William A. Greer built the stable in 1907. Greer was a building contractor and the father of Brig. Gen. Frank U. Greer, who was awarded the Silver Star during World War II. Frank inherited the building from his father and sold it in 1946.
In 1984, three men — Harry Flores, Erwin Flores and Franco Ercolano — bought the building. They converted it into a house and sold it in 1986 to Andrew Beyer, The Washington Post’s horse racing columnist from 1978 to 2016, and his wife, Susan Vallon, an interior designer.
“Susan and I put in the roof deck, lighting, grillwork on the windows and the built-ins,” Beyer wrote in an email. “It is certainly a unique house and we had a great time there. It was a perfect party house, and the white marble floor made a perfect dance floor. We had a New Year’s Eve party for 30 or more people every year.”
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Austin said, “It’s one of the few places you can really load up with folks.”
Since buying the house in 1995, Austin hasn’t added anything except new paint.
“I didn’t touch it,” Austin said. “The former owners, she was an interior decorator so she had done a pretty good job.”
The main living area has Italian marble floors, a wood-burning fireplace and 15-foot-long built-in shelving with a granite top.
The master bedroom, on the upper level, has hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and a wood-burning fireplace. The master bathroom has a separate spa tub, shower and bidet. A spiral staircase leads to the roof deck.
In addition to its unusual design, the house is on an unusually named street, Walter Houp Court, which is a one-block former alley between Constitution Avenue and Lincoln Park, bookended by 11th and 12th streets NE.
According to the blog “The Hill is Home,” a couple who lived on the street were trying to come up with an appropriate name for it and turned to Capitol Hill historian Ruth Ann Overbeck. During her extensive research, she came across the name Walter Houp, one of the land patentees, or original owners, in what became the District. Houp didn’t live here long. By 1700, he returned to England to work as a draper. And in some ways, that makes him an odd choice. But there was a factor strongly in his favor. As far as Overbeck could determine, Houp did not own slaves.
“Walter Houp Court was the quintessence of urban living,” Beyer wrote. “We didn’t have a blade of grass on the property. Once we borrowed AstroTurf, covered the back alley with it and invited our friends to a ‘garden party.’ ”
The house has an attached one-car garage, but Austin said he hardly ever took his car out of it.
“Everything is in walking distance,” he said. “To me, it was a really super location.”
The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,304-square-foot house is listed at just over $1 million. An open house is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Listing agent: Leigh Slaughter, Long & Foster
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