Flip’t: It’s Finally Finished by David Garber

David Garber is a DC neighborhood blogger and real estate entrepreneur. His mission: help bring back DC’s neighborhoods, one rotting house at a time. You can read David’s previous posts here.

It took seven long months to finish this place, but it’s finally done. For some
reason it’s always the last few things on the renovation checklist that end up
being the most gruelingly difficult to finish. Even though I swore this would
never happen again after it did during my own home renovation, my general
contractor ran off with a couple thousand before finishing the job, so I had to
squeeze out the final touches on my own. With each project I do, I keep
learning that you pay for what you get. If you’re pinching pennies, you have
to be extra careful about the quality of work completed and how the
contractors are managing your money. As much as I don’t enjoy
micromanaging people, it’s a total must – especially on tight-budget projects –
to take charge.

Take the interior paint, for example. Absolutely grueling. Why? Because my
contractor made the assumption that I wanted the entire house the exact same
color. When I agreed to only do one color on the walls as a way to save
money, somehow that translated to painting the ceilings and the trim the same
linen color. To be honest, after countless similar episodes throughout the
project, it was almost a relief when he left the job.

The interior of the house is totally new. Nothing original from its humble c.
1890-1905 birth year remains. So, I chose a dark stain for the red oak floors
because I wanted to give the house a rich, oozing with history feel. Not to be
fake about anything, but to restore some dignity to this home that had it all
stolen away over time. Matte black doorknobs offer a crisp contrast to the
white doors. Crown molding is made of three separate pieces of trim and
makes the transition from wall to ceiling all the more graceful.

Continues after the jump.

The 22 karat gold house numbers in a font created in the first decade of the
20th century give the house presence and legitimacy (expensive but totally
worth it. Monumental Graphics of Hyattsville did the install and this was his
first residential installation east of the Anacostia). It’s these details that really
make the house pop. Would it sell without them? Maybe, but that’s not
always the point.

I found a great mirror for the half bath on Craigslist. After searching high and
low for something in my price range that looked decent, all I was coming up
with was matchy pieces from Lowe’s and Home Depot. Ick. (allow me a gag,
I shop at those places all the time) But, happily, I found a retiree in Takoma
Village (super awesome lady who lived in the co-housing development) who
had bought this windowpane mirror at Eastern Market but was downsizing and
moving to San Francisco. Perfection, I thought, because it was what this house
is all about: old meets new.

Enter my favorite place in the house, the kitchen. Doesn’t it look great? If I
could do it all over again I’d probably make the wall cabinet doors on either
side of the solid wood. I love the glass, as well as the in-cabinet lights, but
people typically like hiding things in their cabinets more than they like
displaying them.

I found the amazing farmhouse table at Miss Pixie’s on 14th Street. I wanted to
have an island-like feature, so opted for a table with handsome pendant lights
overhead. A casual place to sit is always welcome in the kitchen.

I’ve always liked it when bathrooms have unique themes. Nothing cheesy like
Under the Sea or something … but some prefer the “all bathrooms in the house
are one style” approach and that’s just not me. For the upstairs hall bath, I
opted for a custom black and white tile design on the floor (very labor
intensive, as each black hex has to be inserted into the already glued-together
white sheets) and a classic white carrera marble countertop. The faucets,
knobs, and lights all sport white porcelain accents on shiny chrome. It’s a
clean look.

As much as I would have loved to totally stage this house, I’m not sprouting
money (yet), so you’ll have to imagine the complementary shower curtains and
freshly rolled towels. For the master bath I went with a travertine-look
porcelain tile on the floor, with a tumbled travertine accent in the shower.
Mirrors and vanity are dark cherry. I’ll be honest, I think this bathroom would
look better in a different paint color. It comes across as a calm, sort of
sophisticated look, but isn’t the most exciting of combinations. Fortunately
painting is the easiest thing (for the next owner) to do.

So that’s it, folks. Crossing my fingers the right buyer comes along shortly. It’s
been fun meeting the visitors: young couple from Adams Morgan, home-
schooling mom from Woodley Park, young family from Hillcrest, and even a
government contracting firm looking to locate near St. Elizabeths.

This has been one heck of a project but a really rewarding one. Here’s the
Redfin listing.

Thanks so much for reading! Ciao!

21 Comment

  • Love the pics, looks really good and priced well. Good job!

  • Not bad at all. I hope you make money on your project.

  • looks like a great reno, congrats on the completion of your hard work. however, i can’t help but wondering about the layout. the downstairs configuration seems especially troubling given all the doors under the stairs. how on earth would one set up a living room area without blocking those doors (which i presume are closets)?

    • Yeah, I’ve seen a few Capitol Hill rowhouses with that layout and I really don’t like it. You have the stairs staring you in the face when you walk in, the living room area kind of stuck in the corner as an afterthought, and then this awkward area alongside the stairs that leads the eye straight back to the kitchen. I think it would be hard to make such a space feel welcoming.

      • The houses are so narrow that when you start throwing up walls you feel like you’re in a child’s bedroom instead of the main floor of a house. I’m not sure there’s a perfect solution but you can always throw up a screen to divide up the room.

  • gorgeous!

  • PoP,
    Would be a good idea to poll your readers to see how many would actually buy/rent in SE.

  • Nicely done, where did you find those great pendant lights?

  • Nice job!!!
    Where are the bars for the windows? Looks ripe for a burglary.

  • I want that kitchen!

  • Great work, and a really interesting read to get this insight into how one of these projects goes down, even the ugly parts (what an idiot that painter must have been … linen trim??).

    I’m going to second-guess David on one point, though — 22k gold house numbers??!? In SE??!? That’s insane, especially since it’s now advertised here for all the world to know it’s not just some cheap brass from the Depot. (Allowing me that bit of incredulity, however, I like the rest of it. The numbers are nice, too, I just don’t think they’ll be there that long.)

    • I thought he meant color, not ingredients.

      • I would hope that was what he meant, but I fear not: unless 22 karat is a new shade of gold, I read that as ingredients. (Combined with the gratuitous mention of the expense, I was leaning even more in that direction.)

    • It’s gold-leaf. If a thief wants to take the time to scrape it off, he may have a whole dollar’s worth of gold on his hands…

      • Why gold leaf? Why not just a gold colored paint? Honestly, I would never guess that it was gold leaf, don’t care that it is, and if it was a materially different price, think it’s not a very good use of money. Rest of house looks great, though.

        • personally, i would use 22k gold leaf too. it never tarnishes, like most non-mica powder gold paints or composition leaf.
          and its easier to apply than paint, as you won’t see brush strokes and there wont be an uneveness. its lightfast. plus it just looks better.

  • I don’t know if dividers are the answer Ragged Dog

  • it’s gold paint, people. you can’t just melt it down and make an ingot.

  • Oh. It is beautiful. I love the detail you put in it — definitely not the typical flip remod. I really like the dark floors and the glass cabinets – you could always frost some if you didn’t want the oatmeal to show. I so want to fix up an old house – thanks for the inspiration!

  • You get what you pay for is right! Cheap contractors will do cheap quality finishes. When they finally realize they aren’t going to profit on the contract, they run!

Comments are closed.