Affordable, boring housing in DC...yawn
November 6, 2008 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Where do the home-bodies call home in Washington DC?

I've gone through all the DC housing threads, but they all talk about "trendy" "hip" places with good bar scenes.

My darling and I don't drink, like to stay home and cook, etc. While we wouldn't mind being in an area that catered to the hip folk, we feel like there must be a "boring" yet affordable area of DC.

We're looking for studio in the $1000 range. Would like there to be easy parking for one car.

posted by ginagina to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't mind going into the suburbs, Arlington (Clarendon or Ballston) is not overly exciting.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2008

Takoma Park, Petworth or Mt. Ranier might be good areas for you.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2008

seconding Takoma Park, if you don't mind some grungy hippies.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:53 PM on November 6, 2008

Downtown Silver Spring. Red Line, AFI, great ethnic restaurants & Tastee Diner, all walkable. A mixture of high-rise apts, garden apts, townhomes & single-family homes. Plus the best little zen center in town right upstairs from Whole Foods.
posted by headnsouth at 6:55 PM on November 6, 2008

When I lived in DC a few years ago I lived in a studio directly opposite the Cathedral School for Girls which cost a little under a thousand a month. There was an underground garage for an extra fee, or on-street parking on Massachusetts Ave which local relatives used without any problems daily. It was a nice, safe, dull place to live. I recommend the area.
posted by posadnitsa at 7:21 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Capitol Hill East or just Hill East as many call it. Around the orange/blue line in DC. Fabulous neighbors; be careful of the crime though.
posted by jay dee bee at 7:50 PM on November 6, 2008

Do not move to Clarendon. On Friday or Saturday nights, your neighborhood will be full of young women in tube tops and the young men who lust after them.

The Dupont Circle neighborhood has a reputation for being trendy, but the further you get from the actual circle, especially towards the west, the quieter things get. You're still near a lot of restaurants and good amenities, but the residential parts are not a party neighborhood. Street parking is ample. The apartments you'll find in your price range will likely be small, but they're available if you look.
posted by decathecting at 8:20 PM on November 6, 2008

Seconding downtown Silver Spring. Walk to Whole Foods, Strohsnider's hardware, the library, and shopping/restaurants. Easy Metro access. Free shuttle bus around downtown. Free wifi in the commercial area. I believe a knitting group meets regularly at Adega Wine Cellars, if either of you are fiber-inclined. I have friends, representing varying points on the spectrum of homebodiness, all of whom like living in Silver Spring. Stuff to do if you want, but not invasive.

I don't go to Clarendon/Courthouse often and I don't stay late, but what I've seen mirrors decathecting's assessment. There are young families and older couples out early in the evenings, but they seem to retreat by 7 pm, ceding the streets to the just-out-of-college-drinkers.
posted by weebil at 8:52 PM on November 6, 2008

In NW, Glover Park and Spring Valley used to have some affordable small rentals, but I don't know if that's the case anymore. Their proximity to American University keeps those neighborhoods interesting and diverse with good rental turnover. But they aren't very close to metro, so it keeps the prices down. Despite what decathecting says, there is no such thing as ample street parking anywhere near Dupont Circle (unless you ride a bicycle) and you have to pay a premium to live around there.

In NE, Brookland is close to Red and Green lines, affordable, diverse, and hip in its own quiet way and only a few metro stops away from some retail and night scenes (Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan). I have some friends who were priced out of downtown and wanted more space who moved there and are happy with the area. While Northeast is generally scary, Brookland has been a safe haven comprised of urban pioneers, Catholic University students, and long-time residents that remain involved in the community and work to keep crime down.

In SE, I lived where jay dee bee calls Capitol Hill East from 2001 to 2006. Look for small rentals or "English basements" in the Lincoln Park area in your price range, think craigslist. Yarmouth is a property management company that specializes in this area that might help you find a rental; I know two people who rent from them, one has had good experiences and the other despises them, so YMMV.

Outside of DC, housing is hard to find in Takoma Park. Rental units are scarce and above your price point. When I was looking six months ago, Takoma Park rentals were mostly single-family home basements or group houses for the $800-1200 range. It's a very wooded low-density area, there just aren't many rental units. But it does have a great atmosphere and nice people, so be sure to follow any leads you see in this area. Along the same lines, Virginia's answer to Takoma Park is Del Ray. Like Takoma Park, rentals are hard to find but the community atmosphere is worth the effort to find an affordable place.

For the past eighteen months I've been living in Hyattsville, MD. I'm renting a two bedroom bungalow on a quarter-acre lot in your price range. I have a huge garden and great neighbors. It's a working class neighborhood that's friendly and livable. I have a 5 minute walk to the (green line) metro and it's just a six mile bicycle ride to get downtown.

To the north of us is the even funkier and friendlier Berwyn Heights. It's less accessible to metro, but a very comfortable and friendly community for people who would describe themselves as homebodies.

If you want to be boring, Silver Spring and Rockville both have many high-rise apartment complexes that might accommodate you. They are on the red line but there's not much community spirit, so you can pretend to ignore your neighbors for as long as you live there.
posted by peeedro at 10:21 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hi and welcome to Brookland, I don't think we're what you're looking for, it's just too thrilling up here in NE. We've got our very own Metro stop, on the Red Line no less! While we don't have dirty hippies like Takoma or Mt. Rainier we do have the Yes! organic market, a coffee shop, and an oh so lively and "hip" bar scene. The hipsters flock to Brookland's many hot spots. But Brookland's non-stop (except at night) action doesn't end there!

So if hip is not your style, stay out of Brookland!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Technically, I'm not even in Brookland, I'm really Woodridge, but its all part of the Greater Brookland part of town, as is Michigan Park and Fort Totten, other areas to avoid if you aren't into the non-stop party scene that only streets full of trees, flowers, and nuns can bring.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:40 AM on November 7, 2008

I think B-land is Washington's best-kept secret.
posted by jgirl at 8:08 AM on November 7, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, great answers. Thank you lameos!
posted by ginagina at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're still checking...the Glover Park / Cathedral Heights / AU Park / Wesley Heights area is made for homebodies and you can definitely get studios in the area for $1100ish. Takoma Park is also lovely!
posted by echo0720 at 5:58 PM on November 9, 2008

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