The annual Georgetown House Tour has long marked the start of the social season. Begun by St. John’s Episcopal Church as a program to help those in need, the House Tour has since become one of the most anticipated events of spring. Keeping its stamina throughout the years, the Tour continues to be touched by the hands of those who are passionate about Georgetown and desire to give back to their community.
“The House Tour is a great event for tourists or anyone in other parts of DC who love how beautiful Georgetown is in the spring,” said Leslie Morgan Steiner, the hostess of this year’s Patrons Party.
Steiner, who was born at Georgetown Hospital and has lived in the neighborhood for most of her life, is the perfect example of the spirit of the House Tour and the more fortunate giving back. An acclaimed writer and author of two books, Steiner, who’s “crazy busy” life now revolves around her small kids, still takes time to enjoy and be involved in the community, where she can be found helping out at Little Folks preschool, or taking care of herself at Down Dog Yoga. “I really love Georgetown and love living in a place where I have strong roots,” she said.
Steiner, a longtime friend of Frida Burling, was asked by the House Tour matriarch last year if she would open up her home for the Patrons Party, which kicks off the Tour on Thursday April 28. The Patrons Party was established 11 years ago by Burling as a new way to raise more money for the agencies benefitted by the Tour. Patrons Party hosts have included former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn, author Kitty Kelly and D.C. developer and mega-mall owner Herb Miller and his wife Patrice.
Last year the party was held at the historic home formerly owned by the late Evangeline Bruce, whose current owners are Debbie and Chairman of Georgetown Bank, Curtin Winsor. This year the party takes place on Q Street.
Steiner and husband Perry have lived in their Federal style red brick home for 10 years. The house, built in 1808, is “a little unusual by Georgetown standards,” according to Steiner. The house went under two major renovations after being purchased by the Steiners in 2001. Dale Overmyer is the architect of the Steiner’s two-story house. The interior is wide with four large open rooms on each story. The historic house is unique in that it still extends from Second Street to Orchard Lane. This was the way all old houses around it once appeared before the carriage houses were sold and the master homes subdivided.
Steiner’s home is “very much a kids house,” she says, admitting that most people think they have to leave Georgetown when they start a family. And she has a point. Few houses in the city can accommodate an indoor basketball court, a large grassy backyard with a sports court, swimming pool and pool house. The Steiners even have more parking than you can find in the city, with their garage that can hold six cars. “We have all these benefits, its almost like living in a suburb,” said Steiner.
The Patrons Party will be the Steiners first time hosting a society event, as they put down a soccer ball in exchange for a wine glass, all in the name of charity. The Steiners admire the Ministry of St. John’s and the work they do for DC. Although not members of the church themselves, they are heavily involved in other facets of the community.
Steiner is on the board at Maret, the school her kids attend, and the halls she once roamed herself. She is also a member of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, a group she describes as, “amazing, and something we all benefit from.” Steiner also works with Weave DC, a women and children’s domestic violence charity that provides legal advocacy and shelter. Her husband is an active soccer and basketball coach with the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club.
The couple is evidently heavily involved in the neighborhood, balancing family, community, and now taking their first step in the Georgetown’s infamous society events. We wish them the best of luck.