Although the apartment buildings were under historic preservation restrictions, but the developer was allowed to expand the windows to maximize park views for every front-facing residence. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

No matter how much residents love city living, there’s no question that an urban residence that has a park view with foliage changing every season offers the best of both worlds.

Two former apartment buildings have been renovated and combined into Lawrence House, a 30-unit condo complex that overlooks Meridian Hill Park in Northwest Washington. The apartment buildings were under historic preservation restrictions, but the developer, Madison Investments, was able to expand the windows to maximize park views for every front-facing residence.

“Our original plan for the redevelopment of these buildings was more modern, but the Historic Preservation Board required us to restore most of the exterior,” says Madison Investments founder Barry Madani. “We were able to do what we wanted with the interiors of the buildings, so we focused on adding green features, open floor plans in the homes and plenty of efficient storage.”

The hallways, stairwells and lobby have custom-made carpeting, wallpaper and lighting. The front entrance, the interior courtyard and the green roof have been professionally designed by Botanical Decorators.

“I like to develop buildings where people will be proud to bring their family and friends home,” Madani says.

Prime location yet quiet: Lawrence House consists of 26 one-bedroom, one-bath residences, two two-bedroom, one-bath units and two penthouses, each with two bedrooms, a den and three baths. Madani says the focus on one-bedroom units is partly a function of the structural constraints of working with existing buildings. In addition, he says, there are typically more buyers looking for a one-bedroom residence or a very large two-bedroom unit rather than a smaller two-bedroom, one-bath condo.

Tom McCarthy, who rented a studio apartment at City Market at O until a few weeks ago, said he liked the modern style of his residence but wanted to buy instead of rent so that he could start building equity in a property.

“I looked around for about a month and saw Lawrence House while it was still under construction,” McCarthy says. “My one-bedroom place has about 627 square feet, but it has an open floor plan and has been designed to maximize the space. A lot of other places I looked at in my price range felt cramped.”

Residents have access to the landscaped courtyard and to a rooftop deck with a grill, seating areas and both park and city views.

Other amenities are the view of Meridian Hill Park, which McCarthy has even from his first-floor unit, and the location one block from restaurants, shopping and nightlife on 14th Street. Michael Hines, a realty agent with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, points out that 15th Street is a one-way street, so few commuters use it, making it a quiet nook in the midst of a vibrant part of the city.


The kitchen in the penthouse opens to a living and dining area, which faces the park. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Built-in organizers: The condos within Lawrence House have different configurations because of the structure of the original buildings. The building is 50 percent sold, with one of the two-bedroom residences and both of the large penthouse units still available.

Unit 201, a one-bedroom residence priced at $479,900, has 627 square feet and a monthly condo fee of $286.

This unit has an open floor plan with a coat closet, a closet with a full-size stacked washer and dryer, and a door to the bathroom off the foyer. The open kitchen includes stainless-steel appliances and has a view across the living and dining area into the park. The bedroom has a wall of windows facing the park, two closets with built-in organizers and a private door to the full bathroom.

Unit 302, a two-bedroom residence priced at $599,900, has 843 square feet and a monthly condo fee of $381. This residence has a similar open floor plan as Unit 201. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and a private door to the full bathroom, which is also accessible from the living area. Both bedrooms have windows on two sides.

The two penthouse units, priced at $1,299,900 and $1,349,900, each have 1,474 square feet and a monthly condo fee of $667. These two units each have a private rooftop deck on two separate corners of the roof, and each has a parking space.


Each unit has an open floor plan with walls of windows, walnut flooring, contemporary-style floating vanities in the bathrooms and Porcelanosa tile flooring in the bathrooms. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Each unit has a powder room, a laundry closet with a side-by-side washer and dryer and a coat closet off the foyer. The kitchen includes a center island, a pantry and upgraded stainless-steel appliances. The kitchen opens to the living and dining area, which face the park.

Adjacent to the living area is a den with glass doors and two walls of windows. The front bedroom, which faces the park, has a walk-in closet and a full bath with a double-sink vanity and a combination tub and shower. The back bedroom has a wall of closets and a private full bath with an oversize shower.

What’s nearby: Residents can go directly across the street to enjoy Meridian Hill Park, an oasis in the city with fountains, benches, paths and grassy lawns that fill with joggers, yoga classes and a drum circle on Sundays.

One block to the east is 14th Street, where residents can walk to restaurants such as Le Diplomate, Kapnos, Lupo Verde and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace or shop at West Elm, Room & Board or Trader Joe’s. Multiple fitness centers are in the neighborhood, along with theaters, bars and art galleries.

Schools: Marie Reed Elementary, Columbia Heights Education Campus, Cardozo High

Transit: The building is about a half mile to U Street Metro station for Green and Yellow line service. There are numerous bus routes on 16th Street (S1, S2, S4 and S9), 14th Street (52,53,54) and on U Street (90, 93, 96 and X3).


Residents have access to a landscaped courtyard and to a rooftop deck with a grill, seating areas and both park and city views. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)
Lawrence House

2331 15th St. NW, Washington

The condos are priced from $354,000 to $1,349,900.

Builder: Madison Investments

Features: Each unit has an open floor plan with walls of windows, walnut flooring, stainless-steel appliances, stone counters, custom-designed European cabinetry in the kitchen, contemporary-style floating vanities in the bathrooms, Porcelanosa tile flooring in the bathrooms and a stacked washer and dryer. Only the two penthouse units have parking spaces.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 1 or 2 / 1 or 3

Square footage: 606 to 1,474

Condominium association fees: $286 to $667 per month

View models: Open Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

Contact: Michael Anderson Hines with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty at 202-882-7253 or 202-379-5868 or visit www.lawrencehousedc.com.