What’s cooking, you say? Fans of Julia Child are no doubt salivating over the news that the home where the legendary chef whipped up many of her most famous recipes is now for sale for $3.5 million. That’s a lot of clams!
Child lived in this 1870 Federal-style townhome in Washington, DC, from 1948 until 1959—which means she got her start behind the stove in this very location after a several-year stay in Paris, where her husband was posted at the American Embassy.
To wile away her time in France, Child attended the world-famous cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, then brought her skills back to DC to practice the recipes that would eventually become the seminal cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
“During her ownership, Child delighted in offering cooking classes to DC’s social set who learned how to perfect poached eggs and sautée chicken from one of the most luminous figures in food,” the listing notes.
Plus, with a spacious open-plan design, three bedrooms, and 3.5 baths spread over more than 3,000 square feet, there’s room for a big crowd at Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and beyond. There’s also outdoor space to grill and chill. All in all, it’s the perfect place for hosting lavish dinner parties, and just think of how jaws will drop when you name-drop the home’s former owner!
Along with the fame that Child’s name offers, this property comes with the added cachet of Edgar Murphy, the pioneering African-American carpenter who built the home and lived in it until his death in 1908.
But what most Child devotees will probably want to know is this: What’s the kitchen like?
Inside Julia Child’s kitchen—and what it looks like today
Granted, superfans may know that Child’s most famous kitchen, the one seen on TV with its iconic pegboard that held all her pots and pans, was in her Cambridge, MA, home, where she lived after DC. (Although in fact, this piece of TV history is now also in DC, on display at the nearby Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.)
As for Child’s “starter” kitchen in Washington, DC, it may come as no surprise that it’s been extensively renovated since her time there. Since after all, as much as anyone might idolize this iconic chef, that doesn’t mean you’d want to cook in a kitchen straight out of the 1950s, right?
In its current splendor, this kitchen sports stainless steel for miles, double ovens, a wine fridge, and much more that Child never got the pleasure to use herself.
Yet while most of Child’s original cook space has all but vanished, the homeowners did prudently decide to salvage one portion of her kitchen wall, and place it behind glass as a culinary touchstone—which could come in handy if you’re ever craving some inspiration to get dinner started rather than ordering takeout.
Is the price right for Child’s home?
In addition to the kitchen, the rest of the house has been revamped as well, with a floating staircase, a soaking tub in the master bath, and even a Turkish steam bath to boot.
But is it really worth $3.5 million?
While no written offers have been forthcoming just yet, Jonathan Taylor, the listing agent with TTR Sotheby’s International, is bullish.
“There’s been steady interest in this unique house—and it’ll take a unique buyer who will be thrilled to simply have it,” says Taylor.
Cedric Stewart, a DC real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty, thinks the price makes sense, due in part to its location.
“This house is in a very walkable location,” Stewart says. “When combined with the esteem associated with both Child and Murphy, you’ve got a recipe for a great listing—pun intended.”
That said, he thinks this home’s price might have ticked up even higher if the home had been put on the market in the summer. Still, he adds, the outdoor space makes it worthy even in December, since it’s “an end-unit row home with a rear wall of windows and an extremely attractive patio—and the remodel looks tremendous.”