Tressa Finerty decided to move from their beloved apartment in New York City to a new home base in DC, they couldn’t quite find what they wanted on the market.

“We were looking for something and weren’t finding it,” Finerty said. “We decided, ‘We’ll make what we want.’ And lo and behold, 9 months later — most people our age are having children, but we had a gestation period and came out with an apartment.”

image

In August 2013, the couple purchased a one-bedroom on the 1200 block of N Street NW in Logan Circle (map). The condo was on the second floor of a four-level townhouse built in 1875. It was finished, but had many past lives. Each unit had at some point in the building’s past been two separate, small apartments, Finerty said.

“It was clear they had sandwiched together two small apartments and hadn’t really done a lot of architectural work,” Finerty said. “As our architect said, ‘There’s a lot of knuckles in this place.’”

Working with Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects, the couple decided to expose as much of the original building as possible, and “infuse it with a little bit of serious modern or European flair here and there,” she said. The renovated space has reclaimed barn wood flooring in some parts, transitioning to diamond-plate decking steel in other areas. Inspired by architecture and design they’d seen in New York, the couple added a sleeping loft over the bathroom for guests to camp out in.

image

While renovating, the crew kept finding marks and evidence of the building’s past lives, like a large zebra-like burn mark on the wall in the kitchen.

“When we found things like that we tried to keep them,” Finerty said. “When our construction crew found the burn, they stopped and were like, ‘Whoa, whoa, this isn’t what you want, we can fix this.’ We said, ‘No, this is great. This tells a story.’”

image

But the space they now live in has little in common with the listing they bought late last summer. Lilley and Finerty didn’t save much of anything except two large, 12-foot doors. They couldn’t figure out what to do with them until Finerty realized that by chance, the steel kitchen island she’d ordered matched the door’s measurements exactly. She decided to mirror the island and put two pendant lights through the door overhead.

image

Though Finerty said she’s “surprised at how well it all came together,” she also echoed a familiar renovator’s complaint: There were just too many decisions to make.

“It’s a constant death by decision,” she said, adding that because there’s so much information online, it’s too easy to spend an entire day trying to figure out which steel pulls would look best on the kitchen cabinets.

image

And the other lesson? Restraint.

“It was a struggle,” Finerty said. “You have all these ideas, and you have to keep reining yourself in, because there’s no way you’re going to be able to fit everything you’ve ever seen and liked into one space.”

Finerty and Lilley knew when they purchased the place that their work would take them overseas from time to time — Finerty is a foreign service officer with the State Department, and Lilley is a web architect for McKinsey — but they didn’t expect to be called abroad quite so soon after finishing the renovation. So if you really like what Finerty and Lilley did, you can live in it: The unit will go up for rent this month.

image

Photos courtesy Christian Lilley and Tressa Finerty.

See other articles related to: renovation, logan circle

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/an_industrial_renovation_of_a_condo_with_a_lot_of_knuckles/8587

0 Comments — Be the First!

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾