House of the Week | Dupont row house for $1.399 million

Most historical homes come with at least a few downsides — for starters, limited closet space in the bedrooms, no bathroom on the main living level and insufficient natural light. A house’s history, no matter how interesting, doesn’t always make up for these inconveniences.

Occasionally a property comes along where contemporary living isn’t sacrificed for a distinguished past. This Dupont Circle row house not only can boast that it was home to two statesmen — former Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz each called it home — but it also offers modern amenities.

In his book, “Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World,” James Chance quoted Acheson describing the street where the house is located as being at the time “a slightly Walt Disney impression of a twelfth-century Normandy village.”

Acheson and his wife Alice often entertained in the home. One of their more memorable guests was novelist Sinclair Lewis. Their son David was born in the home in 1921.

After the Achesons moved to Georgetown, Lutz lived in the home. A plaque outside the home commemorating his residence was dedicated in a ceremony attended by the Hungarian ambassador almost three years ago. Lutz emigrated from Switzerland to the United States when he was 18. He initially lived in the Midwest before moving to Washington, where he took a job with the Swiss legation while working toward a bachelor’s degree at George Washington University.

It was for his later work as Swiss vice-consul in Budapest during World War II that Lutz is most known. He rescued thousands of Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps by issuing protective letters and establishing 76 safe houses throughout the city. The tactic of issuing protective letters was later adopted by other neutral government officials in Budapest, including Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg.

For his efforts, Lutz was recognized by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations, an honorific bestowed on non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from the Nazis.

The four-level home was built in 1900 and has been extensively renovated over the years. About two years ago, the owners undertook a $100,000 renovation on the master suite.

The suite, which takes up the entire fourth floor, has a large skylight that floods the space with natural light. A walk-in closet with Elfa shelving is one of three closets in the suite. The bathroom features porcelain tiles and a spa shower with five shower heads, including a ceiling-mounted rainfall shower head.

Two of the four bedrooms in the home are on the third floor.

“All of the bedrooms are very large bedrooms,” said listing agent Jennifer Knoll of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. “Also, which is extremely, extremely unusual for a house of this period, all of the bedrooms have huge closets.”

A large bay window and a wood-burning fireplace are the focal points of the main living area, which is on the second floor. Also on that floor is a powder room, another rare feature in an older home. A spacious outdoor deck provides an ample outdoor entertaining space.

The first floor of the home, with its own separate entrance, kitchen, laundry and fireplace, can be a rental unit.

“There’s an exceptional amount of space in this home,” Knoll said.”You wouldn’t think so from the outside possibly, but it’s much bigger than most of the homes in the area.”

A parking space in an underground garage at a building nearby is deeded to the home. There are also two spaces available to rent close by. The Dupont Circle Metro station is less than two blocks away.

The home is on the market for $1,399,900. An open house is scheduled for Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Listing: 1828 Corcoran St. NW

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Do you have a home that deserves to be the House of the Week? Send an e-mail to ortonk@washpost.com.

 

 

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.
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Kathy Orton · May 16, 2013