Old Town’s Loggia House is not your everyday fixer-upper.
This historic, three-story home with walled courtyard and guest cottage has suffered significant water damage but lost none of its charm. Currently for sale as a foreclosure, the asking price has been reduced – to a cool $1.8 million.
“It will take some work, but, to me, it’s a labor of love,” said the property’s broker, Susan Cook with Keller Williams Realty Alexandria – Kingstowne.
The Loggia House is located at 209 N. Fairfax Street with the entrance on nearby Thompson's Alley. It was built in 1805 by Jonah Thompson, who owned the adjacent home – the Thompson House – which faces Fairfax Street and how houses several condos. He built the Loggia House for his daughter when she got married.
The two buildings remain connected through a hallway door. They were once known as the “married houses,” said Alexandria developer Rodger Digilio, who was partners with a businessman who restored the home in the 1980s. Digilio said a well-regarded architect at the time, Benjamin LaTrobe, designed the original Loggia House.
By some accounts, Thompson was a dance teacher with a reputation for being somewhat of a tyrant. Alexandria’s upper-class families brought their children to Thompson to teach them to dance, which he did, enforcing his lessons by swatting at the children’s legs with a yardstick, Cook said.
“These houses have all kinds of little stories, and this is one of those,” Cook said.
Another story has that Thompson was a merchant dealing in imports and exports. At the time, the house was on the waterfront.
In 1850, Digilio said, Thompson’s heirs sold the property to schoolmaster Benjamin Hallowell, who later conveyed it to his nephew. In 1868, it became the first home of St. Mary’s Academy, an Alexandria Catholic school, he said.
The house changed hands multiple times over the years. By the 1970s, the Loggia House was home to an artists’ colony and became known as Porsche’s Pink Palace or the Pink House, said Wayne Neale, an Alexandria architect who was involved in renovations in the 1980s.
“(The owner) liked pink, so she painted everything pink,” Neale said.
Digilio said the owner was a “colorful woman” who divided the house into apartments and rented them cheaply to the artists. The home’s current moniker derives from an architectural feature, a sunlight gallery that was originally open to the outdoors.
The last owners of the home were the Trones. Mr. Trone died about a decade ago – cleaning the gutters, as legend has it – and his wife followed in spring 2011, Cook said. The couple’s daughter was unable to keep the house, and it was foreclosed upon last summer.
Cook called the Loggia House one of the most “intriguing” listings she’s ever had. It covers 3,600 square feet – large for a standing house dating back to the early 1800s – and its courtyard is an unusual feature for Old Town. It also includes a garage and cottage house complete with a fireplace, wet bar and bathroom.
The house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms, as well as three fireplaces, skylights, a sun porch and original, wide-plank wood floors, although they are covered by carpet and linoleum on the first and third levels. It presents an exciting opportunity for a buyer who can invest in the home, Cook said.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “I can’t wait to sell it to someone who wants to restore it to its former glory.”