|"Northern Exchange", Rendering courtesy PN Hoffman|
This weekend, the former switching station for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company at 14th and R Streets, NW, built in 1903, re-opened as "The Northern Exchange," a 36-unit "loft-style" condo delivered by PN Hoffman. Eric Colbert and Associates are behind the design, which converts the deep building with two sides of windows into units averaging about 650 square feet. Construction is not yet complete - some units on the third, fourth, and fifth floors are still under construction, but some lower units were on view this weekend.
The newly-converted condominium building is smaller than most new loft buildings, but the design focuses on efficient use of space, which lies at the doorstep of the thriving 14th Street corridor. While square footage is on the smaller side, ceiling height and window sizes benefit from the building's original design. Some units feature windows over nine feet in height.
|"Northern Exchange" model unit|
Some of the units slated for completion within the next three weeks still have the original heart-of-pine flooring, some of it one inch thick. Bao Vuong, PN Hoffman's development manager on the project, said condos feature original exposed brick and some of the original steel columns.
"We've painted them with intumescent paint to try to highlight them," Vuong told DCMud. Painting the steel columns also involved fire-protecting them, not a cheap process. "It's much cheaper to cover them up, but since they add so much character we have tried to do that," he said. He said the units would be ready for move-in during the first quarter of next year.
Vastu, a 14th Street a interior design firm and modern furnishing dealer, worked to prepare the model units for the recent open house. "Vastu and PN Hoffman have been fortunate to work together on numerous projects over the years," Jason Claire, co-owner of Vastu, told DCmud. He said the project was also unique in that the condos were built in a historic building, unlike most other condos in the neighborhood, which are predominantly new construction. "For the models, the look is warm, modern with a nod to a rustic industrial aesthetic picking up on the industrial architecture of the building," Claire said.