The Round House

A century-old landmark in the Brookland neighborhood, the Round House is an original Edward Woltz design. The house is a revival of the antebellum octagon style, a kind of building rarely seen in Washington, DC.

The Round House is so called by all its neighbors because of its shape, unique in the District of Columbia. The house sits on an ample lot framed by trees and gardens. The design is a rare late and classicized version of the earlier octagon style. Once popular in the U.S. in the mid-19th century, constituting a quirky and memorable building in a neighborhood known for its individualistic houses.

In 2012, the Round House was expanded by a two story rear addition which is largely invisible from public space. The addition, which replaces approximately 45 degrees of the circular porch, extrudes the rear wall of the house by approximately twelve feet. The “wing walls” which form the sides of the addition angle outward to the rear, avoiding a jarring right angle corner with the circular walls of the original house. On the west, a door communicates with the porch, while the east wing wall is devoted to large windows. The rear wall of the addition is crescent shaped and follows the curve of the original exterior wall of the house. At the center-point of its arc, a glass paneled double door faces the rear of the lot. The addition has an irregular fenestration pattern with large modernistic single pane windows, a flat roof line, and stucco-like siding.

The Round House is one of the earliest, largest and certainly most distinctive houses of the WestBrookland subdivision. Built in 1901 by prominent Brookland resident and builder John C. Louthan (helived at the other end of the block) and designed by Washington residential architect Edward Woltz, thehouse represents possibly an early attempt to draw the upper middle class into the new development.

The house’s quirky and yet gracious appearance has made it a neighborhood landmark from its earliest years. As an example of a revival of the pre-Civil War octagon style of house design the building is unique in Washington and possibly rare even in a wider context; thirteen post-Civil War octagon revivals are currently listed on the National Register.

DC Inventory
National Register: November 28, 2012

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1001 Irving Street NE