“I thought I wanted the suburban dream,” he said. “I hated it.”
Foley, a chef, didn’t like having to drive everywhere, and he didn’t like spending his weekends mowing his lawn and tending to a house that felt too big. After about five years, he sold the house in Springfield and moved back to Warwick Village.
A decade later, he and his family — wife Colleen Byrne, a psychologist, and two young daughters — are happily ensconced in their townhouse, and he doesn’t have any plans to move again.
“We love the neighborhood,” he said. “You can walk to everything . . . and something about the townhouse setup seems to encourage neighborliness. You see people sitting on their front steps talking.”
Those attributes, convenience and neighborliness, draw many residents to Warwick Village.
The neighborhood, which spreads over 12 hilly streets, is just a few miles south of Washington and an easy commute downtown by bus and Metro. It also borders the trendy Del Ray neighborhood. Mount Vernon Avenue — Del Ray’s lively main street, lined with shops and restaurants — is about a 10-minute walk away. Residents can also walk to five neighborhood parks, two farmers markets and other amenities.
Warwick Village includes more than 600 nearly identical brick townhouses built beginning in 1953 on what had been the Warwick estate, the country home of a wealthy D.C. businessman named Frank Hume. The townhouses were originally built as rentals. In 1970, they were converted to individual properties.
From the outside, the neighborhood’s homes are almost indistinguishable from one another, save for some different paint choices. But inside, residents have reconfigured the two-story-plus-basement brick boxes in every possible way, sometimes combining three small bedrooms into two larger ones, opening up kitchens and adding bathrooms.
“One of the nice things about the houses is that there are no interior load-bearing walls, so you can really do whatever you want,” said Jen Walker, a real estate agent with McEnearney & Associates.
Nora Mead, who moved to Warwick Village from Crystal City four years ago with her husband and two children, says that she loves how friendly the neighborhood is. Her children and her neighbors’ children play freely in one another’s front yards. On nice evenings, the grown-ups might gather, too, for an impromptu happy hour or birthday party. Mead also says she appreciates the neighborhood’s diversity: She’s from Mexico and her husband is American, and they have neighbors of a variety of races and nationalities.
“It really is perfect — the way you imagine old small-town America, but also culturally rich,” she said.