The Pursuit: A 20-Year House In DC’s 30 Year-Old Hippie Mecca

by Shilpi Paul

Ian Warthin and his wife’s new Woodridge home.

When Ian Warthin and his wife Laura began thinking about buying a house last spring, they kept their sights trained on Petworth where they were renting an apartment. A number of their friends lived nearby and they were excited by the slew of new restaurants opening up in the neighborhood.

It wasn’t long before their search started in earnest with a focus on the property type that Petworth is known for: rowhouses in the mid-$500,000 to $600,000 range.

Over the summer, they went under contract on just such a property on Allison Street. Initially listed for around $675,000, the home was in need of some fixing up and lingered on the market at its original asking price before dropping to $600,000. Warthin submitted an offer slightly below the reduced price which was accepted.

The home inspection revealed a laundry list of problems, however, ranging from ungrounded electrical outlets to a rotted wall to foundation issues. The home inspector estimated that another $26,000 would need to be invested to fix the issues. The sellers weren’t interested in negotiating, and the deal fell apart.

The next listing that caught their eye was a rowhouse on the 600 block of Quincy Street NW. The home had been flipped in a somewhat mediocre fashion, according to Warthin, and with several bedrooms and a small backyard, it felt like an acceptable, but not exciting, option.

“My wife kept saying ‘this is just a two-year or three-year house, but we should buy it because it’s close to the Metro’,” said Warthin.


While moving forward with the Quincy listing, the couple, avid blog readers who keep up with development news, kept hearing about Brookland and Woodridge, northeast neighborhoods with a varied housing stock that seem to be attracting new retailers by the week. They decided to expand their search to see what was out there, and on their very first outing, they found their new home.

Located on the border of Brookland and Woodridge, the listing was a three-bedroom farmhouse with a large fenced-in yard that had been renovated over the years by the owners.

“It wasn’t renovated by a contractor who blew out all the walls and made it appeal to everyone,” admired Warthin.

While the house checked all their boxes, they wanted to get a better sense of the neighborhood, so they spent some time walking the blocks, grabbing pizza at Menomale and observing the mix of area residents.

Warthin and his wife pulled out of their negotiations on the Quincy Street rowhouse, and put in an offer in the high $400s on the farmhouse. The offer was accepted and they closed on the home in late October.

“We’re really, really happy that we made the switch,” said Warthin. “We know fewer people here, but everyone seems to have a dog and 50 percent of people brew beer. It’s like a thirty year-old hippie mecca.”

As for the house, the couple’s mindset has shifted not just in regards to location, but their timeline as well.

“My wife refers to our new home as our 20-year house,” said Warthin. “It’s a house that we can see identifying with not just for the next few years, but as the people we imagine we’ll be ten years from now.”

Photos courtesy of HomeVisit.

See other articles related to: woodridge, the pursuit, petworth, brookland

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_pursuit_a_20-year_house_in_woodridge/7764


  1. Wood Res said at 5:25 pm on Tuesday November 5, 2013:

    Welcome to the neighborhood! You’ll love it for years to come.

  1. Lisa Allred said at 2:34 pm on Wednesday November 6, 2013:

    I saw this house and fell in love with it. To have the coziness and look of a “farmhouse” close to the city is AMAZING!

  1. Judith Claire said at 8:29 pm on Wednesday November 6, 2013:

    It would be interesting to have some interviews with old timers. As a neighborhood changes from low income to higher income as gentrification sets in (mostly white)how do people, churches, schools change. How about some real information on the cultural differences. I taught at Shaw Jr. High in the 1960s. Now one can’t find a house under half a million. How about some of the real life stories.

  1. eh said at 9:30 am on Thursday November 7, 2013:

    we looked at this house and it was just beautiful.

  1. david said at 3:33 pm on Thursday November 7, 2013:

    I’m in Eckington off RI/N Capitol Sts NE.

    Those neighborhoods in and around Brookland/Woodridge off Rhode Island Ave NE, off Michigan Ave NE are so beautiful.  I live in Eckington and can tell those areas has/had lots of retired Govt/School/Police, etc people and they maintained those areas beautifully.

  1. Larry said at 4:57 pm on Thursday November 7, 2013:

    ‘How about some of the real life stories.”

    So people moving into the area recently aren’t real life?

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