2726 P Street NW is one of D.C.'s most photographed homes. Its owner, John West, suspects that due to the bus tours that stop by every five to ten minutes, it is the subject of upwards of 1000 photos per day. While this unending stream of amateur paparazzi might get old, West said he wouldn't want to trade living in D.C.'s narrowest house.
"This is the only house I ever looked at," he says of his purchase five years back. "I never looked at another house."
But although he fell in love with a house that's 9.1 feet wide outdoors and 8 feet wide indoors he worked hard to make the most of the small space and really make it his own.
The most noticeable difference about the home's exterior is that West returned it to the white and black coloring that defined the house in the 1950s. The previous two owners had pink shutters on purple siding. He also points to the picket fence in the old picture of the house that sits on his doorway and mentions that it's coming back (albeit black) now that he's gone through a twelve week approval process via the Georgetown Historical Board.
He's also changed the color of the living room from a light yellow to a chocolate burgundy.
"It needed this dark, deep color to enrich the space," says West who has accented this color with walls full of hunting artwork and a fireplace painted to match the paintings' gold frames.
Miraculously, the dark paint does not make the living room feel incredibly small. Part of this is due to the home's depth and the high ceilings.
"Most of the small houses in Georgetown couldn't hang a chandelier," says West. "Downstairs is so open that I never feel like I'm in a small space."
The downstairs to which he refers is a basement/kitchen. He left the walls white, saying that it better fit the natural light coming from what he calls his Downton Abbey garden filled with sculptures, ivy and faux brick walls. The basement ceilings also have exposed beams that West says were carved by hand with an axe.
Still, he recognizes that there are some things that he cannot do with his space. He had to cut his box spring in half in order to get it up the stairway and into his bedroom. The huge leather couch that had initially been in the living room had to go, making way for four chairs that better utilized the corners. Also, it's not like people on a couch could look at a TV for West does not have one in the living room.
"Where would I put it?" he asks rhetorically signaling at all the paintings.
West says that he isn't planning on leaving the home any time soon.
"I don't have a condo fee," he says recognizing that for the $535K he paid for the house in 2008 is around the price of many D.C. condos. "I can come through the front door with my groceries."
Plus, it's unquestionably unique.
"Can you have the narrowest house in Washington?" he asks with a smile. "No. I have it."
· Wow, Now We Really Have Found the Narrowest Home in D.C. [CDC]