With its spacious gourmet kitchen, gleaming pine floors, and modern rooms filled with spirited works of art, Rich Walker’s 2,000-square-foot Logan Circle brownstone offers soothing shelter that seems far removed from the noise, crime, and distractions of city living. But 13 years ago, when Walker purchased the stately three-story building with front-facing bay windows, he realized that urban stresses were not far from home.
“When I first bought the house, the neighborhood was very sketchy,” Walker recalls. “One day I came home from work and saw yellow police tape. Someone had been shot in my front yard. Prostitutes used to be quite prevalent on the street.”
What a difference a decade-plus makes: Logan Circle is now one of DC’s most in-demand places to live, with homes commanding an average price of $1.2 million, and the hot spot is bursting with trendy boutiques and hip restaurants.
Immediately after purchasing the house, Walker, 46, embarked on a major renovation of the five-bedroom residence, which had once been a home for troubled youth. “The previous owner redid most of the plumbing and wiring, and added skylights to the second level,” Walker says of the structure, which was built in 1900. “I took the place back to its original floors and walls. Just the bones of it remained.” Then he started updating individual spaces, transforming a third-floor bedroom into a cozy media den. He added solar panels to the roof and cut his electricity bills by 25 percent.
When it came to the interior design, Walker decided to go with a trusted source: himself. The information technology specialist channeled his creative energies into decorating each of the spaces—then redecorating them when he craved a new look. “A lot of IT work is project-related,” he says, “and often it doesn’t show results for several years. My home is a canvas that allows me to try out ideas and see the results right away.”
Cost was never an issue as Walker put together the home of his dreams. “I never wanted to walk in and wish that I’d spent an extra thousand dollars,” he says. “I wanted to feel that everything I could have done, I’ve done.” So, items like textured blue swan chairs by Fritz Hansen add elegance to the master bedroom. A boldly whimsical mixed-media art piece of a roller coaster by Jason Wright, titled 1 moment 2 be young again, commands attention from its place above the mantle in the living room.
In the kitchen, a Viking range, Silestone countertops, and a swirling sculptural light by Artemide contribute to the professional, luxe feel of a space that gets plenty of use. “I like to entertain, and I like to cook. One of the things I love about the house is the open floor plan,” he reveals. “It’s got a great flow on the first floor—from living room to kitchen and dining room, to the master staircase and hallway. I’ve hosted Christmas parties for 150 guests on that floor.”
Having brought his home back from the edge of disrepair and finessed it to his heart’s content, Walker set another design project into motion this May, when he accepted a job in New Jersey and placed a bid on a modern penthouse condo later in June. “It was a bittersweet moment, a closure to a chapter in my life,” he says.
It’s a chapter with a very happy ending: Walker listed his Logan Circle home at $1.299 million. Within four days, it attracted seven offers, escalating the price dramatically. “It’s in good condition, with a great floor plan, parking, outdoor space, and a rental unit,” says Kimberly Casey, an associate broker at Washington Fine Properties (3201 New Mexico Ave. NW, Ste. 220, 202-944-5000), the firm selling Walker’s well-appointed abode. “It’s the home run—what everybody wants.”