While the big story of the District for the past decade or so has been the influx of millennials, baby boomer empty-nesters are also drawn in by the delights of city living.
Condo developers are beginning to realize that older buyers, especially when they are downsizing from a larger home, love open floor plans like younger buyers but also demand something else: storage space. The Collection at Connecticut Avenue, a boutique project consisting of eight condos in two buildings, was designed by A + E Collective to appeal to buyers who want space and privacy along with city living.
“The two architects in A + E, Madhur Khanna and Anil Bhatia, have about 30 or 40 years of experience each designing custom single-family homes,” says Kamarin Kraft, vice president of the Mayhood Co., which is selling the condos. “This is their first development together, so you’ll see some features that are normally only in single-family homes.”
Kraft says the designers focused on closet space, high-end kitchens and luxury bathrooms. For example, each master suite has two walk-in closets and all the full baths have double-sink vanities. The kitchens feature white lacquer cabinets imported from Italy that include some rare features, such as a drying rack hidden in the cabinet above the kitchen sink that allows you to hide hand-washed dishes while they drip into the sink. The two-tone center island features extensive storage with white Caesarstone complementing the wood.
Private elevators: Khanna and Bhatia found two boarded-up houses at 5105 and 5109 Connecticut Ave. NW, which they bought and tore down before digging 40 feet below the original foundation to add space and to allow for higher ceilings.
“This building is unusual in that there’s only one residence on each floor, so you get natural light from front to back and more privacy,” says Kraft.
All the units have 1,474 to 2,000 square feet, two bedrooms and three baths, as well some outdoor space. The two penthouse units each have a private elevator.
The Aqua unit, Residence 3 in 5109, has 1,659 square feet and is priced at $1.058 million with a monthly condo fee of $395. Guests can be welcomed in the foyer, which has a niche with a granite shelf that functions as a built-in foyer table or art niche.
This unit has a large open kitchen with extensive storage, and seating at the center island. Near the kitchen is a small room with a frosted glass door that can be used as a wine room or pantry.
The living and dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows with transoms facing Connecticut Avenue. Plenty of tall walls are also available for an art collection. Adjacent to the living area is a den that can be used as a library, home office or private sitting room.
On the opposite side of the foyer are two coat closets, a laundry room with side-by-side washer and dryer, and a powder room with a contemporary style vessel sink. Nearby are a spacious secondary bedroom with a large closet, and a full bath with a double-sink vanity and a soaking tub with a shower. A door at the end of the hallway leads to the master suite, which has two walk-in closets, a large bathroom with a double-sink vanity and plenty of storage, as well as a glass-enclosed oversized shower with a built-in bench. The master bedroom has glass doors to a terrace.
The Cerulean, Residence 4 in 5105, is a dramatic penthouse unit with a private rooftop terrace, 20-foot-high ceilings, a loft and a private elevator. This unit has a similar layout to the Aqua residence but has 2,000 square feet and is priced at $1.382 million with a condo fee of $720 per month. The open living and dining area has soaring ceilings and two levels of windows facing the street, and the den is open to the loft above. Hardwood stairs lead to a large loft suitable for an office or an entertaining space that includes glass doors to the rooftop terrace. This unit also includes a balcony off the master bedroom similar to the Aqua unit.
The exteriors of the two four-story buildings were designed to complement the colors and styles of the adjacent buildings. To the north of one of the condo buildings is a relatively new brick Sunrise Assisted Living building with cream stone accents and a turret; between the two condo buildings is a brick Craftsman-style single-family house.
Each unit has a parking space in the back of the buildings included in the sales price and two additional spaces are available behind 5109 Connecticut Ave., priced at $30,000 each.
What’s nearby: Kraft calls this neighborhood “South Chevy Chase” because it’s a few blocks south of Chevy Chase Circle, but most Washingtonians know the community best as the home of the beloved Politics and Prose bookstore, located one block south of the condos.
Residents can walk to restaurants such as Buck’s Fishing & Camping, Comet Ping Pong and Jake’s American Grille or go a few blocks north to the Avalon movie theater, the Chevy Chase library, a grocery store and more shops and restaurants.
“This is kind of suburban/urban neighborhood all in one,” says Kraft. “People like the Connecticut Avenue address and access to everything, but it’s more residential than some other neighborhoods.”
Schools: Ben W. Murch Elementary, Alice Deal Middle and Woodrow Wilson High.
Transit: The building is less than one mile from Tenleytown-AU Metro station and Friendship Heights Metro station, both offering Red Line service. There are numerous bus lines on Connecticut Avenue, including the L1, L2 and M4.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.