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Zillowing Out

A $6 Million Home To Appreciate Living In D.C. And Not Threaten Democracy

overexposed image of a townhouse
Illustration: Chris Thompson/Defector

Last week, my friend sent me photos from her apartment window of two men walking down the street in our neighborhood carrying a giant “thin blue line” flag. “Stay inside,” she said. Another texted as the sun set Tuesday evening: “I’m scared.” I live in Washington, D.C. I’ve lived here for seven years. People have been texting me for two weeks now to make sure that I’m okay because violent white supremacists have been descending on the city. My landlord sent an email last week to let us know there were members of the Proud Boys staying in my neighborhood: some in an AirBnB, others in a hotel. Be careful, she said, take your dogs out to the side yard instead of around the block. I did.

I watched on television as white supremacists overran the capitol, forced their way inside and desecrated the place where our country tries to practice democracy. I wrote about how exhausting it is to see whose anger gets rewarded. I wrote that blog on the wave of adrenaline that crashed on top of me over the weekend. And then I could barely do any good work all of this week. This is my fifth attempt at this blog because it’s hard to write a story about a silly little house on a day when your city may be under siege yet again.

Like so many of you, I feel exhausted. The city has declared a state of emergency. The mayor has warned that she can now issue an evacuation order or a shelter in place order at any time. The day this publishes, Jan. 16, they expect another event of some kind. I am writing this a few days before, so I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that people are scared. My friends in D.C. are texting each other constantly, making plans for when to go to the grocery store so that we don’t encounter people who would happily beat us in the streets. It’s weird because we have all been hiding inside for so long, but this feels different. Now the outside, one of the few safe spaces we’ve had this whole time, has a charge of fear in it that vibrates through the city. I’ve spent the last week reeling from hearing men on the street yelling slurs and waiting for the next inevitable, probably publicly planned on Parler, shoe to drop.

The thing that always upsets me in times like these is that there are a lot of people in this country that don’t realize that many people call Washington, D.C. home. The District of Columbia is home to more than half a million people and it voted 93 percent for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Most of us are having a really bad week

The people who rioted on the National Mall last week do not live here, nor do the people who may do so this weekend. All of these people went home. Many of them went home satisfied, believing they had done nothing wrong. Those of us that live here? We didn’t get to leave. It’s our home and it’s a pandemic, and we don’t have voting representation in Congress and there are too many people in the streets with guns. 

I was going to show you a $875,000 home outside of Charlotte. It is boring as hell and tacky in the very specific way that lower upper class people—who think they are middle class—are tacky. It is in a region that voted for Trump, and you can (according to the listing) buy access to the Trump golf course. I even started writing half a blog about how this is the Trump voter who stormed the capitol: someone with money, someone who has the financial luxury of taking a Wednesday off of work, who can travel to D.C. in a pandemic, who wants to maintain their power even if it means burning the country to the ground and squashing you beneath their boots. But writing about this depressed me so badly that I had to call my therapist. So instead we will do something else! Instead we will look at a very, very expensive home that I would buy tomorrow if I won the lottery. We will appreciate the wealth next door, by looking at a beautiful Washington, D.C. offering. 

This week’s home is listed for $6 million (that’s $24,258-per-month mortgage for those counting). It is near Dupont Circle, which has lots of good food and a Metro line, and extremely close to a fenced in dog park that you will never go to because you are too wealthy for that. It is 5,400 square feet, which is enough to survive at least three more years of the pandemic in, and it absolutely rules. The townhome was built in 1890, but the description says it was recently renovated. Usually this is a warning alarm for tacky gut jobs with fake marble and a lot of cheap and boring light features. Not this house. I would shave my head to have this house, and my hair is my only good feature. 

The exterior is made of red brick, which is very pretty, and has steps up to the front door beside a little fenced in front yard. There are two sets of doors, one iron and one wood with a small entryway between and huge windows. Big squares of light sit on the floor in the sitting room which has the first of many fireplaces. 

(Screenshot: Zillow)

Here on the right is a wooden door. Open it. What’s inside? It’s AN ELEVATOR!! Wow, so fun. We will take it later, but look how nice the mirrors are on the top half. Imagine yourself here, just a little fancier than normal. Perhaps imagine me with the Gone Girl haircut, fixing my lipstick (I will learn to do this) as I descend to get some coffee and leave a little lip print on the cup. Oooh! The kitchen! Let’s go.

(Screenshot: Zillow)

Wow. So many fancy kitchens now have terrible cabinets but these are gleaming. They are real wood. Look at how there are some open shelves for your pretty things but also many closed shelves for like ... your food processor. Look how all the drawers are shallow! Genius. Look at that SIX-BURNER STOVE. Incredible. On the other side of the island there is a long eight-seater table and a little living area around another fireplace. What luxury. 

(Screenshot: Zillow)

Okay, outside we go. Here we are in a little garden. There are some big pools of water, which I think are just decorative. There is a little area just for washing your dog, which my dog will absolutely hate. But the star of this outdoor area is this weird middle section which LIFTS UP FROM UNDERGROUND so that you can HIDE YOUR CAR FROM THE WORLD then disappear so you can have an al fresco dinner. Wow being rich seems great. 

(Screenshot: Zillow)

Let’s go upstairs. On the second floor we have a room I would like to spend all my time in, as it has another fireplace and also seems to be a perfect marriage between a literature professor’s fancy study and a bar. There is a pool table but it is neutral, not green. I have never seen this. If you are rich, tell me, is this normal? There is a sunny little nook at the front of the house where I would like to read, and books on all the walls. There is also a very large television, as every good bar needs. 

On this floor we have an unremarkable bedroom and bathroom, but one more floor up is a giant bedroom and sitting area with even more light than before. The longer I have lived in my apartment, which gets direct sunlight for only two hours approximately three months out of the year, the more I realize what a luxury it is to have cubes of vitamin D on the floor of your house to lie in. This bedroom? It also has a fireplace! And if you climb out the window, there is a little tiny porch where you could have your coffee and watch people with less money commute to work. 

(Screenshot: Zillow)

Now this bathroom? I will see it in my dreams now and forever. It has not one, but TWO massive steam showers, a crystal ball that is not really my taste, but still lovely, and an enormous copper tub. The tub looks large enough to cover an entire adult body, which cannot be said for 95 percent of tubs I have ever been in. Think about how steamy it must get in there. So so steamy. Your pores would open, spit out all their dirt, and give you gleaming rich person skin. There is also an office on this floor.

Okay, there’s something else really good to see. More stairs! These ones have a skylight so big I think it is the size of my bedroom. We should have taken the elevator. That was silly of us. But look at all this light. Up here there is a wet bar, which I have learned in my years of becoming a Zillow expert is another important indicator of wealth. You cannot be asked to take the elevator to the kitchen to obtain another beer! What are you? Common? Anyway, we're here. Get ready for the glory.

(Screenshot: Zillow)

A POOL. I am from Texas, so I love a pool, but this is the outdoor space of my absolute dreams. This is like a hotel roof! There is so much space for sitting, and lots of different levels where you can imagine having a birthday party and fitting all your friends. There is so much sun up here because you can see the whole entire sky. The pool and the hot tub are gleaming and blue. It gets very hot and humid in Washington, D.C. in the summer, and I imagine this must be the best way to weather the heat. 

There is even a fully separate downstairs apartment that, because you are so rich, you could certainly give to someone for free who needs a place to live. That would be a nice thing to do. 

Most people in D.C. obviously don’t live in $6 million mansions with elevators and rooftop pools, but more than 500,000 people live here in apartments and reasonably sized row-houses. That’s more people than Wyoming and Vermont. Our city is under siege by white supremacists. There are troops everywhere and the next week will be scary. Everyone is texting each other the same thing: Stay home.

This week’s house has been listed on Zillow for 18 days. If you can afford this week’s house, please donate some money to these D.C. local charities that help people have food and have housing. If you absolutely must buy this house after doing so, you must allow me to live there for free. Thank you. 

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