There are likely very few people in the DC area who can say they live in a former restaurant. Ed Carp is part of this select group.
Before diving into how this came about, we should give you a little real estate background on Mr. Carp, a story that will likely make real estate investors out there quite jealous.
In the late 1990s, after living in Dupont Circle for five years, Carp managed (with no savings and bad credit) to buy a 3,000 square-foot basement office space in Adams Morgan for $95,000. In the coming years, Carp renovated the space (while living in it) into a basement loft-type home. In 2001, he sold it for five times what he paid for it.
“I truly loved that space,” Carp told UrbanTurf. “When the renovation was complete, I was extremely proud.”
From 2001 to 2007, Carp returned to the world of renting, largely because there was nothing on the market that was catching his eye.
Then, in 2005, he learned that the space that formerly housed the Tilden Gardens restaurant on the ground floor of 3000 Tilden Street NW (map) was on the market.
3000 Tilden Street was originally built as part of a six-building co-op complex, and the restaurant at Tilden Gardens where residents would eat. The restaurant had a country club feel to it, offered room service and served a delicious brook trout, according to reviews. It closed in 1971. Soon after, the Daughters of the American Revolution moved in and used the space as their offices and ballroom. When the Daughters moved out in 2005, the space sat empty for two years.
On January 5, 2007, Carp closed on the 3,600 square-foot space for $650,000. For the next three and a half months, renovations moved forward at an accelerated pace. Carp turned the back three rooms of the space, which had been used as offices and a women’s bathroom, into the master bedroom and two guest rooms. He completely renovated the kitchen and built all new bathrooms. He also redid the floors using a wood stain and created a large home office for himself just off the living area. Total cost for these renovations: $50,000.
“I think a lot of people overestimate what renovations are going to cost,” Carp said. “After my first turn at renovations, I realized I could do things for pretty cheap.”
It was not just the renovations that were inexpensive. Those leather chairs in the middle of the living room were $200 for the pair, the couches (that used to sit in the presidential suite at the Washington Hilton) cost $400 and the dining room chairs cost just $20 apiece from a hotel furniture warehouse.
Carp just recently finished a second round of renovations including the addition of a private entrance with a large cast iron door that provides him with a small area where he can smoke cigars, and the unit’s piece de resistance: a movie screening room.
The room has a massive HD-quality projection screen surrounded by couches and a movie selection that has clearly been a work in progress for years. The room was actually the former entrance to the unit, so in order to block out sound from the lobby, layers of drywall and insulation were installed to cover up the door and block out sound.
Up next for Carp is to build a private patio area off the living room and install a fireplace and skylight. Needless to say, when this property hits the market again, the list price will likely be slightly higher than the $650,000 Carp paid. We just don’t expect that he will be moving anytime soon.
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