Judging Buildings


This is a wild building. It is located on a “historic” street in Capitol Hill and does not blend in that well. So I’m curious to know what you think? I think in and of itself it’s not so bad. But I don’t really think it works on this block. What do you think of the home itself? And do you think it’s cool to have such a different style home on a block like this? Here’s what the house next door looks like:


24 Comment

  • im surprised by the fact that i like it. i wonder if there is a pool in the courtyard

  • I really hate it. Looks like the back of a small 70’s motel

  • I love it. And I don’t mind it in the historic neighborhood. Even historic neighborhoods can stand a little mix to the architecture.

  • The architect who designed that building for that location should have his or her license revoked for crimes against an historic district. Whoever it was probably went on to a lucrative career designing vinyl-sided pop-ups.

  • this was featured in a book on small houses I saw a few years ago. the interior is insane.

  • I really like it, although I wish it weren’t in the middle of an historic neighborhood. As for the house next door, is it new also? What’s with the siding?

  • It’s a fairly new renovation, and not siding.

  • What a waste of a double-wide lot! What is it, like 600 square feet of actual living space?

    I am also unclear on the purpose of the giant Willie Wonka-eseque vent fan on the right side of the first floor. It doesn’t look very safe.

  • Sorry, I meant to say that it’s not vinyl siding on the house next door (a big no no that’ll get you a nice stop work order) but “historically correct” wood siding. I’ve always been fascinated with the house featured here mostly b/c I’m curious how they managed to get it built with the CHRS breathing down everyone’s necks.

  • I thought that was a giant fan also, but then it began to look like a door to me — does anyone who’s seen it in person know what that is?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    It’s the door.

  • looks like a door to me. has a door leading right up to it. do historic regulations matter when building on a vacant lot. there are modern houses in gtown afterall. I think the regulations are more for standing structures. but I do not believe a vacant lot in a historic neighborhood has to build fake historic townhouses on it ala disney land. that would be wierd.

  • I live a couple blocks away and know the people who live there slightly (e.g. to say hello to them in Eastern Market).
    I think it’s OK. It was built before the Historic District was established and reminds us that the area did pass through the 20th century. It isn’t wildly out of scale for its block.
    That said, I’m glad it’s unique (or close to it) and that more recent HD infill tends not to try to look so different from the surrounding old houses.
    DC_Chica, the house next door is definitely not new. I don’t know about this particular one, but many of the houses of that style in Capitol Hill were built soon after (or even before) the Civil War and none that I know of after about 1880. I believe there’s some controversy over whether new aluminum or vinyl siding can be used in the HD, but my own house is brick so I haven’t paid attention to that.

  • that wood siding does look a lot like vinyl. beveled in the same way and got a sheen to it… but ill take yr word for it that its wood. if i was going to get new wooden clap board siding i would not want it even resembling vinyl siding. bleh.

  • I’d live there.

    (But I’d paint the tan part a nice “historic” purple!)

  • I wish we had more properties like this. Clearly it was built before the Neighborhood Historic Stazi started policing the streets. This is architecture, just a sure as the houses next to it are. Now, mind you, I wouldn’t advocate tearing down a nice 19th century home to build this, but if it were an empty lot, why not be as creative as you can be. I hate the way everyone want to treat this city like a 19th century theme park. Architecture — good architecture (which excludes a lot of the pop ups I’ve seen on this page) — lives and evolves. If you are building a new building in the modern era, you should be able to use all architectural history and developments to that point as the inspirations you are drawing from. Failing to do so will make this City one of the more boring places to be.

  • I don’t like it for the neighborhood, but otherwise it is definitely of the times. Obviously built before the Capitol Hill Historic designation put a stop to buildings of that kind. Wouldn’t look so out of place or odd if there were more other types of designs on this.

  • Ditto Parkview.

    I like it…I walk by that house all the time and appreciate the look of it. It stands out but it’s not hard to like. And it’s better than another condo development, in my opinion. It would be nice to get people in DC excited about architectural uniqueness, not just historic preservation in one area and bland developments in another.

  • DC should take some random vacant-lot area (I nominate K-L, 3-4 NW near my home) and make it a “historic” neighborhood where residents are required to build insane houses like this one.

  • Here’s a bit of its history. My parents bought the 1st 2 of 3 lots in ’62 and built the left hand portion by ’65, the 3rd portion, the right side, was completed in ’74. It became, in part, my fathers’ architectural office.

    At the time of its construction there were quite a few vacant lots and no historic designations and the neighborhood was considerably different so they were able to get the house built fairly easily.

    The house recieved an award from the restoration society in ’68 i believe, was featured in a few magazines and for a while it was on the house and garden tour.

    Than “fan” is really a double door to what was supposed to be a garage but then became a conference room. The house has quite a bit of living space actually because the center of the block is not cut out with alleyways and garages so its pretty deep.

    Until 2007 my my mother lived there and rented the left hand portion. In November of that year she passed and the house was passed to me. I have been working to renovate, restore and upgrade the property ever since. Kind of a tribute to both my folks to whom it was quite special

    Let me just say that i have mixed feelings about the house, its’s my boyhood home, but its very, very ’70s and while i do like contemporary architecture, i’m also a big fan of the traditional. So I completely understand the diversity of opinions of the place. I struggle with that myself a bit. Still i have lot of childhood memories of the place, but i’ve always thought it was out of place too.

    Oh and the pool’s in the back…..

  • m – that’s a great story! AND it has one of the mythic Cap Hill pools?! Now I know whose door to knock on this summer!

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