The documents are part of Washington Heights’ nomination as a historic district. According to the D.C. Historic Sites website, “The Washington Heights Historic District contains one of the most eclectic, yet cohesive collections of historic buildings in the Adams Morgan area.”
Distinguished homes for sale in the D.C. region
Developer Charles H. Davidson, who it is believed lived in this house, hired noted architect Waddy Butler Wood to design the three houses. A self-taught architect, Wood designed many residences and important buildings in and around Washington during his 48-year career. Some of his better-known works include the Interior Department and Pepco buildings in D.C., the Woodrow Wilson House, also in D.C., the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg, Va., and part of Chevy Chase Club in Maryland. He was known as a society architect, designing homes for well-to-do Washingtonians.
The houses’ facades reflect their status. They feature jack-arched lintels and keystones. This house’s front door is flanked by Ionic columns and has an ornate arched pediment overhead. The top story is clad in stucco with an overhanging hipped roof. The dentil molding at the top of the second story and the Ionic columns are repeated on the fireplace mantel in one of the living rooms.
The high-level of craftsmanship is evident in the interior as well — from the parquet flooring in the entrance hall to the curved stairs to the second floor. The main level has two living rooms, one on each side of the entrance hall. The one on the right connects to the formal dining room. All three rooms have fireplaces.
The dining room and the kitchen open to a large, landscaped patio with water feature. The layout is ideal for entertaining.
“It is definitely a wonderful entertaining space,” said Tom Paese, who has owned the home with his partner, Charles Porvaznik, since 2002. “We had a wedding there. In the one living room, where the piano was, we had a string quartet playing.”
Many neighbors remember when the house was a popular bed-and-breakfast run by Nathan and Jeanette Miller. She was a psychiatric social worker. He was a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun who wrote more than a dozen notable books, many centered on the U.S. Navy and the Roosevelt family. His “FDR: An Intimate History” (1983) and “Theodore Roosevelt: A Life” (1992) were praised by critics.
The Millers bought the house in 1984 and later hired preservation architect Dudley Cannada to remodel it. They lived there until 1999. Nathan was apparently quite a neighborhood character. According to his obituary in The Washington Post, “Mr. Miller was a portly, stylish bon vivant, a patron of the arts who in his latter years stepped out with a toupee and a gold-headed walking stick.”
He apparently wasn’t the only bohemian to live there. According to Paese, one day, when he was working in the garden in front of the house, a man on a bike stopped to ask if he lived there. The man was at least 70 years old and wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt. Paese told him that he did, and the man said: “Man, I had some great times in that place. A bunch of us used to get high all the time and sing with the two lesbians who had a big piano in the living room.”
Although he never saw the man again or learned anything more about his memories of the house, Paese was pleased to know that his stately home had such an interesting history.
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 3,600-square-foot house is listed at just under $2.7 million.