Dear PoP – A Really Good Pop Up


“Dear PoP,

If you haven’t seen it, check out the new pop-up on the Unit Block of T St NW. I think the house number is 68. It is the most architecturally sympathetic pop-up I have ever seen. Indeed, I pointed it out to a few friends today and it took them a few minutes to actually see it – that is how sympathetic it is. It looks like there is still work being done on the house at this point – would be interesting to see what the inside looks like!”

I’ll keep my eyes peeled to see if it goes on the market for a peek at some inside photos. What do you guys think of the pop up?


27 Comment

  • Seventeen thumbs up for the overall design, but twelve thumb amputations for the window framing.

    Still, a fine effort. Wish more followed the general idea.

  • janie4

    Did you happen to find out who the contractor/architect are (sign in the front yard) – I want to hire them some day (when my ship comes in).

  • There is one on 1st st NW, south of O that’s done really well. It took me a while to convince my other half that it wasn’t original

  • This is my house! Yay. I would love to share any information I can, but actually my boyfriend is the owner and in charge of construction so he would be the person to ask. I will let him know about the complementary write-up.
    I can answer the basic questions though. Our address is 68 T St. NW. All of the windows below the 3rd floor will be replaced eventually and the window lintels will all be painted the same color.
    Here is a link to our flickr with construction photos.

  • sympathy rules!

  • i have to say, i like it. it would be nice to have some wood trim or brick decor, but not essential. i like it a.lot. i might screw up the brick a bit to make it look old. a sander wouid do that in a heartbeat. all in all, awesome. i’m guessing … $40k no?

  • Not sure I like it. Maybe the mortar needs to age. Certainly the windows don’t match. Sometimes matching isn’t what is called for.

  • @the poo guesses There will be trim, I’m just not sure when. The whole house is being rehabbed and that just isn’t high on the priority list right now. I’m not sure of the cost.
    @everyone We are open to suggestions on how to age the top to match the bottom, though the finishing touches on the exterior are probably a year or two away. If after all of the finishing touches and trying to match we still aren’t completely happy we may consider repainting the house, though that would be a tough decision because we had high hopes for natural brick.
    One last note, the basement window should be installed within a week or two.

  • Great pictures Kyle, excellent construction project.

  • This is excellent – a world apart from the last pop up. I love the roof! Stylistically it blends well with the houses on each side.

    I give it 20 thumbs up and just a .75 deduction for the 3rd floor windows. Especially since all the lower windows will eventually be replaced.

  • I hate to be the sour puss but I don’t like it for a couple reasons. A- the edge of the brick to the right doesn’t line up with the inside corner of the house, and B- there is no roof eaves, overhang, or trim detail. It’s not terrible, but I don’t think that it melds in as nicely as possible.

    • i think that the brick doesnt visually line up because the visual front of the house, and the actual parapet walls dont line up on these houses.

      basically, a little bit of what looks like one house is actually the next house over.

      • yeah, look at this picture.
        you can see the left edge of the popup is extended maybe a foot or so to the left of the bay.
        it visually looks like its sitting above the orange-trim house, but it isn’t.
        how could one tastefully deal with that?
        maybe by making the house look a little narrower by paint the right edge the cream house color?
        or do you add some trim to the popups right wall to make it look a little thicker?

  • I am Kyle’s boyfriend and the one in charge of the construction. Sorry this house will not be going on the market it is where we live now and we are renovating it for us. We will post photos on our flicker account and if you stop buy I love to give tours.

    The original trim for the roof was saved and is being restored. The original trim for the roof is metal and requires some extensive repair after 100 years of weather. There was six months of discussion and searching for alternatives to putting up the original roof trim but in the end none were as good as the original.

    The architect was Maiden & Associates (202) 244-2600 (big on historic renovations, MIT)

    The contractor was DPC Construction, Johnny Davis (202) 320-3259

    Electrician – Helen Arechiga (202) 492-9521

    Plumber – Kevin Baptist (202) 207-5921

    HVAC – Allan (240) 882-4896

    The thin mortar lines required substantial work and I credit the masons of DPM construction for their near obsessive desire to do it right. The brick will match once the house is repointed but that will require the mortar to be removed by hand not grinder and then replaced (spring 2011). The brick does line up because it went from rounded to right angled as it transitioned to the cupola The right side brick does go over that far but the transition needs cosmetic work.

    The basement was dug out and underpinning was required, structurally the house is twice what it was purchased six years ago.

    All of the HVAC equipment is on the roof (3 zones), the roof is a white reflective roof.

    The windows will all be the black aluminum Pella windows on the third story and the basement front window will be opened shortly (yellow bottom bricked window). The existing cheap windows are a mess but replacing them is messy, time consuming and not meant for cold weather (not that they block out much of the cold).

    This renovation is far from over, it will have a spring 2011 completion. The house was purchased knowing that the cost for an architectural matching third story would be incurred. With that being said the cost of a cheap pop up verses our third story addition is substantial. This is a time consuming process that took three years of design, planning and permitting (even as a matter of right) with three years of construction (let’s hope not much more).

  • This is fantastic, and I love hearing from the people doing the rehab too. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside to see projects where so much effort is made to preserve, restore and maintain the integrity of the house. I think it’s going to look great. Kudos for you all for your effort to save and improve a beautiful old property.

  • Looks great so far. Congrats on having the vision and ambition to make this house beautiful again!

  • I agree with Pinto that the brick doesn’t line up. Peter, is there a hidden cuppola on the roof that we can’t see (a skylight, perhaps), because I just can’t picture what you were trying to explain. The new brick on the top floor stops at the (right-hand side) neighbor’s cornice, instead of continuing over a few more inches to the right, which just makes the top floor look a little “off.” As for blending the new with the old, I say paint the whole house. The old brick isn’t that interesting, and it sort of clashes with the heavy-handed use of the new brick stairs and wall.

  • Can we have more pictures please?

    So far, I am very impressed — looking forward to seeing the old trim back up on the cupola.

    Thanks for explaining that all the windows will be black aluminum —

  • Paint the whole thing. Use lime-based paint so you don’t have any moisture problems with the historic masonry. Frager’s on CH carries lime-based paint.

    The thing that’s off about the addition is that the width of the projection matches the width of the brick corbelling instead of the wall below. If a 19th century builder was doing the pop-up, they would have designed the width of the addition just a tad narrower so it’s walls would have been in line with the walls of the original part below. That would have kept the weight of the wall in line with the wall below instead of putting weight on the corbelled brick cornice that probably couldn’t support the weight. But you used brick-veneer which is alot lighter, so it’s OK structurally, just doesn’t get this traditional detail right.

  • Peter – way to go it looks great.
    I suppose people would have wanted you to continue the round corner brick up to the top and then transition to right angle brickwork before the cornice.
    As far as the right not being even – up there is a roof there – do you expect him to brick ontop of someone’s roof?

    My only question is with regards to the on-demand water heater that is placed outside. Having had one in eastern Europe – can you mount them outside? What was the, if I can be nosey, reason for doing that?

    I love the white roof – so smart!
    Good luck.

  • @Andy (2) I think our specific instant on hot water heater was designed to be put outside and we did it to preserve as much space in the house as we could.

  • Andy (2) – The owners of this house would not have had to “brick on top of someone’s roof.” The only part of the neighbor’s (white) rowhouse that juts over to this house is the decorative wooden cornice – but that stops at the brick facade of Peter and Kyle’s house. It looks odd that the far right vertical edge of this red brick house doesn’t continue all the way up to the new third floor.

    I think I just realized that a couple of people on here are referring to the peaked roof on top of the bay (also known as a “witch’s hat”) as a cupola. That is not a cupola.

    All in all, it looks pretty good!

  • Helen’s great and nice and fair. She’s become a friend. Glad people are using her.

    Respect for the effort you are putting in to stay historically complementary. It will pay off when you are done…in home value and in the beauty of the end (but does it ever?) product. Wish more people did it in these great old rowhomes.

  • I’m dissappointed that the architect didn’t look to either house beside it for inspiration, unless the exterior is still a work in progress, then I apologize for the comment. What is missing is the cornice. It looks like a rocket ship otherwise. Put a cornice around the top to make it flow. Another missed opportunity, but there are so many in DC that this fits that new “Vernacular Design” aesthetic that is plagued the city.

  • The right side actually goes over the correct amount it is the angle of the picture that and the other houses trim that makes the brick look off. Because the trim of each house interlocks with adjacent homes there is no easy way to correct this. We are working on solutions but they will take at least a year to implement. I will add pictures to my flicker account this weekend to show how the bricks line up. The wall was brought up at full width, the bricks are not a brick veneer but a single layer of bricks tied to a wood structure behind it. The parapet walls (side walls) are block. The original front brick wall is a hand split brick veneer in front of the structural brick front of the house.

    The far right red brick that does not continue up never existed because it was covered by the trim that new brick was repair work we had to do to our neighbors house because we removed the trim that mated to their trim.

    As for the brick not turning the right corner, yes I regret not doing that and it kills Johnny my contractor that he was not more adamant about me doing that but I simply did not know. The cost would have been minimal.

    I regret the new brick on the stairs and the wall but that was done in 94 well before us, we will consider painting but only after the house has been done for a year and we have time to think about it.

    Pictures are on Flicker at –

    A reminder to all the cornice was preserved and will be installed in 2011, it required a lot of repair work. The exterior will not be finished until 2011.


  • Great to hear the cornice was saved and will be replaced. And to add to the comment on the use of the word \veener\ that refers to a layer of a material placed on top of a support layer in other words an ornamental coating to a building and not a structurally part of the building as the original part of the house is.

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