Judging New Construction/Renovation


Even though the top floor appears to be vinyl I think it actually blends fairly well in this case. Of course I’m comparing it to the monstrosity on Upshur and NH:


So what do you think about the original photo – is this a good third floor addition/renovation?

21 Comment

  • They’re doing the same “old brick on the bottom, new vinyl on the top” to a house on the 1400 block of Harvard. Currently it’s unpainted brick and brownish-tan vinyl, and if they leave it like that, the developer should never be allowed to work again.

    This one is a little better because the color is the same, but it’s still ugly, and I still disapprove.

  • Don’t like it too much, but at least the top floor actually matches, unlike the one at Upshur!

  • Despite the matching color – Not. Working. At. All.

    Can I just go on record as saying I am beginning to loathe developers/flippers and their cheap and terrible projects.

  • Can anyone tell me how much more it would cost to actually build, or at least face, a pop-up in brick? If it is on the order of thousands of dollars, or even low tens of thousands, I have to believe that a developer could raise the sales price by at least that amount. These things look awful, and in a few years they could well end up crooked.

  • an abomination. any candidate for city council that would run on a no-vinyl-siding platform would have my vote even if he also ate babies and worshipped satan.

  • I’m not a fan of this either, I’m assuming people do this because it’s cheaper than using actual brick? Isn’t there some kind of fake brick-looking material that’s cheap and at least attempts to look like it matches?

  • The building pictured, like many in this city, is over 100 years old. People who buy such structures should not have the expectation that they can expand or disfigure them. If a bigger house is desire, they should buy a bigger house wherever they can afford it. It’s so typical of our society’s misperception of freedom – that it’s doing whatever the hell one wants. It’s not – freedom is recognizing that others have the dignity and right not to be subjected to people doing whatever the hell they want.

  • Alex: It’s not just a matter of cost alone, good luck finding a master mason or trained bricklayer to do that sort of job nowadays. Throwing up siding is just plain easier when you have an unskilled crew.

  • odentex is certainly right, but still, blech. Especially the rounded siding at the back. It just looks…I don’t know, forced, somehow.

  • Oh-man:

    I want to agree with you. and yes, this really is kind of ugly- but still, I don’t think that we would ever have something as vital and thriving as this city without changes occuring. In architectural styles, in economies, and in materials. In fact, and this is not always pleasant, our freedoms in the city often are painful to others (my noisy neighbors, our lack of weeding our garden). Perhaps ugliness such as this, is our price to pay to live in the city.

    But judging the construction, I would say it is terrible. There are so many other ways, other than brick, that would have worked well. They obviously have not tried to design something to compliment the bottom half of the structure.

  • Isn’t there that 1/2 inch thick brick “tile” you can buy in one foot squares like bathroom tile – like if you want to create an exposed brick wall without having to actually expose the brick. Couldn’t you use that on the outside?

  • I am curious how these pop-ups perform in winter. They look like big energy waisters.

  • Even dryvit would be a better option… at least the texture of the siding wouldn’t be as obvious then. I think the vinyl sticks out like a sore thumb, especially because of the shape. The tall third-floor windows with the band of white underneath throws of the proportions of the house and destroys the roof line (unlike the lovely house next door, where they obviously valued the architecture enough to keep the nice details on the third floor – kudos to them). PoP, do you have any pre-renovation pictures of this house? I wonder if the old third floor was like the one next door – if so, they should have kept it.

  • looks.like.crap.


    DC townhouses in this city suck 90% of the time and this one is at least in the top 10% of ugly.

  • Neener- Are you serious? I’d say DC townhouses rule most of the time… I think you are in the extreme minority with that opinion.

  • If someone calling themselves “poo poo” compares something to “crap” you know it isnt a good thing.

    /sorry poops, couldnt resist.

  • This house is actually located on my street. It has sat incomplete for the last two years. We are tired of the eyesore. The architecture is curious and does not fit in with the other houses on the street.

  • The best one could hope for is that they add some architectural features to the roofline to try and make it fit with the other houses… as it is that big block of bland siding looks unfinished and terrible.

  • The mistake many of you are making is using words such as “designed” or “architect.” This monstrosity is in my hood and I tell you is it damn ugly. It ranks with the ugly and poorly built property at the corner of Thomas and 1st St, NW.

    The top is hot in the summer and cold in the winter in many of these popped topped structures. The only way to save the neighborhood is to 1) Buy the building and do it right yourself or 2) Historic Designation. Praying and complaining will not help.

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