A Fricking Tragedy in the Making

Upshur shell 3, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Please look at the photo below to see why I am so against this picture. Well, this is the third picture from the renovation occuring at Upshur and NH. It was a beautiful shell that I fear is being ruined. They have extended the two level house to include a third level. The bottom two are brick and the third looks like it will be vinyl. Good idea or a damn shame? What are your thoughts?

17 Comment

  • Easy there lad. Let’s give it a chance. Don’t forget how long we had to look at the derelict shell of that house. Years and years. I don’t really have a problem with these newly-fashionable third stories, though yeah they can be done ugly like anything else… And in this case I wouldn’t be surprised if the roof was so bad it was just as easy to build a new level instead.

    With all that said, I have to admit, I’ve had my doubts about the quality of work going on there…

  • They took out that beautiful big front door and put in a teeny modern one in it’s place. Pity.

  • They had a stop work order for a while, which shows they didn’t have the correct permits. They’ve put in windows that are too small for the original window frames, so it looks like they will be bricking up the windows to make them smaller. And there are a few meters on the side, which makes it look like it may be being made into condo units. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • I agree that it’s a fricking tragedy in the making and was wondering if they have the proper permits and why DC would issue permits for something like this.

  • I saw that on my walk the other day. I had envisioned this turning out to be a fabulous renovation that would be a highlight of the annual Petworth house tour! (Yes I’m a dreamer!)
    This really makes me sad. They’ll probably paint it some awful color too.

  • im buying a condo in parkview and i have to say, that there seems to be a common thread with these developers….they are all going cheap. doing half-ass jobs. in my condo search in the area ive seen pretty sloppy work. im grateful to be buying something and making it my own, dont get my wrong, but dont know if all the developers are the same, but man they’re slacking. on the other hadn, im happy to see the development going on in the area. very exciting.

  • Bill, “Easy there lad”? But then you agree that you have doubts. The people seem to agree with the tragedy in the making. Were you offended by my use of “fricking”. As the Prince of Petworth I prefer to be referred to as Governor, Chief, Boss, Captain, El Presidente but lad sounds a little condesending. Let’s hope for the best.

  • The idea that you and the neighborhood should have to be ok with it because it’s better than the alternative of an empty shell is bad logic to me. Just “taking what we can get” is why there are things like the suburban Nehemiah Center on 14th Street and other sites where good urbanism was sacrificed for any development that was offered. It’s not that complicated, and should always be required for third story additions to be made with sympathetic building materials. Sadly, there’s little way to enforce this without a historic designation or an overlay district. The one on Sherman is an abomination and will result in a long-term loss of value as the lower portion outlives the cheap shit on the top. That’s unfortunate for the neighbors.

  • The house on Sherman is not the first, nor, last half-assed job. A house at the corner of NH and Otis was also being worked on for over a year. The owner added a hole “side” to the house in an area that used to be a side yard. For a while, it looked like it was going to have a side door on the second floor to nowhere. It took them forever to finish it, and it doesn’t match the front of the house. And the rear is just exposed cinder block. It’s just not as blatant as the weird addition to the Sherman Ave house.

    Bill is right, unless you can get a “historic” designation on the neighborhood, you can’t stop it. However, depending on the actual details of such a designation, could make it hard for everyone to do anything. For example, in some other “historic” areas, any replacement windows have to be wooden framed, i.e. not cheap.

    Interesting, this does tie in to the Ward 4 election and all the discussions over what ANCs do for you. Be vocal about it at meetings, make it an issue. You may not be able to stop this one, but maybe the next one.

  • We had a controversy about windows being replaced in our historic district. It was a unique situation, and a compromise was reached, but there was a lot of misunderstanding about it while negotiations were in progress.

    Where feasible, things should be fixed rather than replaced, and replacements should, as much as possible, match what they replace. It was not as burdensome as some feared.

  • Third floor additions are ugly (I’ve never seen one look good). There is one on the southeast corner of Georgia and Allison or Webster. If the house catches on fire the top floor turns into a tinder box because of the lightweight construction. If you sleep up there, you will have serious problems if you don’t wake up at the first sign of smoke.

  • I have lived in the neighborhood for about a month now and walk by the house every morning to work or play. I am glad to see that it is moving along and hope that they will do brick on the third level; however, I suspect the cost may prevent that. I too fear that it will be done poorly but am an optimist.

    Cool site, btw.

  • Some places in this town have wonderful possible additions but date to the beginning of the 20th century I think. Too bad they didn’t look at them before just jumping in. windows too small for the openings? Just a little more $$ would have special ordered ones looking just right.

  • These additions do not look good and in my opinion bring down the overall appeal of the neighborhood. This issue of 3rd floor additions should be brought up in the April 25 Ward 4 Candidates meeting. These poor designs and construction jobs are just that. We deserve better! There are other ways to stop this without needing to have the area designated as historic.

  • I have lived in three different historic districts within the District of Columbia. I have worked with HPO staff on two renovations over the past 20 years. While there are trade offs by living in an historic district, the benefits far outweigh the handful of horror stories out there.

    If you want stability in a neighborhood, and peace of mind that you wont wake up to a bulldozer in your next door neighbor’s yard one morning, the HD is the way to go.

    I hope folks in Petworth wake up and smell the coffee.

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