Second Floor Row House Renovation by Heather Goss

bathroom before

Back in Jan. ’08 I first spoke to Heather about her house hunt, loans and initial projects. In July ’08 we saw her sweet kitchen renovation. Heather has recently had the second floor of her row house renovated and has been kind enough to share her experiences. She writes:

PoP did a profile on my renovations when I bought my Columbia Heights rowhouse in 2007. That first six months I put in new floors, an HVAC system, and a full kitchen, as well as numerous small projects (door handles, light fixtures, and gallons of paint aplenty). I took about a year off to save up for the next major project: the second floor.

The previous owner had unsuccessfully tried to flip this house and did numerous travesties to it in the process, the biggest of which was the bathroom. The pictures don’t do it justice — it was usually met to “oh god!”s when viewed for the first time in person. It wasn’t just heinously ugly, either — tiles were missing, the grout was cracking and flaking off, and tub’s wood frame was in extremely poorly built and soaking up water, etc etc etc.

bathroom before

Also, the house had a total of zero closets, unless you count the poorly built extension in the master bedroom. Since the bathroom was enormous for the size of the house, I built the master closet into it, to make a small walk-in closet, and added a closet on the other side of the bathroom, in the second bedroom. (Rooms can’t technically be called “bedrooms” unless they have closets.) Continues after the jump.

washer/dryer after

Lastly, my washer/dryer was downstairs, taking up all the space in a large closet built for the water heater. I wanted to free up that space for a utility/coat closet and also make the w/d easier to access, so I built a third closet upstairs out of some dead space in the second bedroom.

bathroom after

I had my regular contractors, Farfan Home Improvements, do all the construction work. They took about two months to finish and were great, as always; we only ran into a couple snags and delays, nothing too major, except an extra day of plumbing in the bathroom when they ripped open the wall and saw what the previous owner had done to it. (They also spent a day fixing my roof, which suddenly decided to start leaking.) I hired California Closets to do all three closets. I’m happy with the finished product, but they were really difficult to work with — it took 10 emails to get across every one idea and rescheduled each of their two visits multiple times, because none of them seem to communicate with each other.

master closet after

So that’s it! I feel like I’ve added tons of square footage to the house just by redesigning all the space in a more useful manner. And I know some of you will cry “oh enough with the granite!” but I am REALLY happy with the bathroom. My mom saw that vanity go on sale in a Costco circular and when she showed it to me, I practically ran to the internet to buy it immediately.

The photo set of my entire renovation is here.

downstairs utility closet after

master closet before

master closet after

master closet after

10 Comment

  • looks fabulous–thanks for sharing the photos!

  • Who did the brick repair on your chimney?

  • Great job on the renovations…I remember your kitchen renovations as well. Seems like you have been able to find a way to fit in modern amenities in the old house. Do you feel like you’re done with renovating for a while?

  • Anon — Farfan did the brick repair, too.

    PetworthRes — Thanks, and yeah, I’m definitely done for awhile. The inside is 95% done except a minor half-bath turnover and a bunch of detail work. The next major project is getting the back and front yards fenced and landscaped, and I need to save up some money for that.

  • Looks great! Can you provide the contact information for Farfan Home imporovements? Also, who did you use to install your HVAC system? Thanks.

  • A BIG congrats on finishing your renovations, Heather! (I’m so jealous your done…I’ve still got a kitchen/living room renovation to live through.) Your place looks great! Enjoy it!

  • on heather‘s recommendation, the farfan brothers came by and patched a leak on my roof as well. granted, that was a much smaller sample of time than heather had working with them, but i was impressed.

    their number is 703-499-0453, and their email is farfan_renovations at yahoo dot com

  • Odd…can’t find her listed contractor (Farfan Home Improvements) in the DCRA licensing database (

    Did she get permits? Is the contractor licensed?

  • i’ll never understand the appeal of those types of sinks

  • Uncouth as it is, could you tell us the price of all of this? Trying to budget for my own bathroom re-do.

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