Do You Like Vanilla? You’ll Love These Row Houses

I can’t believe I haven’t seen anything written up about this entire new construction of Row Houses built behind the Tivoli Theater on Monroe Street. Every time I walk by them, I fall asleep they are so boring. I’m not saying I need Frank Gehry but these are pretty plain. No interesting architectural detail at all. So I ask you am I wrong, am I wrong? And for the record I’m calmer than you dude.

24 Comment

  • Front is boring, but not bad. However, if you look carefully the backside of them are done with vinyl. I wonder how much money they really saved.

  • I’m with you, that’s why we don’t live in the suburbs, b/c of developments like this

  • i’m a huge fan of crazy architectural sculpture, but these row homes seem to be at least form fitting to the street. no?

    i’m only going by the picture though… i havent walked by these in person.

    cuz it could be like this:

    or here:

  • I don’t think they’re that bad – I know several people who live in them, and they’re nice inside. The uniformity outside will soften over time. Also, they include around 20% affordable units.

  • I guess my problem is that they are in great contrast to the row homes across the street. But I haven’t been inside so I only speak of their outward appearance.

  • I think they look like typical city row-homes. I like them a lot. This neighborhood probably looked pretty plain when it was first built with the exact same rowhouse style block after block. It takes time for individuality to evolve. Did you see the total dumps that were there before?

  • Have to agree with other commentators, I think they are not that bad at all. Especially since they could probably just as easily just built one big condo building there, with even less fit to the rest of the street.

    And the reason you have not seen anything written about them: perhaps you just missed it, as they have been there for quite a while now (probably close to two years).

  • while they could be a bit more ‘interesting’, they do fit and the materials (at least in front) are good. maybe something such as landscaping would make the block better?

  • GforGood,

    If my experience serves me right, they are r4 zoned homes, meaning they could have put up a home there OR 2 condos on the same lot, requiring a minimum of 1 spot for every 2 condos. Additionally, with the r4 zoning, they need 900 sq feet of land for every condo and to rezone the requirements for greater density would take 8 months to a year IF they get the variance from the city…a big risk when the land is costing them an arm and a leg per month. So the townhomes you see built could have been the most profitable use for the time.

    Personally, I CAN NOT STAND VINYL. I have quite a bit of experience with developers who want to save a buck by using vinyl and it always hurts them in the long run. Its a corner that shouldnt be cut, especially for a home in the city and when a brick exterior would have only cost 3-4k more than the vinyl.

    They need more character…LOTS

  • It occured to me on my walk this morning. There are no porches…

  • I don’t think they’re full townhouses though. I think it’s there’s two, two-story condos per house. Anyone know if this is right? Either way, I don’t think they’re that bad. A little uniform, but I’d be able to deal with it.

  • they are So So bland, and the back side is way worse.

  • They’re not exiting in the least, but they’re really not bad either. I’ve seen a lot worse. Vinyl siding, however, should be banned outright, and anyone caught using it should be hung by their thumbs.

  • I think the biggest issue with them is the facade’s uniformity of color. Most row house look alike structurally but many have different type of brick coloring, fad at different speeds or actually painted which I think is what the biggest issue with the project is.

  • i think the facade will soften over time as well. not the prettiest block, but i’m a fan of row housing. i don’t like the trend of having the main entrance be through the garage though; in the back of the place. and count me in on the anti-vinyl and aluminum siding campaign.

    scenic artisan is right to say “it could be worse.” those N street “row” “homes” are pretty great!

  • real boring. my roommates and i were just walking down this street the other day and commenting how it looked like a housing development in the ‘burbs. real cookie cutter and lame. at least do something to make them all look a little different. they went for the rowhouse feel but didnt try to at least make it a little interesting.

  • Hey go look at a typical street of rowhouses, even ones that were built at the same time. The builders took great pride in building rowhouses that were “identical”, but with tiny details to differentiate. Such as parapets that alternate square and pointed on every other rowhouse. Or diamond-shaped incuts above windows on one, and square on the other.

    That’s the major difference. The front of these are exactly identical to the ones next to it. Go around the corner on 14th Street, where you’ll find Harry Wardman’s only commerical buildings from Monroe up to Spring on the e. side of the street, and you’ll see the alernating detail, even on blocks of 4 and 6 buildings that were clearly built at the same time.

    It’s an attention to detail and ornamentation that is sadly lacking in new construction. They fit the street due to the fact that they are rowhomes, but the lack of design and the lack of detail will clearly date them as being from this era in 50 years.

    Walk down the other side of Monroe street for a great lesson in contrast. It’s not about porches or not, it’s about creating a rhythm as you walk along the street of alternating shapes and patterns.

    This block is a low, monotonous drone: bmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  • There is entire city block build between 12th St, 13th st. and V St. and W St. Which is very similar to these, new construction, even they have cheap vinyl siding in the rear same as these. However, they look pretty good since those houses have alternating shapes and patterns. Unless you look carefully you would not able to tell that they are new construction.

  • So, what’s the “budget” alternative to vinyl and what cost are we talking about?

  • i’m not a real estate person, but i bet vinyl can just be repackaged as a great amenity; just like “brushed concrete.” brushed concrete, in layman’s terms is AN UNFINISHED FLOOR; no carpet, no wood. just pored, cured, dried concrete. sometimes with footprints from construction workers. now, if someone would just come up with a sexy term for vinyl siding and sellers could add a little premium for this gem of an architectural feature. ideas?

  • Can we call vinyl siding “pleather” and charge more for it?

    Actually, next month I’m ripping off ALL of my vinyl siding in the back of my house and replacing it with hardi-board.

    I say those condo’s on Monroe are pretty sweet and fit in perfectly. Its another style in a neighborhood full of styles.

  • Pauper, they are 2 story condos, 2 per “house.” Two (small) BRs, if memory serves. Nothing particularly special inside. The front entrances are common, with interior doors leading to each unit. The gardens in the front don’t belong to any particular unit either, which is why they are all similarly planted.

  • Not only do these “Stepford” homes lack individuality, style, front porches, etc., they also don’t have a front yard big enough to customize your facade. I also would like to point out that the view from the rear of these condos is the Giant’s parking garage. Sweet!

  • These did not replace “dumps” like one poster stated. They replaced a large beautiful community garden name after George Washington Carver. So sad.

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