I found it! I found my new home!
I had been focused on the roommate idea and hadn't even considered the basement apartment angle for the most part. Mostly because private landlord situations kinda freak me out. Not the same accountablity of a corporate managed apartment building. BUT, I've found something even more rare then a perfect roommate set-up! A basement apartment with landlords I know, and are well known and trusted by lots of people I know well and trust! No worries about shady dealings or safety issues.
I will be in a magical location that is both inside the beltway, walkable metro stop AND 2.5 miles to work! This should extend my life expectancy.
I will have a nice airy newly renovated studio space with a LOT of windows. Access to the family washer and dryer. My own entrance. A wall of built-in bookcases that I dreamed about as a child (I had nerdy dreams.) And I'll be tucking away a nice amount of savings over the sky high not-quite-Ballston rent.
So.....who wants to help me move MLK weekend? ;-)