2007 House and Garden Tour Stops
by Aileen Moffatt and Paul Cromwell
|Stop 1: 17 5th Street, SE
Internationally acclaimed architect Todd DeGarmo and partner Bill Sales will open their home especially for this 50th celebration. The house, long familiar to neighbours on Fifth Street as the site of the annual Kentucky Derby party, has now had a thorough make-over. After learning that responsibility for hosting the party was part and parcel of owning their new home, Todd and Bill hosted their first Derby party.The neighbours were awed. Many months of meticulous work, overseen by architect Todd, resulted in a stunningly elegant yet practical home with an incredible garden and screened-in porch with retractable awnings. Interesting art works and photography with a transportation theme are on view throughout the house adding a hint of modernism to this 1882 home.
Stop 2: Riverby Books, 417 East Capitol Street, SE
NOTE: this is a commercial property housing Riverby Books which is open seven days a week (#417) and realty management company (#419) with meeting space used for a variety of community organizations. It is also the office of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. There will be a display of material concerning the history of Capitol Hill and the District of Columbia. A local band—Joel and Pearl Bailes and the Capitol Hill Billies—will provide entertainment in the front yard from three to six, weather permitting.
|Stop 3: 623 Constitution Avenue, NE
A second noted architect has put their home on the tour this year. Maurice Walters and MJ Pajak’s Constitution Avenue home is a wonder of smart design. When they purchased their home, it was only 740 square feet; after living in this teeny home for several years while waiting for appropriate city approvals, Maurice and MJ finally were able to complete their renovation in 2005. The house now boasts 1200 sq feet on two levels with a “green” roof of recycled rubber pavers and plants. On the main floor the living room opens onto a stunning Gary Hallewell designed garden. At the back of the property is a 2 car garage with a finished second story. This home too has eclectic art some of which is by well known Capitol Hill artist Karen Currie.
|Stop 4: 15 7th Street, NE
Margaret Colgate Love, noted author and former Justice Department Pardon Attorney, completely re-did her now very modern and open home. Only the façade and attic rafters remain of the original 1842 house. Inside the house is a wonder of glass and light with an open stairwell and second story loft that overlooks the living room and garden. The basement was dug out and now has a guest suite, laundry, and storage area. Another Gary Hallewell designed zen garden with waterfall and koi pond completes the open flow of this surprising home.
|Stop 5: 700 East Capitol Street, NE
Since 1985, the gravel paths, their block edging, and the pond have all been replaced, garden furniture, lighting, fountains, and an irrigation system have been added, and many, many plants have come and gone. The current owner, Jennifer Newton, considers herself a plant collector rather than a careful garden planner, and many of the plants are there simply because she had to have them! Among these are the dwarf weeping copper beech, oak-leaf hydrangea, Virginia bluebells, spiderworts, and various varieties of phlox and rosemary. Planters by the stairways and on the front porch allow for seasonal color and the chance to try fun combinations of annuals. When the house, which had been white for at least thirty years, was repainted in 2001, the current color scheme was chosen because it echoes the gray-green and purple of the Japanese ferns scattered throughout the garden.
|Stop 6: 712 East Capitol Street, NE
A well-known Capitol Hill landmark, the “deer house,” home of Connie and Tip Tipton is on the tour for the first time since 1978. This truly gracious home with its original chestnut woodwork, pocket doors, and huge kitchen, also has a fabulous yard with a garden-scape mural that echoes many of the most interesting architectural features of the Tipton’s home.
|Stop 7: 800 East Capitol Street, NE
Another East Capitol landmark, the home of Robert and Karen Reed and their four young sons, joins the tour this year. Once divided into nine apartments, today this nearly fully restored family home boasts many period installations. It took 3 and a half years to complete the renovation which has captivated many a local observer. Looking at the photos the Reed’s have of the original property, it is remarkable to note how few differences there are between “then” and “now.”
|Stop 8: 813 East Capitol Street, SE
Claudine and Rodney Weiher have lived in their East Capitol home since 1969. Claudine was less than enamored of the house at first but Rodney’s promise that they would only live there for one year sealed the deal. Three renovations later (including a late 1980s third story addition of a large office and family/guest room with ten skylights), the Weihers are still enjoying their home. The first floor kitchen and adjacent living room with gas fireplace and enormous skylights, opens out onto the garden. This is Claudine’s pride and joy, as she explained with great certainty, “I am a gardener.” Come Mother’s Day weekend, both the house and the garden will be in full effect.
|Stop 9: 911 East Capitol Street, SE
The amazingly restored home of Jane Nuland and ANC Commissioner Ken Jarboe, also will be on view. Meticulous care of period pieces – such as the gas chandeliers and unique tiered shutters highlight this gorgeous family home. Built in 1894, the house has many clever built-ins and design features, including the radiator covers in the kitchen that are incorporated into the cabinets. There are fireplaces on each floor with mantles that in some instances are reflective of the large front parlour mantle that was carefully reassembled and restored.
|Stop 10: 900 South Carolina, SE
The four bay building at the corner of Ninth and South Carolina was constructed in 1870 as a store on the ground floor with a residence above, entered through the northern door on Ninth Street. The southern front of the building sports two glass store windows that were added at a later date. From the beginning the house served as a grocery store, with the upstairs and the back rooms as the home for the proprietors of the store. Eventually a building was added to the north which now serves as a dining room on the first floor and as an additional bedroom on the second. A further addition of a single floor with a shed roof provides space for a recently modernized kitchen. Roy and Kris purchased the property in 2001 and have maintained the store portion as a non-profit arts program while living in the residential portion.
|Stop 11: Christ Church, 620 G Street, SE
Sunday (Mother's Day) Tea,
2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Special jitneys will leave Christ Church hourly beginning at 12:45 pm for guided tours of Historic Congressional Cemetery which will celebrate its 200th anniversary May 19.
|Stop 12: Community Building of the Townhomes on Capitol Hill, 750 6th Street, SE
Saturday Tour Reception, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
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