Why a condo and not a house? “I’m from Puerto Rico, where we live in condos because that’s what’s in the best parts of town, on the beach,” she says. Also, “If something goes wrong, I want to call someone and they come up and fix it the same day.”
The three-bedroom, three-bath condo she bought for $2.1 million in 22 West Residence — at about $900 per square foot, one of the most expensive condo projects in D.C. — met Shapiro’s criteria: It had a bedroom and private bath for her daughter, more than 2,300 square feet of space, walls of floor-to-ceiling windows for good natural light and a roof deck with a pool. But it also had one other desirable thing: Even though it was brand new, Shapiro’s unit needed remodeling to meet her needs. Yes, a new project, which cost her an additional $65,000 but met her needs completely.
The condominium building occupies a vaguely triangular block bordered by 22nd Street, New Hampshire Avenue and M Street. M meets New Hampshire at a sharp angle, and the building follows this contour. When Shapiro first visited the condo that became hers — dubbed, small surprise, the Point — she looked at the pointy end of the large living room, looming over M Street traffic. “I liked that corner. I said, ‘That’s where the dining room is going to be.’”
That’s not where it was on the official floor plan. The dining area was at the end of more than 30 feet of living space running east to west along New Hampshire Avenue. Adjacent was an open kitchen, set into an angled wall of sleek white Poggenpohl cabinets and separated from the living area by a Kashmir-marble-topped island. The whole area, Shapiro thought, was too cavernous for her needs.
By contrast, the master bedroom, at the far end of that long space, was cramped and inadequate. With a door to her bathroom on one wall and those enormous windows opposite, the two remaining walls had to accommodate a bed facing a row of closets, with no place to install a television set for watching in bed. As originally configured, there was barely room for bedside tables or a chest of drawers.
A designer’s plan
Shapiro consulted with Florencia de las Gradillas and her BST Design group, and an idea evolved, complicated but logical. At the end of the open-plan living room was a succession of small spaces: a 16-foot-long dining area, a 12-foot-long third bedroom with its own full bath, and the master bedroom, 18 feet wide but only 12 feet long. The dining area, third bedroom and the bath were all reconfigured, their borrowed space added to the master bedroom.