And she did. Our agreement was that they would each invest twice of what I could, but I would live in and manage the house so there was no need for them to spend another cent. Although they said it would be a great investment, I knew it was more like, ‘you are our friend and we are going to help you through what has been a most difficult time.’
The first thing we did was to paint the walls pale gray. There is no way to describe how much difference that made. The house was gorgeous. It was built in 1850. There was a stone front registered with the National Historical Trust. This meant that we couldn’t make any changes to the exterior, but we could do whatever we wanted to the interior. We didn’t want to do anything. It didn’t need anything. The house was a four story townhouse, counting a rental apt in the basement. (Which I rented to whomever could afford it – but only once to female law students who were prepared to take you to court over anything, and called night and day if their toilet didn’t work. Oh and once to these two lovely young women who wore dresses when we rented to them and then after they signed the lease, reappeared in Goth attire. They proceeded to punch holes in the walls and broke beer bottles in the kitchen sink.) Other than that I rented every available space in the house. The most income derived from the three parking spaces in the back alley.
1715 Q was legendary during the Carter Administration and Reagan Administrations. We had a PR business that operated on the first floor. Living quarters on the second floor and a rental apartment on the third/fourth floor. It was an ongoing Salon. There were activites every week. Sometimes it was a dinner party. Sometimes just a bunch of people appeared for political conversation. There was a photo shoot for a book by Michael Evans, the White House photographer. Every important person in the government came by to have their picture taken.
It would be difficult for me to describe all the activities, We entertained celebrities and we sometimes rented the house for fundraisers and we would dress like caterer waiters to serve, and make sure everyone was having a good time. There was never a time when we didn’t have a good time at 1715.
I, and then we (David) lived there for 9 years. There was hardly a person in DC that didn’t live, visit, work, or stay at 1715. When we decided to have a baby we needed to sell the property so we could move to Virginia for the schools.
The house wasn’t in great shape. The walls in the kitchen were crumbling and at the last barbeque the dripping rivulets of rain came in through the walls -- not the skylights or the windows, but the wall. We sold the house. It was sad but there was little choice. Jane and Harold made almost no money but they didn’t lose any. The people who bought it spent $200,000, to make it into a gallery. Recently the house sold for $3 million.
When I visit DC I always walk past the house to pay my respects. It was a magical house at a magical time in my life. I am forever grateful for having friends like Jane and Harold,. And forever thankful that 1715 Q was a part of my history. We’re just sayin’… Iris