The wing was built in 2017 on the garden lot next to the original 1887 house and was joined with it to form a U-shaped building. Although the exterior mimics the older home and maintains the look of D.C.’s Logan Circle historic district, the interior goes in a different direction.
“This side was always intended to be modern and very open,” said architect Michael Beidler of Trout Design Studio, who worked on the project with the developer, Matt Shkor of Potomac Construction Group.
The apartment is spacious, with two levels inside and one outside. It has three bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom. In addition to a main living area with a gas fireplace, it has a family room on the second level. The approximately 800-square-foot private roof deck, which is on the third (outside) level, has views of the Washington Monument. The unit also has direct elevator access and garage parking for two cars.
But what sets it apart is the glass box that encases the stairs to the roof deck. As it turns out, the glass box wasn’t in the original plans for roof access, which went through several iterations.
“When we designed the building initially, there was a spiral staircase that went from this level, this unit, down to the ground,” Beidler said. “It was going to be quicker access to get them down to their parking space.”
But the fire department balked at the spiral staircase and made the developer remove it from this unit down to the lower levels while allowing it to remain to access the roof deck.
“You went out a single door, out to a landing, and up the spiral staircase on the back of the building, which was terrifying,” Beidler said.
Because the buyer wasn’t keen on the exposed staircase, Beidler proposed a solution.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we put a glass box on the back of the house, and then you have a comfortable enclosed way to get up there,’ ” he said.
After receiving approval from the historic district, a glass box was added around the spiral staircase. But then the deal between that buyer and the developer fell through. The new buyer didn’t want the spiral staircase and wanted more light from outdoors to come into the unit.
“I said no problem we can put a real staircase in there,” Beidler said.
Now a steel structure forms the spine of the stairs, and the mahogany-clad steps cantilever off that spine.
“The steel treads are encased in wood to give it a much softer appeal,” Beidler said. “Then we put lighting under the treads and put a glass partition in the center. That stainless-steel railing that goes up ties to the stainless-steel railing that’s inside” the unit.
Not only do the glass and steel echo the finishes inside the apartment, but the mahogany is also in sympathy with the roof deck.
“The upper deck material comes down through that staircase,” he said. “When you are in the second floor of that unit and you look through, it gives you just a hint of what is coming upstairs.”
Beidler also added large glass folding doors to the stairs that allow natural light to flood the space.
“That staircase is so beautiful, when the doors are open, it’s really part of the living space that goes up to the roof deck,” he said. “There is a retractable glass roof on top that protects it from the weather.”
On the roof, the mahogany deck had to be reinforced to withstand the weight of the absolute black marble countertop, with a leather finish, on the island and cooking area. A steel structure holds in place sails that provide shade.
“The sails, they can handle 120-mph winds,” Beidler said. “We’re high enough to get over the rooftops of a lot of the buildings on Logan Circle, so you’ve got a great view of the Mall from the top deck.”
Even though the stairs ended up being nothing like what he first designed them to be, Beidler said he is more than pleased with how they turned out.
“When you are in the unit and the doors are open and you have that staircase beckoning to you to come up the stairs, it’s such a lovely moment because that stair is really sculptural,” he said. “We were able to create this piece of sculpture for the apartment that’s this beautiful functional thing.”
The three-bedroom, four-bathroom, 2,578-square-foot condo is listed at just under $2.7 million.
Listing agent: Kay McGrath King, Washington Fine Properties.
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