Best Re-Use of a Restaurant as a Home: Tilden Gardens

by Mark Wellborn

Ed Carp’s Living Room

In the late 1990s, after living in Dupont Circle for five years, Ed Carp managed (with no savings and bad credit) to buy a 3,000 square-foot basement office space in Adams Morgan for $95,000. In the coming years, Carp renovated the space (while living in it) into a basement loft-type home, and in 2001, he sold it for five times what he paid for it. From 2001 to 2007, Carp returned to the world of renting, largely because there was nothing on the market that was catching his eye.

Then, in 2005, he learned that the space that formerly housed the Tilden Gardens restaurant on the ground floor of 3000 Tilden Street NW (map) was for sale.

Private Entrance

3000 Tilden Street was originally built as part of a six-building co-op complex, and the restaurant at Tilden Gardens was where residents would eat. The restaurant had a country club feel to it, offered room service and served a delicious brook trout, according to reviews. It closed in 1971. Soon after, the Daughters of the American Revolution moved in and used the space as their offices and ballroom. When the Daughters moved out in 2005, the space sat empty for two years.

On January 5, 2007, Carp closed on the 3,600 square-foot space for $650,000. For the next three and a half months, renovations moved forward at an accelerated pace. Carp turned the back three rooms of the space, which had been used as offices and a women’s bathroom, into the master bedroom and two guest rooms. He completely renovated the kitchen and built all new bathrooms. He also redid the floors using a wood stain and created a large home office for himself just off the living area. Total cost for these renovations: $50,000.

Home Office

“I think a lot of people overestimate what renovations are going to cost,” Carp told UrbanTurf. “After my first turn at renovations, I realized I could do things for pretty cheap.”

It was not just the renovations that were inexpensive. Those leather chairs in the middle of the living room were $200 for the pair, the couches (that used to sit in the presidential suite at the Washington Hilton) cost $400 and the dining room chairs cost just $20 apiece from a hotel furniture warehouse.

When we wrote about Carp’s home, he had just recently finished a second round of renovations including the addition of a private entrance with a large cast iron door and the unit’s piece de resistance: a movie screening room.

Movie Screening Room

The room has a massive HD-quality projection screen surrounded by couches and a movie selection that has clearly been a work in progress for years. The room was actually the former entrance to the unit, so in order to block out sound from the lobby, layers of drywall and insulation were installed to cover up the door and block out sound.

Needless to say, when this property hits the market again, the list price will likely be slightly higher than the $650,000 Carp paid. We just don’t expect that he will be moving anytime soon.

See other articles related to: dclofts, best of 2010

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/best_re-use_of_a_restaurant_as_a_home_tilden_gardens/2772


  1. Eli said at 12:28 pm on Thursday December 16, 2010:

    Jealous is an understatement. Nice work.

  1. Nick said at 2:56 pm on Thursday December 16, 2010:

    It is even more amazing in person. The bathrooms are beautiful and the place has a private entrance right off of the main building entrance - spectacular!

    Ed was my agent for a purchase in June and it couldn’t have gone smoother. Then, AFTER the purchase, Ed stayed involved and helped me with renovations for over a month - supervising the labor while I was on vacation, sending photo updates, etc.

    He is truly a class act and deserving of the title “Best Realtor in DC” in my book. And believe me, I shopped for a good one for over three months.

    In two weekends of showings - encompassing over 20 houses a trip - Ed found me two amazing properties that I wanted to go after. The end result couldn’t have been better. Seriously, I cannot recommend him more.

  1. Lyle S said at 10:42 pm on Thursday December 16, 2010:

    The apartment and its owner are awesome. Go, go Tilden gardens!

  1. jag said at 1:20 am on Friday December 17, 2010:

    That screen isn’t too large for the space? Maybe the picture is playing tricks on my eyes, but it looks like crazy, front row of the movie theater, overkill. I can’t stand my friend’s basement because he stuck a 60 inch plasma in it when the viewing distance is only like 6-8 feet. You have to shift your eyes around to see different corners of the football field - it’d be hilarious if it wasn’t such a pain.

  1. Martin and Steve said at 1:52 pm on Monday February 7, 2011:

    Congrats, Ed!

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