Environs

By Chord Bezerra
Photography by Todd Franson
Published on May 20, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

This fabulous 6 BR, 5 1/2 BA townhouse in Kalorama Triangle gives a long-time couple plenty of space to cycle through different styles, as well as provides a happy home to a centenarian moose head and a geriatric turtle.

A decade of life in Dupont Circle had left local business owner Bruce Johnson and his partner, consultant Keith Kreger, desiring a personal renaissance. The couple found their muse not too far away in a beautiful Kalorama Triangle townhouse ripe for a loving restoration.

Bruce: The last house we lived in we held a lot of fundraisers -- we raised a million dollars for charities. Cast members for Ragtime, Rent, Angels in America, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, [plus] Gregory Hines, Roberta Flack -- they all performed in that house and the money all went to charity. I was in that house for ten years and I had a lot of roommates. It was just time to move.



[In the kitchen] I own a construction company -- Dupont Erection -- and a lot of the stuff I do in my house is an experiment for what we can do in clients' houses. You try it here first and see how things work together. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. For example, this is glacial granite on this counter -- you can see how the glacier ran over it and deposited stones into the granite. I've been in the business for about twenty-five years so people know pretty much what I like. Sometimes they call me up and go, "Hey, we got a project that is just made for you." When you're in architecture and interior design, you are influenced by certain periods. Right now it's the Italian Renaissance and the Revival styles. My style changes probably every five or six years -- it's on a cycle.



 [In the foyer] I bought this statue at an auction -- he was marked as a 19th century reproduction. I brought him home on a truck and put him on a dolly and almost dropped him. I later found out that he is actually an original from the second century A.D.

The chairs are from a sale at the Smithsonian. They were selling off a house that was left to them by Alice Barney. She had a lot of 19th century furniture that I bought. Everything Keith and I buy we sit in first and see if it can withstand people abusing it. We have a lot of children who come into the house -- nothing is that fragile and nothing gets broken.




[In the living room] For a Jewish boy I have an awful lot of Catholic art. We found this [angel] statue during a snowstorm. We were looking in the window of this shop, and for some reason it was still open. The statue weighs four or five hundred pounds -- so we had to drag it over the snow and then into the car and get it from the car into the house. They said it was from a church in Baltimore that had burned a long time ago -- sometime in the 1870s. At one time it was covered in gold leaf -- you can see pieces of it here and there.



[In the master bathroom] This bathroom is all an addition. Because we don't have a fountain yet we keep the turtles in the bathtub. There are two red ear sliders and two painted turtles. Myrtle, the large one, I have had for about thirty years. Myrtle ended up being a guy and so we got another turtle for Myrtle to have sex with, but she wasn't interested. In captivity turtles rarely live as old as they are. When I took Myrtle to the vet she wanted to know if it was a geriatric turtle. I said, "Good question -- what is a geriatric turtle?" She said generally 15 to 20 years old. I said, "Well, this one is at least 30."



[In the library] I had the moose head in our previous house and we just brought him with us. I found him when my realtor was showing a house. It was in this women's kitchen, and I kept looking at it and thinking, "What a great moose." I told the woman I would really like to buy it, but she said she really didn't want to sell him. The moose head was over her kitchen table and one day part of the moose's beard fell into her cereal. That's when she decided to sell it. He is over a hundred years old. Some people are very offended that I have him in the house, but I didn't kill him and as long as he is dead he should have a good home. His name is Peta.


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