By ROBERTA GUTMAN
Special to the Blade
Capitol Hill residents are surely among the most creative and aesthetically wired residents of the District. Once again the public can see just how this creativity is expressed in at least a dozen homes on this year’s Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour.
The tour is organized as a walkable triangle (no jitney service this year), all in North East, bounded by 3rd and 11th streets and Massachusetts Avenue. Here is a sampling of the wonderful homes on the tour:
At 306 East Capitol, Unit #1 in the condo building shows how a great deal of charm can fit into a small space that combines colorful as well as soothing colors, antique carpets, art and a vintage kitchen transformed with a creative paint job.
The 1870 gray clapboard house at 317 A Street NE has only 1,700 square feet of space, but what beautiful space it is, reflecting the owners’ love of Japanese art and furnishings and other objects from their postings abroad.
The glass doors at the back of 514 Constitution Ave., built in 1884, lighten this colorful house, owned by an artist and his State Department employee wife, now retired. Paintings, wall hangings and African artifacts bedeck the walls of this two-story home, which also doubles as a B&B. Steps lead down to a beautiful garden bordered at the other end by a coach house-cum-studio.
A double treat awaits visitors to 9 and 11 East 9th St., two of four contiguous homes built in 1892 with Richardsonian sandstone facades. Only 15 feet wide, both homes nonetheless feel surprisingly open and spacious. Visitors will be intrigued by the different footprints of the first floors of both homes and their long, beautiful, but very different back gardens.
Prepare to be bowled over by the space, furnishings and gorgeous colors in the four-story, exquisitely restored home at 905 Massachusetts Ave. Built in 1909, the house has a double parlor, formal dining room, a wonderful modern kitchen, huge bedrooms and study on the second and third floors and a full basement. The home’s furnishings combine modern and antique family furnishings and a superb art collection, plus a must-see wall clock.
The Italianate Renaissance Revival home at 7th and A Streets is, quite simply, exquisite both inside and out. A diminutive but sweeping staircase leads to the second floor and the master bedroom, which contains furniture once owned by Leslie “Gone with the Wind” Howard. A built-out mini balcony looks over the back patio, a “room” in itself with soothing bubbling fountains.
The large red brick condo building facing Lincoln Park on the east end contains a unit with its own entrance, at 1020 East Capitol St. You may have peered through the long windows and doors of this first-floor unit, which once housed a People’s Drugs; now’s your chance to see this beautiful, two-story unit overlooking the park from the inside. The two bedrooms in the English basement are remarkably light and spacious.
These are only half of the beautiful homes and gardens on the tour.
The event starts with a twilight tour 5-8 p.m. on May 12, and continues from 1-5 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Tickets can be purchased at the CHRS booth at Eastern Market on Saturdays and some Sundays beginning this weekend; online at chrs.org; or at businesses listed on the website. They cost $25 in advance or $30 on the tour weekend.