Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Neighborhood tour

This past weekend I visited the Washington Zoo (more on that later) and walked through one of my favorite neighborhoods on my walk home that I thought I'd share with you.
This part of washington is the residential part of the city. From the zoo you can walk along rock creek park which is in a gorge below these neighborhoods. I've always loved these enormous old decorative bridges that connect these neighborhood. This one spans between Woodley Park and Kalorama.
This iconic mural announces your entry into Woodley Park from Kalorama - recognize the face? Marilyn Monroe of course!
Crossing over the bridge, you come into Kalorama. Kalorama is home to many of the grandest homes in the city built around the turn of last century, many embassies and along Connecticut Ave and the other major roads these GRAND old apartment buildings. Much of the work my firm does is in this area.
This building has this marvelous gazebo on the roof that looks out over the park. I've always wanted to go up there! Also notice the beautifully ornate and colorful corbels under the roof and the surround of the front door -all terra cotta. My dream apartment would be a small one-bedroom up there overlooking the park (pipe-dream maybe, but practical size wise anyway!)
Another big beautiful apartment building - this one with a porte cochere. More beautiful terra cotta work!This is one of the more famous buildings - the Dresden. Notice the building curves - more of it faces the park this way, and also it fits the site better. These windows are HUGE.This one is an entire city block, I walked up once and peeked into the lobby -as ornate and beautiful as you could imagine! More rooftop gazebos!Just south of here is the famous curved hilton where Reagan was infamously shot. Not a very pretty building -but the first place I stayed in DC back in high school. Across from the hilton is this beautiful mansion -now offices. I would say that was a shame, except it must be dreadfully noisey inside with all the pedestrian and car traffic -it's on a major intersection. Now we're in dupont (that intersection i mentioned before is the border of neighborhoods). I've always been fascinated by this building you see here. It's nautically themed -notice the porthole windows and the lighthouse on top! The base houses a retro looking hair parlor and a bakery (firehook). This mansion is right on Dupont Circle. It's now a private club but at one time was the Robert Wilson Patterson mansion. Designed by McKim, Mead & white in 1900 -the exterior is all white terra cotta except for the marble columns on the 2nd floor. It houses Washington's first garage ( you can barely see it to the far left). The Patterson's lent the house to President and Mrs. Coolidge in 1927 while the White House was being renovated.
This last is close to my apartment right off Dupont Circle. It now houses the National Trust for historic presevation but was originally a very grand apartment building. Andrew Mellon (from the Pittsburgh banking family and one of the founders of Carnegie Mellon University, my alma mater) lived here while he was working as treasurer for the United States in the top 2 floors(he also was responsible for the John Russell Pope designed nat'l gallery of art, donating the building to the Smithsonian). Hope you enjoyed the tour!

21 comments:

Alex said...

First of all, I think that you took the picture of the Dresden with half of a fisheye lens. (jk).

Second, now you got me craving one of Firehooks chocolate espresso cookies...Damn You!!!!

Be the change..... said...

haha -no fisheye lens, alex: Just a plain old camera at an odd angle! I love firehooks biscotti!

Kwana said...

It was so nice walking with you. Thanks.

Kathleen said...

You know what? This is a great tour you've put together. Next time I cross the river, I'll have to go take a look at these buildings. Do you ever daydream about what life was like when they were new? Seeing the photos makes me wish I could time travel and see it all as it was.

Things That Inspire said...

Oh, this makes me nostalgic for my childhood when I lived on Garfield Street, across from the National Cathedral. What part of town is this area?

Be the change..... said...

Kathleen, YES!! I always wonder what places were like hwen they were new! Often I think they're nicer now (if kept up well) - they have a nice patina with age. Plus when they were built there wasn't much landscaping or greenery!

Be the change..... said...

TTI, you grew up in a beautiful neighborhood! This is Kalorama -just north of Dupont along Connecticut Avenue.

Pigtown-Design said...

I love Kalorama! I had friends who lived there and just adored going over and seeing all of the wonderful apartment buildings!

Be the change..... said...

PD - I've always been on the look out for 'friends' who live in Kalorama so I could see inside most of these places! Unfortunately, I've heard many of them are owned by foreign dignataries and families who rarely are in town. I'll keep working on it though so I can give an interior tour!!

Alex said...

I know the feeling. One of the houses we looked at has all this wonderful historical detail, including a parlor with bay windows and a beautiful carved wood fireplace with one of those old mirrors that has lots of spots. The ceilings were at least ten feet high and I just felt like I was in a Henry James novel walking through the house...Funny how buildings can bring history to life like that.

Be the change..... said...

Is that the one you're making an offer on, Alex?

Alex said...

No, that would be the one that needs 300,000 worth of work. So with the 399,000 that they're asking, it was out of our price range. So sad, too because I absolutely fell in love with it. When I finally convinced myself it wasn't the right place for us, it felt exactly like I was breaking up with a man I was totally in love with, but I knew he wouldn't be good for me in the long run, and better to do it now than get horribly hurt and do it later...

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I think I'd choose the Dresden. Those large, curved windows would be so lovely...at any time of day.

L said...

Okay, seriously, friend. You know I looooove Pittsburgh, but you're making me want to move to D.C. Damn you! Damn you! DAMN YOU!

with love from Pittsburgh...

katiedid said...

I have never been to D.C. and one usually only gets to see the expected monuments in pictures....so THANKS for the tour of your beautiful neighborhood! It must be a pleasure to live there.

Be the change..... said...

I only live nearby - 2 neighborhoods over, Katie - someday I hope!

David said...

I am also an Architect in DC and visit your site just about daily. You have great taste in imagery. I loved your walking tour of Kalorama - You pretty much followed my walk home from work every day. I have lived in Kalorama for over 5 years never tire of admiring these great buildings.

Be the change..... said...

Thank you, David!! You don't happen to live in one of them, do you? LOL -I would love to do a post about their public spaces - I just need the in!

David said...

I did live in a beautiful c.1908 building, The Westmoreland. If you are familiar with the book "Best Addresses"; I lived in one of the small "bachelor suites", which originally did not have kitchens. The residents would dine on the 6th floor in the private dining room. (how nice)
A couple of years ago I moved in with my partner around the corner to a much smaller building, The Woodrow, which is from the early 1920's. Also a beautiful building but on a smaller scale.

Be the change..... said...

That sounds wonderful, David! I love places with history like that. Where was the kitchen put then? Just small in a corner someplace?

David said...

Eked it out in the entry hall and a couple of closets. That kitchen was actually larger than what I have now.