“The master bedroom, up top, is the literal crown jewel of the house, with a massive walk-in closet that you’ll mostly fill with free t-shirts from charity 5K runs, and the master bath has twin side-by-side basins, for when you and your significant other absolutely positively need to brush your teeth simultaneously.”

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Listen to me.  I’m going to tell you something valuable:  the secret to a successful relationship is living in separate homes.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s being woken up at 3 am by the odor of scorched butter, and screaming, “why are you making microwave popcorn in the middle of the night?!”  And having your significant other scream back, “because I’m an adult and I can do whatever I want!”  Living separately means you get to keep some respectful distance, preserve the mystery a little, and, most importantly, never ever share a bathroom.  Still, living separately has its drawbacks too; you argue over whose place to hang out at, and the parents always think it’s really weird, like maybe you’re only in a relationship for tax purposes or something.  The ideal is to live in separate homes on the same lot, but how often do you see that?

This amazing coach house/carriage house duo is not only two separate (but connected) homes, each home is extremely nice, so neither of you will feel like you got the short end of the stick, or either of you will, depending on your emotional maturity.  The smaller carriage house is actually closest to the street, looking cozily imposing at the top of a grassy incline.  (If civilization collapses, this would be a very defensible position; make sure to keep some boulders and barrels of tar on hand.)  Inside, the first level is very open, with tons of light from the oversized windows; in the back is a small but fully outfitted kitchen, and up the spiral iron staircase is the loftlike bedroom of the second floor, complete with exposed brick walls.  My first thought when I looked the carriage house over was, “hmm, this is kind of snug,” and then I realized it was eight times bigger than my one bedroom apartment, and then I got really depressed.

Out back is a stone patio, and a series of walkways that connect to the larger back house.  This coach house is much, much bigger, as well as taller – altogether the two homes offer over 5700 square feet, and I’d guess the coach house is about 3/4 of that.  You enter into a wide living room area that flows naturally into a formal dining room; there’s a large gourmet kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances and hardwood counters.  I couldn’t believe it myself – a high-end house without marble countertops!  I think hardwood counters are the wide-leg jeans of kitchen finishes; the cycle has turned, it’s time to bring them back.  At the very least, I like the idea of a counter in which I can carve my initials while the host isn’t looking.

Upstairs are the bedrooms, and multiple outdoor areas; there’s a long, roomy balcony on one level, connecting to the smaller house, and higher up is a private patio for the master bedroom.  Not only will you not have to share a bathroom in this house, you won’t even have to share a balcony.  The master bedroom, up top, is the literal crown jewel of the house, with a massive walk-in closet that you’ll mostly fill with free t-shirts from charity 5K runs, and the master bath has twin side-by-side basins, for when you and your significant other absolutely positively need to brush your teeth simultaneously.  (Seriously, are you guys on drugs or something?)  Out back is yet another patio that’s overlooked by the multi-tiered balconies of the coach house; you could literally rappel down from your bedroom each morning to have coffee and read the morning newspaper.  I don’t know *why* you would do that, but it’s kind of nice just to have the option, isn’t it?

612 3rd Street SE
7 Bedrooms, 8 Baths
$2,850,000

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All photos courtesy MRIS; listing courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway PenFed, 202-243-4200

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