(Peter Evans)

Real estate agent Lauren Pillsbury of TTR Sotheby’s managed to snag one of the best deals in December for herself when she bid against a developer to purchase a six bedroom house at 4403 W St. in Northwest Washington’s Berkley neighborhood.

Pillsbury and her husband bought the house for $1.05 million — $249,000 below its original list price of $1.299 million, according to Rockville-based multiple-listing service MRIS.

“My husband and I live in a condo in the West End and so I’ve been watching the market for awhile for a house that would work well for us and the family we’re planning to have,” says Pillsbury. “This is a huge, gorgeous house with redone hardwood floors and fresh paint, but it needs a lot of repair. We’re having the basement gutted and waterproofed right now.”

Pillsbury says the house, which was built in 1962, had been rented for the past 10 years and had some maintenance issues.

What was their secret in winning the competition against the developer also seeking the property? The Pillsburys offered more cash. “It helped, too, that we plan to bring the house back to its original glory and raise a family there,” she says.

Besides the six bedrooms, the house has 4.5 bathrooms, two fireplaces and a fenced-in yard. It’s adjacent to Phillips Park, a sought-after enclave of new mansions.

Modern home design store moves to Cady’s Alley 

The contemporary home furnishings design trade showroom Donghia has a new home.

Donghia, which specializes in textiles, wall coverings, lighting, accessories and upholstery that are sold exclusively to interior designers and architects, this week moved from the Washington Design Center to 3334 Cady’s Alley in Georgetown. The showroom’s new home is in the Georgetown Renaissance development owned and managed by EastBanc and Jamestown Properties.

Donghia furniture, created by the late Italian-American designer Angelo Donghia, is manufactured in the United States while accessories are handmade by Venetian craftsman on the island of Murano, Italy.

The company will join other Cady’s Alley interior design tenants Design Within ReachContemporariaJanus et CieBoffi/Maxalto and Baker Furniture.

A grand opening celebration is slated for the late spring.

For more information, visit www.donghia.com.



New apartments coming to Mount Vernon Triangle

A 13-story apartment building is under construction at 450 K St. NW in the District’s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood.

Known as m.flats, the building will include 233 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and 6,576 square feet of retail space.

R2L Architects designed the building to reflect the mix of historical row houses that make up the neighborhood.

The building will be smoke-free and LEED Silver certified. Amenities include a courtyard with WiFi, a meditation garden, a rooftop pool, cooking stations, dining areas, a fitness center with an outdoor workout area and a two-story lobby.

The project is located within walking distance of Gallery Place and Mount Vernon Square Metro stations and is near bus stops for multiple routes and bike paths.

Pre-leasing is expected to begin in the spring. Prices will be determined at that time.

For more information, call Kettler Management‘s main line at (703) 641-9000 and ask about m.flats at Mount Vernon Triangle.

Mortgage predictions for 2014

Experts are forecasting that the era of rock-bottom mortgage rates may be drawing to a close. Many are saying they are expecting mortgage rates to hit 5 percent by the end of the year.

If you’re looking to buy a house this year and think you may have missed the boat, Erin Lantz, director of mortgages at Zillowsays don’t fret.

“While this will make homes more expensive to finance — the monthly payment on a $200,000 loan will rise by roughly $160 — it’s important to remember that mortgage rates in the 5 percent range are still very low,” says Lantz, adding that the last time they reached that point was 2010.

The silver lining to rising interest rates, Lantz says, “is that getting a loan will be easier. Rising rates mean lenders’ refinance business will dwindle, forcing them to compete for buyers by potentially loosening their lending standards.”

Lerner is a freelance writer. To pass on a tip or news item, contact us at realestate@washpost.com and put “Town Square” in the subject line.