Neighborly rowhouses within walking distance of a bustling arts district
By Audrey Hoffer September 7 at 7:00 AM
Brookland in Northeast Washington is one of the city’s new urban destinations. Cranes crisscross the sky, bringing up low-rise residences and commercial buildings. A Metro station is just steps from a weekend farmers market, restaurants, cafes and an art corridor packed with galleries and craft shops. And because Brookland lies in the shadow of Catholic University, it’s a bedroom community for faculty and students.
Gallery Towns is a new collection of 45 townhouses on two acres along three blocks — Seventh Street, Lancaster Street and Kenneth Street. They are walking distance to everything William and Leigh Bowman need.
“I walk to work in six minutes,” said William Bowman, newly appointed dean of the Busch School of Business and Economics at Catholic University. “We walk to mass daily at the Basilica of the National Shrine. We can invite colleagues and students to visit, and they don’t have to take a car to get here. And some of my students live down the block.”
The Bowmans moved from Boston, downsizing from 4,600 square feet. “We had nine children, but they’re all gone now,” he said, explaining why they could move to a much smaller home. Gallery Towns range from 1,900 to 2,300 square feet, yet “the house can accommodate a crowd.” One of his daughters lives in Alexandria and another in Roanoke. “They came up with their families, and we had 12 sleeping here on four weekends,” he said.
Mike Dickerson and Jen Flinn came from Takoma D.C. at the end of May. They’d looked at rowhouses and townhouses for a couple of years but never hit upon the right thing.
“We managed to come out here on a whim. We wandered through and fell in love and made our decision on the spot. We’ve actually come to like the area even more than when we looked at places,” he said.
The streetscape is urban, and the townhouses look like a contemporary version of older rowhouses across the city. “If you look at the surrounding neighborhood, you see that everyone has a front porch,” said Jennifer Felix, a community sales manager. “We took note of that and designed all units with a small front porch. It’s very neighborly.
Units are soundproof: Bozzuto built Gallery Towns, and McWilliams-Ballard is handling sales. Twenty-seven units are sold. Eighteen are for sale. “I was here 10 years ago when the neighborhood was a threatening place to be, but Bozzuto changed the character,” William Bowman said.
The four-level residences are arranged in three groupings that form a triangle around a parking courtyard. This placement confers maximum visual space and window privacy. Most homes don’t face another.
Three models — Bartlett, Benton, Calder — offer units that are 16 or 18 feet wide, with either a garage or a finished basement and back yard. The back yards are fenced and big enough to meet the District requirement that barbecue grills be 10 feet from residences. All units have at least one parking space, and a few have two. There will be 15 visitor spots.
Kitchens are on one end of the main living floor, and light pours in from three large windows. Cabinetry is flat-faced, and stoves vent out. Dining and living rooms stretch from the kitchen across to the other side of the unit.
Master suites are in the rear so street noise is at a minimum, and walls between units are soundproof. “We never hear our neighbors or the 8-week-old baby next door,” Bowman said, “though I do like babies.”
Master bedrooms can accommodate king-size beds, and there are two side-by-side closets. Master bathrooms offer a double vanity. “They’re a nice feature. I like to say they can save marriages,” Felix said. Laundry hookups are in a closet. A second bedroom and bath is on the opposite end of the unit.
The fourth-level loft can be configured as an open-space lounge and wet bar, bedroom and sitting area, media room, office or playroom. A rooftop deck is standard, and a one-or-two-sided gas fireplace is optional.
What’s nearby: Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market is a wide pedestrian street with more than three dozen studios and workshops for painting, sculpture, leather, photography, poetry and music. There are free nightly community events, including walks and talks and music and dance. Check monroestreetmarket.com/events for a schedule. Dance Place, in a colorful building designed by a local architect, offers performances and dance classes in tap, hip hop, West African, salsa, modern, flamenco and classical. Busboys and Poets is a bookstore, cafe, bar and event venue with a wide sidewalk seating area. Smith Public Trust is a multicultural communal art space and restaurant with a 40-foot-long bar made from a metal shipping container. Filter Coffeehouse and the Bike Rack are two stores in one space, so you can grab a coffee as you try out bicycles.
Schools: Brookland Education Campus @ Bunker Hill serves prekindergarten to eighth grade, and Roosevelt High @ MacFarland serves ninth to 12th grades.
Transit: Metro station Brookland-CUA on the Red Line is walking distance. There are 10 bike racks and 16 lockers. Brookland borders Maryland and is surrounded by Petworth, Columbia Heights, Trinidad and Langdon.
613 Lancaster St. NE, Washington, D.C.
The 45 four-level townhouses are priced from $799,900 to $935,900 .
Features: Exterior facades are brick in varying shades of red, and rears are covered in HardiePlank siding. A gas furnace is 92 percent high-efficiency. Windows are Jeld-Wen energy-efficient, insulated, vinyl, single-hung with screens. Door hardware is by Schlage. The interior is wired for high-speed Internet, cable and telephone. Ceilings are nine feet on three levels and eight feet on the fourth. Energy Star kitchen appliances are by Whirlpool. There are maple cabinets, quartz counters and a Kohler faucet.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 4 / 3 to 4
Square footage: 1,900 to 2,300
Homeowners association fee: $160 per month
View model: 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday
Sales: Courtney Ritter or Jennifer Felix, 202-853-1784 orgallerytownhomes.com