Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Westchester: Old school elegance

Washington is a city full of grand old apartment buildings but my favorite may well just be the Westchester, located in NW DC just off Massachusetts Avenue near Wesley Heights and Spring Valley.
While many of the best apartment buildings are located along Connecticut Avenue or in Kalorama here in Washington,  the Westchester is an outlier.  This has perhaps led to its reputation as a sort of retirement village for the neighborhoods which surround it (some of the wealthiest in the city).
Thankfully the buildings ( there are numerous buildings spread throughout beautiful gardens) have been lovingly maintained and barely touched since they were built in 1931; having been decorated by the likes of Dorothy Draper in the late 30s and a host of other talents.  The buildings turned private Coop in 1951.
 I love these screens in Building "A"'s lobby which capture some of the elegant plaster details.
 Notice the numerous subtle paint colors used in the moldings -a professional touch.
The 1930s were such an interesting time period architecturally.
Classicism was still the norm but architects and designers were bringing in touches of art deco and even art moderne; a truly eclectic time period.
The main building has the largest and grandest lobby as it holds a number of the building's amenities such as a public restaurant, a library, beauty parlor, and even a small grocery store!
 One can really see the Dorothy Draper touches here; that sofa and chinoiserie screen!
 Truly vast spaces, made light and bright with judicious lighting and the liberal use of mirror.
 Similar detailing here with the addition of some formal Georgian crystal.
Love these coved ceilings leading to the elevator vestibule and the large backlit flag & eagles.
But shall I show you into one of the apartments that was recently for sale (earlier this spring as you can tell from my exterior photos)?
This penthouse unit (in the A building) was completely renovated and offers the best of both the old school building and modern living.
The very modern kitchen has all of the things many home buyers look for today: marble countertops, stainless steel, open shelving, and 'open-concept' but also solid thick walls and windows in every room (good luck finding those last 2 in a modern apartment building).
 Did I mention the private balcony with stunning views off the living room?
The original bathroom was cleaned up (new toilet, medicine cabinet) but retains all of the charm of the original. Those pedestal sinks and tile floors are standard issue in every apartment I've seen in the Westchester (and I have seen many of them and even worked on a few ).
The benefits to being high in the building are of course the lovely views of the garden and the surrounding Westchester buildings not to mention increased light.
 One can see as far as the river, the airport (National to the left), and the Rosslyn skyline.
I think Gza-Gza said it best "I just adore a penthouse view"...........