(Errol Adels)

When architect Errol Adels decided to construct a home for his family, he was convinced that Provence, France, was the right location. But he opted to build it in Middleburg after his friend pointed out how much time he spent in the Washington area and described the community as the “Provence of Virginia.”

“I wanted to be respectful of the Virginia style and discovered that Thomas Jefferson had based his designs on the Palladian style,” says Adels, whose property is bordered by the expansive estates of the Mellon family and the late Jack Kent Cooke. “My house is a neo-contemporary reaction to the Palladian villas I visited around the world, all of which share a symmetrical design and a focus on the garden.”

Now Adels wants to be free to travel more and has opted to sell the estate.

Known as “Lavender Hill” for the thousands of lavender plants Adels placed on the hills surrounding the house, the estate features an elegant mansion with views of the Bull Run Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as Goose Creek.

The mansion includes a wide central pavilion flanked by two wings, each with a master suite on the main level and a guest suite above for a total of four bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The grounds include a guest house with a living room, kitchen and bedroom; a swimming pool, a formal boxwood garden and terraced lawns and gardens. Adels replaced the lavender years ago after realizing that the hills turned gray in the fall and he preferred evergreen plants.

The property, at 1388 Crenshaw Rd., is priced at $1.975 million. For more information, contact realty agent Russell Firestone with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty at 202-271-1701 or visit www.ttrsir.com.

 D.C. area residents have higher credit scores and debt

As most mortgage borrowers know, your credit score and your debt-to-income ratio influences your ability to qualify for a mortgage and the interest rate you’ll pay.

Credit Karma, a financial monitoring Web site that tracks data, recently released debt and credit score information on a national scale and for the Washington metro area. While local residents have higher debt than the national average, they also have higher credit scores, likely a reflection of the higher incomes in this area that help consumers manage their debt.

Nationally in December 2013, the average consumer with an account had:

• $4,626 in credit card debt compared to $5,606 in the D.C. area.

• $162,448 in mortgage debt compared to $283,309 in the D.C. area.

• $17,346 in auto loan debt compared to $18,066 in the D.C. area.

• $28,740 in student loan debt compared to $36,221 in the D.C. area.

• A credit score of 641 compared to 656 in the D.C. area.

However, the average credit score in D.C. dropped from 672 in December 2012 to 656 in December 2013, which may indicate that perhaps not everyone is handling their finances so well after all.

(Courtesy of Madison Homes)

Dupont Circle row houses converting to condos

The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board recently approved a plan by Resmark, a West Coast real estate investment firm, and local developers Madison Homes to develop 69 luxury condominiums at 1745 and 1755 N St. NW.

The four- and five-story row houses currently at the site will be converted into 31 condo units and a seven-story building will be built directly behind 1755 N St. with 38 additional units.

“At N Street, we’re excited by the unusual opportunity to incorporate several historic townhouses into the design, and to offer new residences within two blocks of Dupont Circle,” says Alexandra Johns, senior vice president for investments at the Resmark Companies. “The historic homes had been vacant for many, many years, so we are glad to bring life back to that part of the block.”

The historic town homes, built around the turn of the 20th century, will be restored on the exterior and will retain original architectural elements such as high ceilings, exposed brick walls and fireplaces. The homes in this section range in size from 650 square feet for one bedroom and one bathroom to 1,720 square feet for two bedrooms, a den and two bathrooms.

Homes in the new building will have contemporary designs and range in size from 475 square feet for one bedroom and one bathroom to 940 square feet for two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A private courtyard will be built between the two buildings and 29 parking spaces will also be available for residents.

Johns says sales will be handled by McWilliams|Ballard. Presales are expected to begin later this year with prices likely ranging from under $500,000 to more than $1 million for the larger homes.

For more information or to register for updates, visit www.madisonhomesinc.com.

CityStash offers simpler method for self-storage

When Tim Freimel divorced and downsized from a large single-family home to a condo, he opted to haul his excess possessions to his parents’ garage in Ohio. That experience was the inspiration for CityStash, a new type of self-storage business that offers pickup, storage and redelivery services throughout the D.C. area.

“I liked the idea of applying convenience and innovation to a stodgy business,” says Freimel, the company’s chief executive.

Not only does CityStash eliminate the need for customers to pack and haul their possessions for storage and then pick up the items when they’re finished storing them, but Freimel added another twist to the business: a la carte services. Instead of paying for a space to rent, you pay by the piece, with everything stored in a secure, climate-controlled warehouse in Alexandria.

“You pay a flat fee for each item, so if you want to store four boxes or even one box with us you can do it,” says Freimel.

Prices range from $2 per month for a small box to $29 per month for a sofa. Customers get a discount if their total comes to $125 per month or more. The company delivers boxes for free and charges $35 for pick-up and $35 for delivery.

“Since we started in February 2012, we’ve served about 600 customers in the D.C. area,” Freimel says. The long-term plan is to replicate the business in 30 metro areas across the country. For now, it operates in D.C., where Freimel is based, and in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.CityStash.com.

 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.