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 http://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?

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