Lesbian couple fix up their first home

by Chord Bezerra
Published on November 13, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

Photography by Todd Franson

CLASSIFIED: Lesbian couple with two cats, one green thumb, needed to strike out to greener pastures, leaving the cozy apartment life of Adams Morgan for the more expansive 2BR, 2BA townhouse life of Capitol Hill. Secret reading nook and hand crafted shelves make doing it yourself all the sweeter.

After three years of marriage, Stefanie and Lisa Alfonso-Frank decided it was time to move out of their Adams Morgan apartment and into a townhouse on Capitol Hill. They quickly realized that making the house a home was completely in their own hands.

Stefanie: We moved in July, so we've been here four months. This is our first house. We really wanted to stay in Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, but the housing market there is completely out of control. We were looking all over the place, and a friend of ours suggested we look on Capitol Hill. It was great -- we had been looking for months and as soon as we looked at Capitol Hill, within three days we put a bid on a house.

[In the living room] We just got a new couch. We had a yellow couch, which we're trying to sell -- it's in the kitchen right now [Laughs]. Lisa and I started a gardening business this summer, so I used the money I saved to buy the new one.

Lisa: Gardening was an interest of mine initially. I just grew up with a lot of gardening, and I would garden wherever I could. But when we lived in Adams Morgan I didn't have any place to garden.

Stefanie: She takes care of all of the plants here. I'm the assistant. [In the dining room] That's from our wedding -- a bunch of the guests chipped in and got us the buffet.

Lisa: We had our ceremony three years ago in Vienna, Virginia. A perfect place for a lesbian couple [Laughs].

Stefanie: We had a Rabbi do the ceremony. We rented an old yellow farmhouse. We had a bar on the porch and the ceremony was in the front yard. The reception was in the backyard under a tent, with a sit down formal dinner.

Lisa: [In the backyard] The backyard is all going to be redone. All these bricks are going to come out. We're going to create a porch and put down flagstone, sort of like an English country garden. Got to have the garden.

Stefanie: We have two cats. 

Lisa: Elly and Soren. Elly is fifteen-years-old. It took Elly a couple of months to get acclimated to the new house and feel comfortable. Since then she's become completely obsessed with the outside. She wakes up in the morning and comes running to the backdoor and I put her on the leash -- there's a little stake out there to attach the leash to -- and she hangs out and watches the squirrels and the birds. She loves it.

Stefanie: [In the master bedroom] Lisa's really proud of these closets -- she put in all the shelves. When we first moved Lisa thought she was very handy, but we had been living in a rental and hadn't been doing much fixing up.

Lisa: I just needed to hone my skills. It took a while.

Stefanie: I came home to a bit of a disaster. She had taken all the shelves apart and couldn't put anything back together. But now she's great. She's learned very quickly. I can't do anything -- she's done a lot and she's very proud of her accomplishments. Lisa's the active one. I help pick it out and arrange it and sometimes assist her.

Lisa: I just like to be involved. I'm sort of a perfectionist. I want it done a certain way and if you hire someone it doesn't always happen that way.

Stefanie: Trying to hire people has been a big surprise. We try to find people to hire and Lisa falls in love with them immediately. She'll meet them and she come home and say, "I found the one. They're going to do this and this and this for us and they're coming on Friday." And guess what? They don't come. That's happened at least ten times.

Lisa: It has not.

Stefanie: Well, at least five times.

Lisa: [Laughs] I put hope in these people and they let me down.

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