Judging Renovated Buildings – 14th Street


“Dear PoP,

As you might have noticed, there is a commercial building being renovated on 14th Street, right next to this porno/bike store you wrote about.


Well, the building they are renovating (forever now it seems like) has had this covering over the entire façade for the past month or so. They took it down today and it’s phenomenal what’s underneath; they’ve placed bronze all over the window bays; it’s going to be a baller building.”

Wow, looks awesome. I was wondering what these were gonna look like. The bronze (copper?) looks fantastic! This building is on the 1300 block of 14th Street, NW. Thumbs up or down?


29 Comment

  • Amazing reno- bordering on iconic.

  • I am sure with some time and patina it will look great! Right now it looks rather hideous, actually.

  • HIDEOUS??!? are you serious?

  • Thumbs up. It will be even better when the copper turns to verdegris

  • thumbs WAY up. nice to see that old building being brought back into its glory.

  • Thumbs up. Big time.

  • That is really, um, copper. I would be concerned about lawsuits when the sun hits it just right and blinds all of the drivers in a 3 block radius.

    I’m sure a year or two will dull it a bit so it is completely gorg.

    Is this going to be retail/offices?

  • “Hideous”: is that like kids today saying something is “sick”? Or “bad” MJ-style? If so, then I concur.

    Wow. This is one to watch. Looks terrific now; I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • I don’t envy the people that live in the building to the left where the man is standing on the balcony – first loud homeless people there and across the street at Popeye’s, and now a lot of dust and noise from the construction. I think they re-dug the subbasement in that building because I saw at least one full-size dumpster full of reddish dirt hauled away.

  • IT’S ABOUT FRIKKING TIME somebody spent dollars to renovate something in this city WITHOUT turning it into some post-modern sterilized Kubrick diamond-booger chamber.

    I haven’t seen such an obvious nod of respect towards classic DC architecture in so long…… I just may weep…… well done.

  • so effing cool it hurts.

  • It looks incredible in person! I love it.

  • HIDEOUS??!? are you serious?

    yes, hideous. I would prefer a facade of flat concrete with small windows which would make a statement about the reality of man’s isolation in this world. By maintaining the traditional (ie, “false”) style, we only serve to promote bourgeois delusions and continue to trap humanity in its old ways and old styles rather than freeing us to create a new, honest, future.

    How was that? Did I do a convincing imitation of those responsible for promoting the crappy architecture around here?

  • Some patina is fine, but I prefer straight up Copper like this. Talk about sweet.

  • JustMe, lol, thanks for trying (but failing) to interpret what I said. What I meant is that the copper is for the time being way too shiny for my liking, and does not, in my opinion, look very nice right now next to that dark brick. I think it will look much better with some time and patina (as I also said – sorry for using “hideous” I guess – I may have seen too much Pinky Dinky Doo during the weekends).

  • I love me some shiny copper!! If I could I would copper up my own house but I think its probably too much for my neighborhood.

  • Amazing. Do we have any more info on who’s responsible for the renovation? Whatever/whooever the construction and/or design company, I think it’d be beneficial to get their name out there and publicize the crap out of it. They’re doing GOOD work! finally.

  • I would guess that most of the copper is original to the buildings. Even at current, somewhat low copper prices it would cost a fortune for that much copper and associated workmanship. It’s kind of amazing that the copper is there at all to restore and had not been stripped as part of the war effort (WW2 that is) or, at some point, just sold for scrap.

  • Looks like the copper may have been there underneath a bunch of white paint:


    Needless to say, the before and after shot makes me cream. And the building isn’t even done!

  • If that copper was underneath the pre-existing paint, I retract every snide comment I made about how long that renovation was taking. Wow…and wow!

  • The copper is original for sure! I peaked up under the tarp on an ongoing basis while it was up and watched the copper slowly being reclaimed.

  • copper is amazing stuff. we’re counting down the days before our corroding tin cupola roof gets replaced with new copper that will last the next 100 years (or more!)

  • Upon completion of this restoration project later this year festivities should include:

    Horse mounted full joint service color guard in full regalia, strike up the Marine Band with bugles and a full Navy brass compliment, 14th Street High School parade, Kennedy Center Choir ensemble singing Christmas carols, before a pomp reviewing stand, fire engine trucks with ladders extended, presentation of arms, flags, flourishes, canon fire, etc.

    Mayoral visit with presentation of the key to the city to the venerable property owner before seated city elders and clergy.
    Property perimeter blessing by the Archbishop of Washington with organ music and white smoke trailing. Fireworks.

  • lordscarlet

    I thought it was obvious all along that this was original. There’s no way that copper was added this century. It does explain why it was shrouded in plastic so long (I live a block away). Between that and the more modern renovation that became Fathom, the block is getting some much-needed cleanup.

  • Oh wow! I walk up 14th past that place a lot and I never even noticed it (white paint, tarps, copper, etc)! Man I’m unobservant. Anyway – looks amazing!

    And sidenote on the Video 2000 / Rollin Cycles – I bought a new bike in there back in April after I read the post that is linked. Definitely amazing service and good prices! They hooked me up with everything I needed (lights, helmet, fenders) and even watched as I test rode around the block to make sure I didn’t get run over, because I told them I hadn’t ridden a bike in 10+ years! Gotta go back to get a pump, definitely recommend this place!

  • The original author was right, this is the James Baller building, built in 1903.

  • I’ve been walking by this building for years, and seeing the tarp removed is like opening a christmas present. Beautiful!

  • Now look at the copper (oriel) window at the SE corner of 11th and Lamont. Who in their right mind would paint over copper in PINKY PEACH tones?! Who would possibly buy a condo in a building like that?

  • i was surprised to see the restored copper… I could not imagine a contractor who carelessly power washed a historic brick facade would bother to restore such a feature.

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