Converted Victorian on multifamily market in D.C. for $3.8 million


This Victorian house, in D.C.’s U Street corridor, is something of a time capsule — built in 1890, with a location shaped by 19th-century streetcar routes and period details inside that survived the conversion from a single-family mansion into a three-unit multifamily building.

Arline Cooper bought the four-level house at 1824 13th St. in 1983, attracted to the woodwork, high ceilings, plaster cornices and hardwood floors. “It was just so much natural beauty that I’ve never seen anywhere else,” she said.

The house, on the market for $3.8 million, has a relatively long history but not much is known about it. When Cooper moved in, she found documents indicating that a postmaster general (head of the postal service) had lived in the house. “They were so old they practically disintegrated in my hands,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you more if you made me.”

Cooper has lived there for more than four decades, downsizing over time by converting it into three units. Why move, she figured, when you can shrink your space and rent the excess? A carriage house on the property was turned into a fourth unit.

During the renovations, Cooper preserved such original details as hand-carved pocket doors, oak staircase paneling, staircase balusters, fireplace mantels, antique tiles, and interior molding and trim. She also updated some rooms, including the kitchens, where she had stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops and marble floors installed.

When Cooper bought the property, the carriage house was unfinished. At first, she used it as a garage, but she gradually converted it to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit with a garage.

The property’s four units now share a brick patio and a garden landscaped to protect the occupants’ privacy. Each unit is metered separately for gas and electricity. But the units could revert to single-family status, Cooper said.

Two units have space on the Victorian’s main and lower levels, about 3,100 square feet total. The building’s foyer leads to a lobby that has entrances to the two units and an oak staircase with hand-carved balusters, hand rails and posts. Both units have a living room on the main level and two bedrooms on the lower level. One has a kitchen on the lower level, and the other has a kitchen on the main level. Each has a bathroom on the lower level.

The largest unit in the main house — about 2,500 square feet — takes up the second and third floors. The staircase in the lobby leads to the entrance, which opens to a sitting room. This level also has a kitchen, a dining room, a bathroom and a bedroom or another sitting room, with a balcony. On the top level, the primary bedroom has a fireplace. This level also has a den, a bathroom, another bedroom or sitting area and a balcony.

The semidetached carriage house has an entrance from a veranda. The primary bedroom is on the main level, with an en suite bathroom. The second floor has a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom. The carriage house also has a one-car garage.


1824 13th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 7/4 in the main house; 2/2 in the carriage house
  • Approximate square-footage: 5,600 in the main house; 1,150 in the carriage house
  • Lot size: 2,503 square feet
  • Features: This 1890 Victorian was converted from a single-family mansion to part of a multifamily property with four units, three in the main house and one in the carriage house. The property includes four decks, plus a one-car garage in the carriage house.
  • Listing agent: Molly Branson and Jocelyn Vas, RLAH Real Estate

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