by Chord Bezerra
Photography by Todd Franson
Published on January 22, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

You'll fall in love at first sight in Crestwood with this 3 BR, 3 BA ranch and join this GWM couple in the great gay migration north (of Dupont). Swim in the pool, soak in the hot tub, and exercise your green thumb in the garden.

Just one glance was enough for Doug Barker and Sam Kilpatrick to know they had found their new house. Turning that house into a home, however, was no walk in the park. But even if they waffle on the kitchen, they have a home full of memories reflected on their walls.

Sam: I first saw this house while I was driving home from work. I had never been in this neighborhood -- I thought I could never afford any of the houses in here. I drove by this one and it had a "for sale" sign on it. I said, "That's our house." We both walked in and immediately fell in love -- it was the right space and the right choice. And this was before there were gay people here. Since then it's sort of become Dupont North. There are gay couples on almost every block now.

Doug: This house was built in 1951 but it still has some elements from the 1940s like the archways in the dinning room. We've really created a sanctuary here for ourselves. On weekends you feel like you're on vacation. We have the pool, the hot tub, a garden and we're right across from Rock Creek Park.

[In the living room] I love plants. I love making things grow. I've always just had an affinity for the natural world. I think gardening holds all the lessons of life. You fertilize it, water it and it grows. In the winter it doesn't take that much time to take care of all the plants -- a couple hours a week. But in the spring, summer and fall when things are actively growing just watering the potted plants outdoors is a twenty-minute ordeal every morning. We spend the better part of the weekend with the plants. It is a total labor of love, it's not work at all. It's great fun and the effect is fabulous. You get privacy and beautiful textures, colors and flowers. We also have an herb garden, which is great because Sam likes to cook.

Sam: [In the kitchen] I'd like to have a new kitchen but this one is still very functional. Everything is spaced well and it is easy to work in. The kitchen is mostly original so it fits the house. A lot of people would love to have this kitchen -- I'd love to give it them.

Doug: I'm torn because sometimes you want what you don't have. In this particular case, Sam wants a more modern kitchen because he cooks a lot. I want to give it to him, but on the other hand I love the look of the original kitchen. It's a period piece. It works well with the house.

[In the hallway] This is the original doorbell and it is very fancy. It has its own little light, the bells are like wind chimes, and it even has its own special spot. It's still kind of fun and we will definitely keep it because it speaks to the period of the home.

[In the den] A good friend of ours recommended this idea of painting foot wide alternating stripes and boy they just turned out perfect. It really makes it feel fun in here. What is interesting about it is that the stripes are the same color -- just an alternating flat and semi gloss, back and forth. It makes a much different effect than you would ever think. It almost doesn't even look like the same color -- it is a really great effect.

[In the bedroom] Those pictures are from a friend of Sam's...

Sam: ...who passed away. He gave those to me before he died. All the artwork in the house has a story from different parts of our lives. We don't go out hunting for art very often.

Doug: We don't go hunting for many things at all. We almost never go shopping -- most of the stuff in the house came to us through a meaningful relationship or a trip we took. For the most part the house and its furnishings are very eclectic because it represents all these different relationships. The nice thing about that is that everything here can be viewed with significance and meaning. I can't look anywhere around the house and not think of loved ones from both of our lives.

Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com.

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