Featured Property: Hidden Treasure in Capitol Hill

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17 Frederick Douglass Court NE. Courtesy Peter Papoulakos Photography.

Frederick Douglass may not have slept here, but this carriage house on the Capitol Hill alleyway that now bears his name is one of three distinctive properties the famed orator and statesman once owned in this historic neighborhood. Jonathan Smith of Brush Arbor Home Construction is behind the renovation of the carriage house and of two row homes on A Street NW — where Douglass actually lived from 1871 to 1878.

“We had a simple vision,” he says, “to resurrect what were old buildings and make them a showpiece worthy of their history.”

Built in 1850, the now-modern gray and black home at 17 Frederick Douglass Court NE, off Constitution Avenue, makes a striking contrast to the more ornate Victorian-era buildings that surround it. Offering 2,000 square feet of living space on two levels, it includes three bedrooms, three and a half baths, high-end finishes and direct access to a one-car garage. The home is on the market for $1,895,000.

Single-pane French doors open into an airy, loft-like space that — thanks to numerous oversized windows — was abundantly lit even on a cloudy day. On the main level, gray polished-concrete flooring, a tribute to the building’s industrial past, seamlessly connects the living room, with a Calacatta marble-clad feature wall and a contemporary fireplace, to the generous dining area and a gourmet kitchen.

A dove gray and white palette predominates throughout. In the kitchen, subtly hued cabinets are accented by black hardware, quartz counters and backsplash and integrated or stainless Thermador appliances. A long peninsula serves as a bar and can seat up to four.

Upstairs, the concrete gives way to wide-planked white oak flooring. There are three bedrooms — two with en-suite baths — and a hall bath. There is also a laundry closet with a stacked gray Electrolux washer and dryer set.

The owner’s bedroom boasts a Juliet balcony, a vaulted ceiling and east and southern exposures. A sizeable dressing room with a deep window seat, a marble-topped dressing table and a large walk-in closet with built-in shelving leads to a spa-like bathroom with a deep, frameless glass shower, a sleek soaking tub and a double-sink vanity with a honed Carrara marble counter.

Then as now, these streets were steps away from the halls of power. You can be sure that Douglass knew precisely what he was doing when he chose to make this elite neighborhood his home.

Offered at $1,895,000, the house features three bedrooms, three and a half baths and a distinguished provenance. It is listed with HRL Partners at Washington Fine Properties. For details, contact Robert Hryniewicki, Adam T. Rackliffe and Christopher R. Leary at HRL Partners, 202-243-1620 or robert.h@wfp.com. For a visual tour, visit spws.homevisit.com/hvid/292863.

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