House of the Day

DSCN8474, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I really like some of these rowhomes that have a bit of deep front yard. I can’t remember if I’ve asked this before but if your neighborhood becomes “safer” would you ever remove the bars from the first floor?

18 Comment

  • No! I live in an objectively safe neighborhood, and I love the bars! Most of my neighbors don’t have them, but I think they look neat. Plus, as safe as my neighborhood is, people’s houses still get broken into. I live alone, and I definitely feel better knowing the bars are there. Although, I think of them as primarily aesthetic, with the safety elements a secondary benefit.

  • I would never ever remove the bars from my windows. I went to visit my parents in Missouri (no I’m not originally from there, they moved while I was in college – blech to Missouri) and they live in the absolute middle of nowhere – I felt unsafe THERE without bars on the windows! I guess I’m just used to the feeling of safety with the bars.

    Also, the condo building that I rent in just rehabed all the bars on the windows. I came home from work one day to find completely new, fire-safety (ones you can open from the inside) bars. These guys were working all day to remove the old bars, and to think that people probably didn’t question the fact that they were removing them kind of scares me! Oh well.

  • I personally hate burglar bars, and as a potential home buyer, they significantly reduce the amount that I would pay for a house.

  • In some historic districts within D.C., the bars on the windows are considered “period” attributes to the homes, and therefore must be maintained or replaced with acceptable substitutes, just as if they were windows with wooden panes, or a particular type of roofing material. If you’re thinking about removing the bars and you live in an historic district, it’s probably worth checking into first. If burglary and/or breaking and entering are significant parts of your neighborhood’s history, those bars will have to stay put anyway. In some historic business districts, bulletproof glass must be maintained to historic standards.

  • I’m with Nichole– most of my street doesn’t have them, but I like mine. They don’t negatively affect the look of the place, and I like being able to totally secure the place. Especially when I’m out of town.

    @Eli: they reduce the amount you would pay for a house? By more than $500, which is about what it would cost to have them removed? Then you’re not a very savvy home buyer.

  • WDC – The whole is greater than the sum if its parts. Just like a putrid green house would probably sell for less than what it would cost to repaint it, I would offer less than the cost to replace the burglar bars. I also consider them to be a good shorthand for the safety of the immediate vicinity. If most houses in a transitional neighborhood don’t have burglar bars, but this particular house does, I assume that it is in a part of the neighborhood that hasn’t quite “transitioned” enough to go without them. Obviously not the most scientific assessment, but I hardly think I’m the only one who makes such initial assumptions.

  • @Eli, I live on the Hill in a well post-transitional neighborhood. It really doesn’t indicate anything other than the fact that I like them. I was in Georgetown yesterday and saw bars on windows. Not the norm, but they were definitely decorative (mine have some scroll work that I’m fond of). Like I said above, the safety is just a bonus, and one that as a single woman, even living in a safe neighborhood, I like. Of course, I also live in a pink house, so I’m thinking Eli’s issues with my place wouldn’t begin or end with the bars…

  • @Nichole – :D. Perhaps I just need to see your bars…I guess some fancy ones might be OK.

  • This isn’t my house (it’s actually one of the John Phillips Sousa houses on the Hill) but this is a great example of super cool (if overly-kitschy, even for me) bars on windows. They’re kind of hard to see here because I didn’t feel right marching up the stairs and taking a closer pic (people live here), but see – bars CAN be cool and decorative. (this is on G St. SE, between 6th and 7th, if I remember correctly – on a safe, pretty, tree lined street)

  • @Nichole – I think that works well because the bars complement the railing and gate. So I can see the appeal. It still isn’t really my cup of tea, but I suppose I will have to modify my negative presumptions about window bars :).

  • saf

    I hate bars. I would remove them ASAP if I ever bought a house that had bars.

  • It’s nice to be able to leave the windows open while sleeping or leaving the house during the day and not have to worry about it.

  • My front window bars were removed years ago. I would remove the bars on the front door if I had a decent (thick) door.

  • Had ours taken off the first floor when we put in new windows. Absolutely the best thing we ever did. It’s a whole different feeling. Left them on the basement windows though

  • Bars are hideous and scream “GHETTO!”. Why would you want to live in a plcae that feels like a prison. Seriously, they are horrific except maybe on basement windows hidden behind a bush.

  • The bars don’t make me feel more or less safe. I just think they give a sense of history in our, what I believe to be, safe neighborhood.

  • i live on the 1300 block of kenyon st nw, and didn’t have bars even after catching several guys breaking into my house while home over the last 8 yrs. i guess i was in denial. But, last year while my wife, 3 yr old son and i were getting ready to eat dinner, someone dove through my dining room window headfirst and i had to yell at him to get out of the house and use the f’n front door, please. well, he did, only to return when the cops who were chasing him were not only out back but also out front, so he ran back into my house and locked the two front doors which were kicked in by the police who then took him down in my living room. I LOVE MY BARS! and i guess i live in the ghetto,

  • Drews Ironworks of Philadelphia makes several styles of easy exit fire safe burgular bars which are decrotive and safe. The newest style looks just like a normal screen window.

Comments are closed.