The elegance of yesteryear merges with today’s modernity in this stunning Kalorama condominium. The impeccably renovated three-bedroom, two-bath flat has its own private courtyard entry. Built in 1905, California House is a Beaux Arts Grand Dame classic with dramatic bays and exquisite cornice work, along a street known for its embassies and stately buildings.
With 1,448 square feet of living space, this large and open terrace level residence enjoys three exposures. The fanlight entrance leads to a slate foyer and huge main living area with gleaming floors, deep-set windows, thick molding and other rich details. The remodeled kitchen has been opened up to the dining area, with high-end stainless steel appliances including a large 3-door fridge, pendant lighting, mosaic backsplash and dark granite counters that contrast beautifully with the glass and white wood cabinets.
The carpet in the three bedrooms and hallways is brand new. Both bathrooms have been renovated, one with granite vanity and frameless shower and the other with marble vanity, soaking tub and subway tiles. Each bedroom closet has a custom organizer, as does the front coat closet. Intriguing built-ins, designer fixtures, front-loading washer & dryer, one parking space and extra storage all add to the appeal!
The impressive Beaux Arts structure at 2205 California Street was built in 1905 by prominent architect and developer Thomas Franklin Schneider. The seven-story U-shaped structure with its lovely lobby and circular front drive combines brick and limestone to striking effect, evoking European neoclassicism.
Schneider designed the apartments as a contiguous building with center courtyard. He ultimately separated the project into two addresses, 2153 and 2205, and named the buildings Florence Court after his 11 year-old daughter. The complex was sold in the 1960s and renamed California House.
California Street with its old-fashioned lanterns and mature trees runs east-west between Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenues. The calm serenity of Mitchell Park is a block from California House. Local embassies include Barbados, Cyprus, Greece, Japan, Nepal and Slovenia.
Kalorama means “beautiful view” in Greek, a fitting term for the hilly area northwest of Dupont Circle. Once a massive 18th century estate, the area was primarily developed between 1897 and 1931. The California House was one of the first grand apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
The exclusive enclave has long been home to Washington’s elite, including past presidents Wilson, Taft, FDR, Harding, Hoover and Obama. There are two parts to the neighborhood: Sheridan-Kalorama and Kalorama Triangle. California House is in the hillier Sheridan-Kalorama, also known as Kalorama Heights.
With splendid mansions, embassies and other architectural gems, this is a delightful place to wander and gaze, perhaps strolling to summer movie nights at Mitchell Park. But there are also nearby shops and restaurants along Connecticut Avenue as well as next-door in the hip and diverse Adams Morgan. As for public transit, the Dupont Circle Metro is just a half-mile away.