Condo Project Feels at Home Next to D.C. Historic District
By Audrey Hoffer
April 14, 2020 at 6:30 a.m. EDT
In the Dupont Circle area of Northwest Washington, a line runs down the middle of N Street marking the southern boundary of a D.C. historic district. Buildings on the north side of the street are protected by strict regulations governing demolition and exterior alterations. Those on the south side are not.
Pacifica, a newly built nine-unit condominium at 2122 N, between 21st and 22nd streets, is on the south side of the street. Nevertheless, J Street Cos. still had to satisfy local authorities and respond to angry neighborhood residents on its way to replacing a pair of aging rowhouses there with new construction.
“We explained that our intention was to create a structure much nicer than what existed,” said Bruce Baschuk, chairman of J Street. “The two townhouses weren’t attractive.”
The company turned to GTM Architects
“We were conscious of the appearance of the buildings across the street and the uniformity of the rowhouses,” said Molly Heffner, an associate at GTM. “We wanted to design a building that spoke to the historic fabric of the neighborhood.”
Wide bay windows facing N Street match those in nearby houses. At the same time, the window panes are arranged in a grid of modern slender, black metal frames. Other design elements strike a similar balance. “We designed a large cornice [decorative molding around the roofline] to make the building’s presence felt, while still allowing it to blend seamlessly with the rest of the street,” Heffner said.
Baschuk said the building had won over the opposition. “At the end of the project, the most vocal, negative individuals came up to me one-by-one to say they like it,” he said.
He also expressed confidence that the building will look good for a long time. “I told the [Advisory Neighborhood Commission] I anticipate in 30 to 40 years, they’ll designate this building because it will be worthy of historic protection,” he said. “ ‘You won’t want to tear it down,’ I predicted.”
On the inside, the model unit showcases a mix of finishes and design elements intended to make condo living feel like a single-family experience. “While many contemporary finishes were used and open concept living-dining-kitchen areas were created to appeal to today’s condo buyers,” Heffner said, “we also wanted the units to feel like single-family residences. We used a lot of trim work, with crown moldings and cased openings [framed openings without doors] to convey a sense of space and room designation.”
The entry to Unit 5 opens to a little hallway. The smaller of the two bedrooms is on one side and the master bedroom is on the left. An en suite bathroom is reached through one of two walk-in closets in the master bedroom suite.
own the hallway, the unit has another bathroom, a laundry closet and a double-door coat closet. Beyond the hallway is the open plan living space, facing N Street. The L-shaped kitchen faces the living room, and the dining room is around the corner. The living room has a stone-tile gas fireplace, which is standard in all units.
Off the dining room, there is a den with a double glass door. The space is suitable for a guest room, a nursery, a home office, a TV lounge or a dining-room extension for a large dinner party.
Nearby: The neighborhood has many restaurants and bars. There are grocery stores, drugstores, banks, liquor stores, shoe stores and museums. Inside the traffic circle, Dupont Circle has a park with a fountain that is surrounded by a wide walkway, benches, grass and trees.
Schools: Elementary and middle, School Without Walls; high, Cardozo Education Campus.
Transit: Dupont Circle is the heart of walkable Northwest Washington. Sidewalks are wide. Street parking for residents and visitors is plentiful. Bike lanes are pretty common. Dupont Circle Metro station on the Red line is two blocks from Pacifica to the north and the Farragut North Metro station, also on the Red line, is a few blocks in the other direction. Many major traffic corridors — including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut avenues — pass through the circle or run nearby.
2122 N St. NW, Washington
There are nine condominium units in the building. Three are sold. Six are for sale at prices ranging from $995,000 to $2.4 million.
Builder: J Street Cos.
Features: Each unit has a secure parking space. The units have nine-foot-high coffered ceilings and abundant closet space. Kitchens are outfitted with Viking appliances, including a 36-inch refrigerator, a 30-inch gas stove with a hood and a microwave drawer in the island. Counters and backsplash are Calacatta Vagli marble. Custom cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms have a glossy white lacquer finish, and faucets are by Waterworks. Bathroom floors and shower walls have Porcelanosa tiles. Kallista made the bathtubs and fixtures.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 to 3 / 2 to 4
Square footage: 1,200 to 2,100
Condominium association fee: About 60 cents per foot
View model: By appointment.
Contact: 202-350-2802 or thepacificalivingdc.com