Posted on The Washington Post Written by Audrey Hoffer | September 27, 2019 at 6:30 am UTC
Melissa and Justen Knight were ensconced in their Mount Vernon Square rental apartment one late August evening imagining life in their recently acquired new home.
That would be a townhouse in Portrait Square on Seventh Street in Brookland, a quiet, modest residential neighborhood of small single-family houses, three-story apartment buildings and new multiunit construction in Northeast Washington.
Actually the structure still has to be built, but the layout and features are chosen and the couple are excited about moving into their first home.
“We were only casually shopping because we didn’t want to move till the spring, but when we stumbled on the model for Portrait Square, we took a look,” Justen Knight said.
Portrait Square will comprise 22 four-story townhouses in four groupings on a lot next to Holy Redeemer College at 3112 Seventh St. NE. Madison Homes, the builder, bought the lot from the Redemptorists.
“The college building goes back to the 1920s. It was used largely as a home for students studying for the priesthood,” said Russ Rosenberger, president and founder of Madison Homes.
“We wanted the facade and architecture of our townhouses to complement the college, so we were conscious of our brick and siding selection,” he said. The townhouse exterior fronts are a mix of reddish, tan and rust-colored bricks and they visually match the college.
‘Sleek and modern’: The slightly more than one-acre property is in the early development stage. One block or grouping of five townhouses — those facing Seventh Street — is complete, and foundations for three other blocks of townhouses are laid. There will be a landscaped courtyard between the middle two groupings.
The Knights’ home, which they hope to move into next spring, will be in one of the groupings off Seventh Street.
“We love things that are clean-lined. Portrait Square is super sleek and modern,” Melissa Knight said.
Two models are offered — Halsman with 16-feet-wide interior units and Newton with 18-feet-wide end units. Halsman model Unit 3056 opens from a front stoop into a small room designed to be an office but that can be configured for any purpose.
Up one flight is the open-plan living area. The kitchen is on one end of the floor with glass doors leading to an optional deck, a center island with sink and dishwasher and the stove and refrigerator against the wall. A dining table is in the center. Three vertical windows frame the living room on the opposite end. “We liked that the home was customizable,” Melissa Knight said. “We chose to install a fireplace in the living room.”
The third floor is bookended by two bedrooms. One bathroom opens from the hallway. The owner’s bathroom opens from their bedroom.
The fourth level offers a loft lounge that opens to a roof terrace plus a third bedroom and bathroom. “We’ll put in a wet bar up there so we don’t have to keep going downstairs to get the important things,” she said
Pre-wires for laundry appliances are in a closet opposite the bathroom. A tankless water heater means you can have the dishwasher and multiple showers going at the same time, Rosenberger said.
Nearby: The Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market showcases more than two dozen art studios and invites people to look around or buy artwork.
The Brookland Monroe Street farmers market takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until early winter along the Arts Walk. Busboys and Poets is a cafe, restaurant, bookstore and place to hang out.
The colorful Dance Place building offers children’s and adult classes in every dance form you can think of.
Schools: Noyes Elementary, Brookland Middle, Dunbar High.
Transit: Brookland-CUA on the Red Line is in walking and biking distance. There are 10 bike racks and 16 lockers. The Maryland-District border is several blocks to the east. Monroe Street, a wide residential thoroughfare crosses through Brookland east and west. Michigan Avenue runs along the northern boundary of Brookland; Rhode Island Avenue runs along the southern boundary; South Dakota Avenue is on the east; and Michigan Avenue is to the west.