A Tiny, Beloved Home That Was Built for Spite
Fred emailed me this story from the New York Times written by Steve Baily. Below are short quotes from the article, to read the full article go to the New Your Times website.
Photo above: Circa 1924. “Ford Coupe at ‘little house’ in Alexandria, Virginia.” National Photo.
The Spite House (in blue), built in 1830, is 7 feet wide, about 25 feet deep and a whopping 325 square feet in two stories. It is located on Queen Street in the Old Town district in Alexandria, Va., just across the Potomac from Washington.
Jack and Colleen Sammis, shown with his son, Jake, own the house now.
Although the couple who previously owned the Alexandria house for 25 years used it for most of that time as a full-time residence, Mr. Sammis has used it mainly as a pied-à-terre since buying it for $135,000 in 1990.
Structurally, it’s more of an enclosed alley than a house — the brick walls of older houses on either side form the painted brick walls in the living room. It’s called the Spite House by some because John Hollensbury, the owner of one of the adjacent houses, built it in 1830 to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out of his alley.
“The area loves the house,” Mr. Sammis said. “It’s on napkins and cards that show Old Town scenes. It’s always on the Christmas tour.”
The house has drawn attention out of proportion to its size.
Beneath the stairs is a cupboard with a small microwave oven on top. On the other wall is the kitchen counter with a small sink, a small four-burner gas range and an under-counter Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer.
Upstairs, a bathroom with a claw-footed tub/shower is at the rear. Storage space lines a narrow hall beside the stairs.
A full-size double bed is pushed sideways against a wall; it is made up as if the side against the wall is the head.
Mr. and Ms. Sammis also entertain at the house. “Unless we put some of the people upstairs,” Ms. Sammis said, the house can hold only “about 12” guests.
Again you can read the full article by going to the New Your Times website.
Photo Credit: New York Times
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