A 19th-century DC stable turned huge loft and an adjacent garage offered for sale as of Monday have a long history.
1315-1317 Naylor Court NW (map) are located in the Shaw alley of Naylor Court, which is connected to another historic spot, Blagden Alley. The alleys date back to the early 19th century, and many of the buildings there were once stables for horses and carriages that ferried market goods and people around a younger DC.
The larger stable building at 1315 Naylor Court is divided into two large loft units, and the couple living there has used both spaces as their home since purchasing the buildings in 2005. Each unit eschews segmented space in favor of a large, open layout.
“We haven’t done a lot to it,” said the owner, who asked to remain anonymous. “We like the openness. You divide up spaces by furniture arrangement and by lighting. You get used to not living with walls.”
The home’s raw look matches that of the alley, which is usually characterized as historic yet utilitarian. And the home’s previous uses add to that pedigree. There are hints around, if you know where to look, the owner told UrbanTurf; a beam upstairs in the stable once supported a hay loft, and outside there’s an original horse rein ring just waiting for the next rider to show up. The building was big enough to originally hold both horses and carriages, he said.
After serving as a personal stable, the home became headquarters for a grocer, E.J. Adams, whose name is still emblazoned on the side of 1315. Adams sent carriages to pick up goods from the canal in Georgetown, where shipments would float in, before distributing them at markets around the city. The buildings went on to have many uses as well as periods of abandonment; the owner said a still was found during a renovation that may indicate a previous use as an illegal watering hole during Prohibition.
The buildings then became a furniture factory, and in World War II the property’s woodworking tools were put to a different use: the space became an artificial limb workshop for wounded vets. In the 1960s, it turned into an auto shop.
“It’s had many lives,” the owner said. “It’s a very adaptable building in terms of what people could do to it.”
Right now, the couple rents out the large open garage of 1317 Naylor Court to auto enthusiasts who use it to work on classic cars. But a listing for the home, which is being sold through a sealed bid process without a set price, suggests a potential for more “synergy” between the two properties.
The owner said he loves living in the alley, where chats with neighbors often have a “Velcro effect.”
“One or two of us are in the alley chatting, eventually 2 or 3 three people come by and before you know it, you have 6 or 7 people, especially if you’re barbecuing something,” he said. “It has a nice village feel to it.”
Development nearby has occurred at a breakneck pace, and several projects are being built, planned or proposed for the immediate area, including another Marriott project and SB-Urban’s Blagden Alley residences. Despite all that, the property has plenty of windows and sunlight — rare for an old building in DC — and the home’s location is quiet and peaceful compared to living on a normal street, according to the owner.
The light is one of the couple’s favorite features of the home.
“As the light changes during the day, the character of the building changes,” the owner said. “As you move from one place to the other within the building itself, the character of the space is a little different.”
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_home_with_many_lives_hits_the_market_on_naylor_court/8504.
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