Kipling House near Barracks Row is new condo with views of river, monuments


By Michele Lerner for The Washington Post

After living together for several years in an apartment in the District’s NoMa neighborhood and more than a decade in the Washington area, Cedric Goddevrind and Mariel Maier knew exactly where they hoped to buy their first home: Barracks Row on Capitol Hill.

“We both work downtown near Metro Center, but we love the Barracks Row neighborhood,” Maier says. “We like the rowhouses on the residential streets, the restaurants and the fact that you can walk to Nationals Park for baseball games.”

The couple had looked informally online and checked out resale and newly built condos before they heard about Kipling House, a 49-unit, four-story condo built by Madison Investments at 900 11th St. SE.

“We didn’t necessarily have to buy a new place, but we also wanted to avoid renovations since this is our first time buying a home,” Goddevrind says.

The couple purchased a one-bedroom unit with a den, a full bathroom and a powder room.

Kipling House, built on the site of the former Capitol Hill Auto Service, was designed by PGN Architects, with interior design by Akseizer Design Group. The units are designed with two color palettes, one with a darker floor and darker cabinets, the other with lighter flooring and cabinets.

“We wanted a mix of one- and two-bedroom units with generous sizes and a broad price range so they could work for first-time buyers and for downsizing couples,” says Barry Madani, co-founder of Madison Investments.

River views:
The units have more closets than many new condos and were built with triple-pane windows for energy efficiency and noise reduction. The condo is very close to the Southeast Freeway, which is convenient for drivers but can be noisy when the windows are open.

“This is the first big project to go into that neighborhood and we saw it as a great opportunity,” Madani says. “You’re only two blocks from all the restaurants on Barracks Row but it’s a little away from it, in its own pocket.”

In addition to the location, the prime amenity at Kipling House is a large roof deck with views of the Anacostia River, the Washington Monument, the Library of Congress and the Capitol building.

“The roof deck can hold more than 150 people, so we designed it with several areas,” says Jake Greenhouse, development manager of Madison Investments. “The grilling area has dining tables and then we’ll have a wet bar, an area with lounge chairs and other sections with couches and chairs. There are little nooks up here, too, where we’ll put in a smaller table and chairs.”

The roof also has a marble bathroom.

Another deck off the second floor will have a fire pit, a grill and seating areas. A few of the units on that level have private patios with cedar fencing.

“We deliberately chose cedar fences instead of metal railings to separate the patios so that each residence with a patio has more privacy,” Greenhouse says.

Living there:
Although only some units have private balconies and patios, each has an open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Unit 111, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence with 1,318 square feet, is priced at $769,900, with a monthly condo fee of $483. The bedrooms, each with an attached full bathroom and a walk-in closet, are on either side of the open living and dining area and kitchen. This corner unit includes a private terrace.

Unit 104, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom residence with 781 square feet, is priced at $484,900, with a condo fee of $287. This corner unit has two closets in the foyer and two walls of glass that wrap around the open living and dining area and the bedroom. The bedroom includes a walk-in closet, a closet with a stacked washer and dryer, and a large bathroom.

“All the fourth-floor units have balconies,” Greenhouse says. “The units on the levels below them have a little extra interior space.”

Unit 403, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom residence with 1,298 square feet, is priced at $949,900, with a condo fee of $483. This condo has a balcony with views of the Washington Monument that wraps around the living and dining area, as well as a second balcony off the master bedroom. The second bedroom has two closets plus a linen closet in the bathroom, which also is accessible from the hall.

Unit 404, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom residence with 631 square feet and a balcony, is priced at $479,900, with a condo fee of $231. This top-floor unit has views of the Washington Monument from the balcony. The bedroom has two closets and the bathroom has a double-sink vanity.

More than half of the units at Kipling House have been sold.

Building amenities:
Kipling House includes an elevator to each floor and to the roof deck. A high-tech system in the lobby has bins of varying sizes and security codes generated individually so that residents can retrieve their packages at their convenience.

Garage parking is available, with 22 spaces priced at $35,000 each. The garage also includes bike storage. Five surface parking spaces also are available, priced at $27,500.

What’s nearby:
Kipling House residents can walk to Eastern Market’s shops and restaurants, Yards Park, restaurants at the Navy Yard and on Barracks Row. Some of the city’s most popular restaurants can be found in the area, including Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple and Pearls, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Acqua Al 2 and Montmartre. District Donuts, Pererine Espresso and the Pretzel Bakery are also nearby, along with grocery stores and drugstores.

“We love being able to walk to different neighborhoods,” Goddevrind says. “Eventually the 11th Street Bridge project will add even more to the neighborhood.”

Tyler Elementary, Jefferson Middle School Academy and Eastern High.

Eastern Market, Potomac Avenue and Stadium Armory Metro stations are all within one mile of Kipling House. The area is also served by several bus routes.

Kipling House

900 11th St. SE, Washington

The condos are priced from $384,900 to $949,900.

Madison Investments

Each unit has an open floor plan with wood flooring, quartz countertops, two-toned wood kitchen cabinets, stainless-steel appliances, gas stove, stone countertops in the bathrooms, a coat closet, a stacked washer and dryer, and floor-to-ceiling triple-pane windows. Many of the units have a private balcony or deck.

one or two / one or two

Square footage:
About 550 to 1,368

Condominium association fees:
$189 to $499 per month, including gas and water

View models:
Open by appointment

Call Craig Souza at 202-368-7229 or David Klimas at 202-431-1272, both with McWilliams Ballard, or visit


How Developers Sell the Promise of a Luxury Lifestyle

To sell out new condo developments faster and for more money, developers carefully curate model units in ways that go far beyond mere staging.

By Alina Dizik for The Wall Street Journal

When potential buyers tour a model luxury apartment in West New York, N.J., they can plop on the couch or grab sparkling water from the fridge. They can’t, however, brush their teeth with the electric toothbrush or scrub the toilet with the marble-clad brush next to it—none of the plumbing fixtures work. But it’s homey touches like these that make a model unit feel “lived in”—and help make a sale.

“You want customers to daydream a little bit. Everyone always buys what they see,” says Alexander Hovnanian, developer of Nine on the Hudson, a 13-story luxury-condo project to be completed this year, with units ranging from about $675,000 to $6 million.

To close the deal in a competitive condo market, developers carefully curate model units in ways that go far beyond mere staging. Custom-designed closets, one-of-a-kind artwork, designer light fixtures and brand-name luxury goods are strategically chosen to sell the promise of a lavish lifestyle that comes with a luxury apartment. At times, the model units are created in showrooms far from building sites still abuzz with construction cranes and crews.

 In Washington, D.C., developer Andy VanHorn says he spent ‘hundreds of thousands’ of dollars to outfit three model units at the historic Wardman Tower. Here’s a living room in one of the models.PHOTO: AKSEIZER DESIGN GROUP/JBG SMITH

In Washington, D.C., developer Andy VanHorn says he spent ‘hundreds of thousands’ of dollars to outfit three model units at the historic Wardman Tower. Here’s a living room in one of the models.PHOTO: AKSEIZER DESIGN GROUP/JBG SMITH

Condos typically sell faster or for more money when potential buyers can see completed models and not just computer renderings viewed online, says developer Andy VanHorn, who adds he spent “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to outfit three units at the historic Wardman Tower in Washington, D.C. Before 32 units in the landmark building were completely restored in 2016, prospects could see a model unit with herringbone floors, Thermador kitchen appliances and spa-like master bath—features that help up the selling price, says Mr. VanHorn, executive vice president of JBG Smith. “As models are delivered, people pay more.” Prices at Wardman Tower range from $2.5 million to $9 million.

To target specific demographics, developers make sure to create various décor styles, often working with multiple interior designers. In smaller units, pared-down modern furnishings with brighter colors typically appeal to younger buyers, while larger units often use more traditional interiors to draw in buyers who are downsizing from a larger home, says Highlyann Krasnow, principal at the Design High, a New York interior-design firm specializing in new construction.

“We make some assumptions,” says Ms. Krasnow, who adds that the process can take six months and can cost $100,000 or more.

In some cases, the units may be sold as completely unfinished raw space, with the models just an example of what can be done. In other cases, the model unit gives buyers a look at the fixtures and finishes that will be available in all of the units in the building. Some buyers opt to purchased furnished models.

In smaller units, carving out a dining area from the main living space increases interest, even if condo owners skip the formal space, Ms. Krasnow has learned. She often uses light-colored marble in kitchen and bathroom areas, even though “it’s not the most durable.”

In each project, she works to highlight the room layout, the use of high-end flooring or extras, such as surround sound or motorized window shades. Furniture and wall colors are somewhat neutral to appeal to a wider swath of potential buyers. “Even if that’s a little boring for you, you are not offended by it,” she says.

Developers say models help smooth over a unit’s potential shortcomings, including odd or small layouts, street noise or lack of natural light, says Mr. VanHorn. This year, the Wardman developer turned an extra-wide prewar-style corridor into a “gallery” with multiple seating areas and custom art pieces to help buyers imagine how to furnish the $9.9 million penthouse unit. The model helped highlight the vintage layouts, where “not everything is exactly perfect,” he says.

Walking through a model unit may speed up a buying decision because it evokes feelings of happiness, says Stephen Conroy, an economics professor at the University of San Diego who studies real-estate amenities.

Rather than looking at the unit on paper, the experience of seeing and feeling the various finishes evokes “an emotion that’s going to enter into the buying decision,” he says. While model-unit purchases are not tracked by real-estate services, 31% of buyer’s agents say that staging a home increases its value by 1% to 5%, according to a 2017 survey of 1,894 agents by the National Association of Realtors.

For Alan Pellegrini, chief executive of an aerospace company, walking through a model at Westlight, a 71-unit luxury condo building in Washington, D.C., helped him realize that he would be cramped in the unit he had in mind. He paid “a couple hundred thousand” to swap the two-bedroom he already had under contract for a similar condo in the same building but with a den that he plans to turn into a library. “When you see the model, it shows the potential,” he says. Mr. Pellegrini, 54 years old, declined to disclose the price he paid for his unit, but two-bedroom apartments in at Westlight range from $1.26 million to $2.7 million.

After 12 years in a single-family home, Rebecca Schumacher and Guido Piccinini weren’t sure they could downsize to condo living. But after viewing the model units at the Pacific, a 76-unit building, in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, the couple was convinced. The couple purchased a corner unit and moved in this year, creating a formal dining area out of one of their three bedrooms. The model units were designed with marble slab kitchen counters, modern moldings and custom headboards to fit the master bedrooms. “They all felt like home despite being smaller spaces,” says Ms. Schumacher, 66, a real-estate agent. Ms. Schumacher would not disclose sales price, but a similar unit is listed for $4.87 million, according to Redfin.

Choosing the right brands to display in the models is key, says Maile Aguila, senior vice president of residential sales at Swire Properties . This Hong Kong-based developer is behind Brickell City Centre, a mixed-use development in Miami. Potential buyers need to be familiar enough with the designs to feel as if they are walking into their home, says Ms. Aguila. When completed, many of the 390 residences at Brickell City Centre will have interiors created by the Brazillian furnishings brand Artefacto, which is familiar to the area’s South American buyers, she says. Many of the units are purchased furnished, she adds, and typically add roughly 12% to 15% to the sale price. Units at Brickell City Centre range from about $650,000 to $6 million.

Viewing the model in Manhattan View at MiMA, a 147-unit luxury building in New York’s Hudson Yards, made a difference for Claudine Prowse, a 44-year-old biotech executive. She was impressed by the “smart use of space” in a one-bedroom unit that she didn’t think allowed for a dining room. Instead, the one-bedroom model unit showed a computer desk on the same wall as her flat-screen television and created a built-in dining nook from an unused corner near the kitchen. Units at Manhattan View range from $1.595 million to $6.45 million. The model “was so functional and cozy,” says Ms. Prowse, who paid $2.3 million for the unit. After signing the contract, “I literally stole the exact ideas.”