Historic townhouse features Federal fixtures and fascination


Entering the two-bedroom, 2.5-bath town house at 405 S. Lee St. is like going back in time to the era when Old Town was a bustling seaport, hardwood plank floors were cut by hand, and the exposed brick walls were a necessity rather than a design feature.

Still displaying its original pine floors and brick fireplaces, this 187-year-old Federal home is registered with the Historic Alexandria Foundation. It is now listed at $950,000 by Paul Anderson at McEnearney and Associates. Call 703-408-0676

The front of the house features working storm shutters on authentic hinges, authentic downspouts from the copper roof, and a wrought-iron gate leading to a side brick walkway.

Beyond the brick steps approaching the front door, the living room features original, wide-plank pine floors, a fireplace and built-in bookcase. The house is warmed by gas- heated hot-water radiators throughout. A staircase separates the living and dining rooms, in the Colonial tradition. Offering more modern convenience, a half-bath is under the staircase and the laundry room closet stands on the opposite wall.

An exposed brick wall divides the dining room from the kitchen, which includes a fireplace containing a built-in wood stove that will remain with the house. The kitchen also adjoins a cozy family room with exposed brick walls and French doors to the back yard.

The second-story master bedroom is on the left of the stairs, with three windows overlooking Lee Street. It also features an original brick hearth, an exposed-beam ceiling and attic space. The moldings are pale green against the white walls, following the Colonial style. A small hallway, with both a walk-in closet and a linen closet, leads to the master bath, which features an oversize pedestal sink and vaulted ceiling.

To the right of the stairs, a hall contains another linen closet and leads to the second bedroom. It boasts vaulted ceilings, a full bath and two windows overlooking the back yard. A built-in dresser covers one wall, including drawers, a bookcase and four overhead cabinets.

The entire back yard is bricked in, with an oversize gate to the alley behind the row of houses. The yard provides a patio table, a barbecue and space for one car. Bricks leading to the gate are slanted for easier parking. Planting gardens are against the fence surrounding the yard.

A stairwell on the side of the house leads to a basement that has a small workbench, the hot water heater and storage space.

Located in the 400 block of South Lee Street, this original town house is two blocks from the waterfront area, on the  route of the locally famous Halloween parade and one block from the old train tunnel that is now a historic landmark.
The schools are Lyles-Crouch Elementary, George Washington Middle, TC Williams High.