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$500,000 for a five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home on five acres? SOLD.
Live by the water in Lewes for less than $800,000. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Sale price: $365,100. Where: Cumberland.

Photograph courtesy of Coldwell Banker.

For the price of a three-bedroom split-level on a fifth of an acre in Rockville, this three-bedroom contemporary sits on 23 wooded acres.

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Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 08/19/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The right-hander bought his riverside house from a longtime Little League organizer. By Harrison Smith

Max Scherzer, anchor of the Nationals' pitching rotation, may be struggling with his delivery, but outside the ballpark things are looking better: He just closed on a $5.2 million home in McLean. The 4,800-square-foot house includes four bedrooms, five baths, and a heated indoor pool--all on a secluded 3-acre spread overlooking the Potomac.

The sale was confirmed through the MRIS multiple-listing service and the listing agent, Mike Anastasia of Sotheby's.

Scherzer and his wife, Erica, closed on the Crest Lane home on August 5, a day after the 31-year-old right-hander pitched six innings and earned the win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to Anastasia, Scherzer is planning a multimillion-dollar renovation to the 29-year-old home, including opening its eastern, Potomac-facing side up with glass.

Scherzer signed with the Nats in January after five seasons in Detroit. His $210 million, seven-year contract is among the largest pitching contracts in baseball history.

"I don't play this game for money," he said at a news conference announcing the signing, "but yet at the same time, when you have an offer like that, it just makes you go, 'Wow.'"

The home was sold by Paul Shiffman, director of McLean-based Chain Bridge Bank. According to his corporate bio, Shiffman has volunteered with McLean Little League for nearly 40 years, including time spent as its president and as a coach.

Posted at 01:18 PM/ET, 08/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The defenseman netted six bedrooms and seven baths. By Harrison Smith
Amenities include a pair of stone guard dogs by the front door.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson has bought a $3.365 million home in Chevy Chase. The 5,800-square-foot Colonial features six bedrooms, seven baths, a movie theater, and a heated pool that—unfortunately for Carlson—seems unlikely to ice over in the winter.

The 25-year-old hockey star signed a six-year, $23.8 million contract in 2012, keeping him in Washington through the 2017-18 season. Carlson has emerged as one of the Caps' most reliable defenders, not missing a game in each of the last five seasons. He also competed with the 2014 US Olympic team in Sochi, Russia.

He and his wife, Gina Nucci, closed on the home in April, 35 days after it hit the market, property records show. The Dorset Avenue house was originally listed at $3.5 million.

Posted at 12:27 PM/ET, 08/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Complete with a tasting room and bar. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

Though the owners of this Potomac basement are still expanding their wine collection—they were inspired to start one by friends who are expert wine traders—this cellar and tasting room is designed to store a future stash of more than 4,000 bottles. Architect Jim Rill, in collaboration with Danish Builders, designed the temperature- and humidity-controlled underground room to evoke a grotto, incorporating plenty of stone and carved-out niches complemented by mahogany and rustic iron fixtures. Nearby, a custom-designed bar is done in matching mahogany. The rest of the 5,000-square-foot basement includes a theater and a fitness room.

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Posted at 11:40 AM/ET, 08/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
What two people learned by leaving the capital for a quiet Virginia home. By Howard Means
Howard and Candy Means at home in Millwood, Virginia, population 100. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

So, you have a yearning for small-town life? Maybe it’s the traffic that has finally gotten to you, or crime, noise, McMansions, or the relentless pace of urban existence. They all helped drive my wife and me from Inside the Beltway a decade ago. Beware, though: While small towns have much to offer, they’re not fail-safe escapes from the inevitable challenges of communal living.

Take Millwood, our little village of about 100 souls just on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River, at the far end of Virginia horse country. For my wife and me, it was pretty much love at first sight after months of searching: a 1790 house on a bluff overlooking a still-working mill, a millrace that sings us to sleep at night, and even (inexplicably) broadband service.

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Posted at 10:08 AM/ET, 08/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cheerful colors, a chalkboard wall, and SO much cubby space. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Geoffrey Hodgdon.

The owners of this Cleveland Park townhouse, a lawyer and a political-research analyst, like to plan ahead. Right after the birth of their first child, they decided that when they eventually went for baby number two, they’d need more space to accommodate all the toys and gear. The solution was in the basement, where Wentworth architects reconfigured an in-law suite into a cheerful, midcentury-modern-inspired playroom that doubles as a guest room for visiting family. The designers went for crawl-friendly carpet, bright colors, and whimsical accents such as a chalkboard wall and magnetic paint, plus ample storage in drawers under an upholstered bench and built-in shelving and cabinetry. The planning paid off: The couple’s second child arrived shortly after the space was completed.

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Posted at 11:47 AM/ET, 08/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Take a look at the party-ready space. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Morgan Howarth.

A once boring, builder-grade basement in Bethesda fell short of meeting the needs of its owners, who frequently entertain large groups of both adults and kids. The couple wanted a stylish lounge space that would make guests feel welcome and allow for easy flow into the back-yard pool area. Architect Mariah Vaias and interior designer Shannon Kadwell at Anthony Wilder Design/Build led the room’s transformation into a contemporary, multipurpose lower level that also includes a fitness area and guest suite. Out went a dated stone mantel; in its place came a textured white-tile-and-black-granite hearth with an offset fireplace. A dull wooden bar was also swapped for a contemporary design with brushed-stainless-steel accents, pear-wood laminate cabinetry, and a dramatic, backlit onyx feature.

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Posted at 11:57 AM/ET, 08/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()

DC rowhouses are expensive. Fortunately, many come with English basements—lower levels with separate entrances that can potentially be rented as apartments and used to offset the house’s mortgage. But it’s not always that simple. Here’s what you should know before you post your basement on Craigslist and start cashing rent checks.

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 08/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This once neglected basement got a major makeover. By Michelle Thomas
Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

After a long search for a home to suit their modern taste, John and Kim Gifford found this 1959 Falls Church house, which had been remodeled in 2004 with an understated, contemporary aesthetic. The basement, however, remained an afterthought. To bring it in line with the rest of the house, the Giffords worked for more than a year with Case Design’s Allie Mann, who opened up the choppy layout by removing interior walls and widening the stairway to let in more natural light. Next came the fun part: To store the Giffords’ wine collection while satisfying their love of modern design, Mann built a climate-controlled vault encased in a glass box. Its metal pegs give the bottles a floating effect.

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Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 08/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Don't just paint everything white! By Hillary Kelly

Let's face it. The term "English basement" is just a linguistic trick designed to make underground dwellers feel slightly less downtrodden. Life in an English basement can be aesthetically tough. Hardwood floors are often a no-go because of DC's high water table. Keeping a plant alive can require superhuman attention and care. And many of the District's basements are simply unloved by their owners, who haven't remodeled in years or even decades. So here are few simple tips to make the most of your basement.

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 08/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()