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DC’s Political Odd Couple’s Corner Store Turned Home in Old Town

by UrbanTurf Staff

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Exterior of 314 Queen Street. ©Morgan Howarth

This article was originally published on UrbanTurf in April 2014.

Several years ago, UrbanTurf wrote about an abandoned corner store in Old Town, Alexandria that had been turned into a three-level home by owners April Burke and Dick Flynt and architect Mark McInturff.

Since featuring the home, a number of readers have been asking for an update about the new owners and what they have done with the home.

Well, UrbanTurf recently learned that political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville purchased the property last April to serve as their DC area home when they are away from their main residence in New Orleans.

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Mary Matalin and James Carville

Matalin and Carville have long been dubbed the political odd couple, given that they work on opposite sides of the aisle. Matalin is a longtime consultant and pundit for the Republican party and Carville has worked in a similar role for the Democrats. Both have regularly appeared on and hosted political television programming over the years, and Matalin currently hosts a nationally syndicated, weekly radio program with Ariana Huffington.

Matalin recently spoke with UrbanTurf about the reasons for buying the unique Old Town property, and what they have done with it since purchasing the home.

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Dining area/kitchen into living room. Photo by Stu Estler.

“I lived in Old Town when I was a kid in politics and never got over the love affair with this one of a kind town,” she told UrbanTurf. “My husband and I moved our family from Capitol Hill to Old Town in 1998, then moved around Old Town until we moved our primary residence to New Orleans in 2008.”

But even though they no longer called Old Town home, Matalin and Carville always had their friend Sissy Zimmerman on the lookout for a place that they wouldn’t be able to pass up. And then one came along.

“Sissy said from the get-go that there was one perfect place for us, and she was spot on,” Matalin said. “I was swooning after one look and [put in a] bid after one hour.”

The property was the 5,000 square-foot, three-level residence/former corner store at 314 Queen Street (map). When McInturff redesigned the space, he installed nine eight-foot-tall windows on the street level and in some areas preserved the 20-foot ceiling heights of the old commercial space. The master bedroom takes up a full level, with a private sitting area and a fireplace.

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Master bedroom. Photo by Stu Estler.

Matalin and Carville maintained much of the previous layout, but did make some changes here and there.

“We converted one bedroom into a needed office and radio studio, and turned another room into a personal office next to the master bedroom,” Matalin told UrbanTurf.

The couple also replaced the pool table area with another bedroom for their children and took out some of the main floor cabinetry and “stashed a piano in its place” which, according to Matalin, makes for a great entertaining venue.

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Living room. Photo by Stu Estler.

As for the kitchen that looks right out on to Queen Street, it is now a little more private.

“I redecorated with my weird taste, and planted the window ledges on Royal and Queen to provide a modicum of privacy,” Matalin said. “Though we also love the street traffic, the dogs were a tad yappy.”

There is one more “dream task” that Matalin hopes to accomplish in the near future: a roof garden.

“Stand by!” she said.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcs_political_odd_couples_corner_store_turned_home_in_old_town/8376

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