Good Deal or Not? Gutted Victorian Row House Edition


This home is located at 4225 8th Street, NW:

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“Victorian Rowhouse gutted & transformed into 2 fabulous 2-level units. This is the UPPER unit & consists of the front half of the 2nd flr & the entire 3rd flr. 3BR(2BR+sep. 9’x10’den w/ skylight)/2.5BA & approx. 1,440′. Everything is new. Hwd Flrs, high ceilings, HVAC, alarm system, wired for surround sound, good closet space, granite & SS, full sized w/ d & PKG included! 10% down w/ BB & T & Wells.”

More info and photos found here.

I remember looking at these homes when they first were renovated. I think this whole section of 8th Street, NW was renovated by the same group. As I’m dealing with some house issues right now (more on that later) I’m starting to get envious of these renovated ones. This unit is going for $413,900. Unit 1 is going for $388,000. Do you think unit 2 is worth around $25k more than #1? Do you like the renovation?

33 Comment

  • Am I the only person who finds it sad that almost every larger home in this part of the city gets divided up into multiple units? Some of these places would be awesome as large-ish single-family homes, in my opinion. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the suburbs, but I think there’s a lot more you can do with a house beyond a living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Like an office. And a bar and soundstage in the basement.

  • I think this developer does very nice finishes on the interiors of these condos. You can look at previous sales on this block to see these prices are right in line with previous sales. I only wish they did more with the exteriors – I don’t like the way the meters are attached to the front of the houses, and I wish they had restored the porches. Overall though, these are some of the nicest gut-renovated condos in the neighborhood. I don’t mind chopping up the houses considering that this used to be an entire block of abandoned dilapidated rowhouses. I live nearby and they make great neighbors. Also, the square footage of these condos is about the same as my house – they are much deeper than my house, so they aren’t chopping up homes into tiny units.

  • I agree with animal mother and think it is sad to see these big homes butchered.

  • I’m kinda shocked that these have been on the market as long as they have–seems like it’s been months now. The developer must have taken a bath on them, since they’re unloading some vacant houses on the 700 block of Upshur they probably intended to do the same way…

  • The only thing that bothers me about these houses are those “faux” garages… ok a garage door, but no garage? Are my eyes playing tricks on me??

  • This house just went on the market. They finished these units one by one at different times. That’s why it seems like they’ve been on the market for so long. It would be nice to be able to make an entire unit affordable, but I think chopping up houses here and there is fine as long as it’s not the entire neighborhood. I live in one of these units and love the block, the unit and the neighbors.

  • Seems like a lot for a condo in Petworth when you can get a whole house in decent shape for that price also in Petworth.

  • Animal Mother I’m totally with you. It just kills me to see these wonderful old houses chopped up. I know some of these homes look like gut jobs but would it kill someone to restore them or at least put some character back into the house. I’m also sick of the open floor plan. I must be the only person left on earth that actually lives in my living room and prefers a separate dining room where you don’t have to have the smell of food permeating every inch of the house.

  • [email protected]:31

    Amen. Having rooms is great, as long as the house has decent flow. The open floor plan just doesn’t fit some of these older homes. I understand the appeal of tying together kitchen and dining space, but the long fully open floor plan reminds me of a bowling alley in these narrow houses.

  • [email protected]:31 pm no you aren’t the only one. I loathe open concept unless it is an industrial loft situation.

    I know whey the “developers” do these thing – it’s a good way to recoup the investment. May be easier to sell two codo at a lower price point than it is to sell a single family and significant price point. I would just never move into a condo situation when there were less than 5 units – I like small buildings but not this small. I don’t know how good these things are for resale and it seems like something is being sacrificed to jam 2 units into a building that wasn’t designed for it. Also, there is usually some awkward entrance, weird floor plan, tiny rooms, etc. that turns me off.

  • The problem for me isn’t the open floor plan per se – its that it’s done poorly, with little architectural imagination. Often developers try to combine traditional elements (cherry floors and cabinets, crown molding, traditional wooden stairs) with the open plan, resulting in that classic “cheap Home Depot” renovation look. A truly modern look (like Dwell showcases) can be stunning even in these older homes, but it doesn’t come cheap…

  • I’m not opposed to large houses being divided into condos. In this case I’m not sure since these houses weren’t huge to begin with. But in general, people are having smaller families and not many people need 6 bedroom houses anymore. Plus it’s a waste to have such a large house in the middle of the city near a Metro stop, and higher density helps support retail.

    But I don’t like open floor plans, and I agree that a lot of these condo conversions appear to not be done with much thought given to creating a functional space.

  • I agree that there is a case to be made for smaller residences in general in densely populated urban areas. I’d just like to see a handful of these places kept as larger single-family homes, so a family could get creative with the space if they wanted to plant roots and raise a couple of kids in the city with a little extra room to play with. Doesn’t make sense that all of these old houses be set up that way, or even most of them, but I rarely see any at all. Maybe we’ll just have to build one out of the tiny house we have.

  • A lot of people seem to think: Open floorplan means my space looks big! Well, unless you have a huge loft space: No, it doesn’t mean that. It just means that instead of having small-ish separate rooms, you have one slightly larger open room. I’m also always amazed at how huge kitchens have become now, even in smaller condos. Do people really need 20 feet of countertops (granite, of course!)?

  • @ animal mother: There are plenty of intact houses in Petworth. I don’t think that the condo conversion thing will happen to that many more houses in the petworth area.

  • JohnnyReb I hear you with the kitchen amazement. I don’t want to live in my kitchen. Half of the time I don’t want to be in there period. Does it have to be so gargantuan? Do you really want people jammed in there while you’re trying to cook? People forget these gigantor kitchens have to be cleaned on a regular basis. Who has the time?

  • AA- I would love to have one of those garage doors with out the garage. I actually called the developer to find out who did it for him and the cost. That thing cost about 8 grand and 5 if you do it yourself. Pretty steep.

  • There had to have been a roof on the front porch of this house when it was built. Why didn’t they replace it when they renovated the place? It looks so stark and incomplete without it.

    Oh, and a house built in 1910 isn’t Victorian.

  • Formant was the developer that did my house on Quincy street — real good guy and truly quality work.

  • Formant did my place in Petworth too – did an amazing job. Can’t say enough good things. Even has a LEGAL rental basement. He opened up the attic into a master suite, and it’s truly droolworthy.

  • I’m a developer who often divides houses up into condos. However, I’m not a bad person. Really. I love historical architecture and restoring old buildings just as much as “animal mother” or any of the anons who posted above. But the reality is that we develop properties as a business and a means to generate money- not because we’re doing charity work. Rowhomes in DC are expensive to buy and exceedingly expensive to renovate. Condos are often the only way to recoup this investment. Wouldn’t you rather have a restored building- albeit condos- then a vacant or run-down eyesore?

    Look at the probable thought process of the builder on these particular properties above:

    As one house:

    Purchase price= $300k
    Renovation as one house= $200k
    Holding costs= $30k
    Closing costs on purchase and sale= $20k
    Sales commissions on sale= $36k
    Sales price= $579k, maybe?
    Profit= loss of $7k

    As two condos

    Purchase= $300k
    Renovation = $300k
    Holding costs= 30k
    Closing= $25k
    Sales commissions= $48k
    Sales price= $800K combined
    Profit= $97k

    Also as a benefit, the block gets new neighbors and a vacant house is eliminated. The city gets tax revenue from the sale and new homeowners which hopefully goes towards something productive.

  • I’m sure single family renovations would be profitable if there were enough demand for it and thus sales prices would follow the demand. But people who are buying in this are either don’t want something that big or can’t afford to pay for it.

    This one looks like a decent price. There aren’t very many decent comps (listings or sales) to compare to. I do think the den w/french doors does add value over the lower unit, and I don’t think 25k is too much to ask for that extra space.

    I think the use of both a skylight and a ceiling fan in the bedroom is awkward. Builder should have gone for only one of them.

    I also don’t like the bar counter in the kitchen. It seems to be a common feature these days, but honestly what purpose does it serve? The barstools are less than an arm’s length from the dining table. The eat-in function works for larger homes with separate dining rooms, but not something this size with an open plan. If the builder wanted to create something unique that defined the low wall separating kitchen and dining, some built-in cabinets would have worked great in this location.

  • I have no problem with houses getting split up if it’s done well. Almost that entire block of 8th St were badly dilapidated shells. I’m not sure how long it would have taken to fix up that block house by house…who wants to be in the only inhabited house on a block? There are actually very few houses split up into condos in Petworth. My block doesn’t have any…not even anyone renting out a basement apt.

  • There are large Hispanic families nearby, the lage houses in the area woulld do well for their needs, as subdividing the “large” homes is wasteful, that’s an opinion.

  • My wife and I just bought a house from this developer at 5726 5th street. He did a damn near perfect job of renovating this place. We have lived here over a month, and we have had some work done to customize the place and every contractor we have had out here has raved about the quality of the work. I think the prices for these two condos are just about right except that part of petworth is a little too trafficked for me. We liked it up here a little further to get away from the people a little bit.

  • I remember these condos when I was house hunting last fall. I thought that these were both beautiful and affordable. They were the main reason I started looking in Petworth for a house, before I saw these I didn’t even consider Petworth. I still think they are gorgeous and a good deal. The only negative is you can buy an entire renovated house for a little bit more $$.

  • Alex, you live near me. Welcome to the hood.

  • Wow thats a strong price given the current market. Every deal I can ever been involved in I made money when I bought the property not sold it.

  • I can remember whan that house in the picture was derelict, the others next to on either side had families in each of them, the one on the left has completely changed with the removal of stucco, now it boasts massive lions, like those seen on the United House of Prayer for all People Churches.
    Price too much.

  • The lower unit is listed in Columbia Heights and the upper unit is listen in Petworth… Whoops.

  • *Listed in Petworth… Give me coffee…

  • This particular developer does really nice work, I should know I own and am living in one of his homes that he did back in 2004. Part of the problem of keeping these large homes intact is the price point they hit. If the particular house that is pictured was kept as one house with maybe creating a basement apt it would run around 700K or more. Not many homes west of georgia ave can really demand that amount. I would not have bought my present house from this developer if it was on that block no matter how nice it is.

  • On the post at 3:49 I respect that opinion however I agree to disagree as the community needs to preserve the large homes as single family homes to accomodate families, allow to grow, regardless of race, age, creed, as condos are more appropriate to apartment buildings.

Comments are closed.