Living in DC’s Smallest House

by UrbanTurf Staff

Living in DC's Smallest House: Figure 1
1349 C Street SE

This article was originally published on UrbanTurf in 2013.

1349 C Street NE (map) is a one-room house on Capitol Hill with about as much square footage as a studio apartment. Needless to say, it is not the typical abode that you would find in the city, and it was not the home that Jan Walwyn planned on purchasing when he set out on his search back in 2009.

“I had been renting a two-bedroom apartment, so that’s what I thought I needed,” Walwyn told UrbanTurf. “If I hadn’t seen the house before my search started, I probably wouldn’t have been interested.”

But Walwyn was actually quite taken with the 371-square foot home, so much so that he bought the single-level house not long after seeing it. However, soon after closing, Walwyn realized two things: 1) He owned a lot of stuff that would not fit in his new place and 2) He had a lot of things that he never used.

“I had climbing gear that I hadn’t touched in six years, a tent I hadn’t used in a decade, and clothes that I had owned forever but rarely wore,” he said. “The spare bedroom at my old apartment was essentially a storage unit.”

Living in DC's Smallest House: Figure 2

While the purging of excess belongings proved very therapeutic and liberating, there was no getting around the fact that the very size of the house was restrictive.

Floor space was at a premium, so a futon served as a couch and a Queen-sized bed, and a loft space was constructed in the living room to provide extra storage space. For entertaining guests, there were two chairs, one that also served as a sleeper, and there was an ottoman that could also be used as a coffee table. Walwyn, an avid cyclist, installed ceiling hooks for his bicycle. A small backyard (formerly the home’s parking space) provided a place to entertain.

Most people would grow weary of such small living quarters, but Walwyn never thought he would sell the home.

“I didn’t think it would be my first home. I thought it would be my forever home,” he said.

Walwyn and his girlfriend, Trisha White, are now looking for a larger place with some investment potential in upper NW. But the place might not actually be that much bigger. White is also a fan of efficient living space. We wrote about her 308-square foot home back in 2011.

See other articles related to: tiny homes, smaller homes, editors choice, dclofts

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/living_in_dcs_smallest_house/7028


  1. John Stone said at 7:40 pm on Tuesday May 7, 2013:
    $180,000 they paid? What a rip-off.
  1. Vanessa said at 8:10 pm on Tuesday May 7, 2013:
    180 is about right for a studio condo in certain areas of the city. Plus they didn't have the condo fee to deal with. Also it's an outstanding location.
  1. mona said at 9:55 pm on Tuesday May 7, 2013:
    I use to live around the corner from this house when it wasn't redone and some really "interesting" things were going on on that block. The price they paid at that time is good and the area now is way better then it was when the developer first did the houses. The $289K for that location is actually pretty good price considering you have outside space, no condo fees, and no one stomping on your head.
  1. kob said at 4:25 am on Wednesday May 8, 2013:
    Where's the $180 coming from? They have this property listed for $248. My studio is just under 360SF. But this property has a total lot of 748SF. What I would give for a little backyard space and a place to put a grill. This house has a lot of potential. I wonder if you can raise the roof a little to add a sleeping loft? I really like this one bedroom house. But I'm too tied up in my place to move. And I totally agree that small is good. Went through the same exercise of unloading all this stuff I really didn't need. Living small has a lot of benefits, with energy costs savings leading the list. Great follow-up by UT.
  1. leoberman said at 10:04 pm on Friday May 10, 2013:
    All cash, north of $310 I think. Anyone know the final price paid?

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

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
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?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
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
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way
Real Estate Primer: Northern Virginia

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
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
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
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
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
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?
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
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
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
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
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
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

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
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
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »