Published in The Washington Post. By Michele Lerner.
Washington, while not known for warehouses or industrial spaces that can be adapted for residential use, has a few buildings such as former schools, houses of worship and theaters that serve as shells for innovative redevelopment.
Now the Laundry, a former commercial laundry built in 1926, has been converted into six contemporary condominium units, each designed with a nod to the former industrial use.
The Laundry, at 732 15th St. SE in the Hill East neighborhood, includes a restored facade of the original structure and a new interior. After its development by Willco Residential, the original one-story building has three levels, with two units on each level and a roof deck for each of the penthouses.
“The builders are known for their work in urban spaces, so they wanted to keep the industrial vibe with exposed ductwork and very clean lines in the finishes and fixtures,” says Lynn Tsao, a sales agent with Urban Pace. “They decided to make the ceilings extremely high to maximize the size of the windows and the sense of space.”
Tsao says the builders designed the units for “smart living” by maximizing storage in every possible space. The water heater is in a small closet high on the wall so that the space below can be used for storage. Pocket doors and other sliding doors maximize floor space in each unit.
Bluetooth-synced shower: Although the smallest residence, Unit 1 on the first floor, occupies just 593 square feet, the space feels larger because of its 11-foot-high ceilings and a full wall of windows with glass doors leading to a patio. Priced at $349,900, this unit has an open floor plan with a living and dining area adjacent to the patio and a kitchen with a large island with open shelving, stainless steel appliances, quartz counters and sleek, white cabinets.
A sliding industrial-style door with a glass transom above leads into the bedroom, which has a walk-in closet. A pocket door leads to the bathroom, which has a deep combination tub and shower with a shower head that can be synced with a Bluetooth speaker. Nearby are a coat closet and a closet with a full-size, stacked washer and dryer.
The two-bedroom units, each on the penthouse level, are priced at $699,900. Each has 977 square feet with a 20-foot-high ceiling in the living area and two levels. The main level has an open floor plan with a kitchen, living and dining area.
Along the entrance hall are a double-door coat closet and a closet with a full-size, stacked washer and dryer. This level also has a bedroom with a walk-in closet and a door to a full bath that also is accessible for guests from the hall. Hardwood stairs lead to the second level, which has a loft bedroom overlooking the living area on the first floor. Adjacent to the bedroom are a walk-in closet and a full bath with an oversized shower. Other stairs lead to a private roof deck with views of the Washington Monument, the Capitol and the Anacostia River.
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