40 Comment

  • I don’t mind pop-ups. But pop-ups that look like Sears ® siding? WHY????

  • I was going to say ugly but then looking at the entire building, I will say the whole building is ugly, not just the pop-up. I’m sorry to say but kudos to the pop-up for keeping the look of the original.

  • Way down.

    I live close-by and watched this process. They practically rebuilt the entire house so there was no real reason to switch to such horrible siding for the pop-up.

    • This might be a dumb question, but is adding on with brick insanely more expensive?

      • I think it is. This goes back in time but some rowhouses are built with more layers of brick (say 12 inches) on the first floor since that often was the entertaining level of a house but then on the higher floors, bricks were set only 6 or 9 inches deep, if that makes sense. I apologise for my clumsy writing.

        • that doesn’t have anything to do with it. when these house were built, the brick was structural. thats no longer the case and the brick used now is just a shell around the structure, tied in at points.
          but yes, brick is much more expensive than siding. the real question is, isn’t there anything that is attractive and inexpensive? stucco ( smooth, of course) even?

          • The example illustrates that brick is costly, which even back in the day, they took cost-cutting measure in terms of how much brick was used. Sorry you missed that connection.

          • anon 5:05, i did miss the connection. sorry.

            i do wonder though if that is still correct. the setbacks also have two other reasons. the first floor was built so thick so that i could hold up the higher floors and to account for the setbacks need to set the joists or sills into place. i don’t think it was to make the first floor nicer or fancier.

          • I get your point about the brickwork on the main floor had to be solid in order to support the upper floors. However, would you say that share your neighbor’s wall (side, not front facing or back facing) would necessitate few layer of bricks than on the main level for structural reasons? Maybe they would. I would think that while your reasoning, could work, so could mine. On the shared neighbor walls, wouldn’t you want to have 12″ deep brick layers on all layers for insulation and sound proofing? Why would this be done only on the main or first floor? While structural are important considerations, brick also provides uses beyond the structural.

        • Also, some of the sidewall bricks in rowhouses built in the 20s/30s were hollow terra cotta. I’m not sure how well these insulate for sound, or how well they survived last year’s earthquake.

          • That’s true, Doug, that some walls in rowhouses were terra cotta. Probably a way of cost-cutting.

  • Oh. Oh my. That is ugly–no, butt-ugly–no, calling it butt-ugly insults butts everywhere.

  • I don’t love it but do think it could be worse. On the upside, the windows are aligned well, the colors are tasteful and they put a decorative sofit or cornice (?) around the roof. It’s not horrible.

  • Wow. I used to live here (if this is 337 K st NE?) paying rent. It was quite simply, a sh*t hole. It’s good to see that they got rid of the fugly red paint on the exterior brick. Wonder if this place was sold to a new owner?

  • Not horrible – we’ve seen worse. Faint praise, but there it is.

  • i hate it. but i am also jealous of it. the conflict is tearing me apart.

  • It’s always thumbs down. The only time pop-ups look good is when they are set back and can’t be seen from the street. (Obviously not possible with this house.) Really–just move if you need more space.

  • Ugly. The vast majority of the pop-ups in DC are an embarrassment to the designer and to the owner.

  • The building was actually vacant for the last 50+ years, according to some of my older neighbors. So it’s nice to see it (slowly) coming back to life.

    This pop-up could better, but it could certainly be worse. The windows line up & it has some appropriate trim. Also, of all the places for pop-ups, I think in general corners can seem the least out-of-place.

  • brookland_rez

    Not terrible, I’ve certainly seen worse pop-ups.

  • I live a block from this house. The contractors are amazingly slow. They have yet to start on the interiors of the house (wiring, plumbing, drywall, etc.) It’s been about two years thus far, so I expect them to be completed by 2016. Check back then for the final product.

  • Gaah! Just look at those windows! They look like they are taped onto the surface. Compare to the depth and definition of the original windows, and this becomes a perfect example of the horribleness of today’s cheap balloon construction methods. It makes the whole thing look paper thin and cheap, not stable and permanent.

    This kind of vernacular architecture communicates a popular value of our consumer society – prioritize getting the most for your money; process, method, and quality are secondary. The same values are in play in Wal-mart vs. the counterculture of local, artisinal, “crafty” goods. It’s also drives our DIY homeowner culture. Here, the owner chose maximum space with cheap construction rather than less space with quality construction. Understandable when the individual and cultural value says that he is buying space, not architecture.

    Props on keeping a cornice line and the same window size and shape. Unfortunately it’s overshadowed by the incompatible cheapness of the construction.

    • “The same values are in play in Wal-mart vs. the counterculture of local, artisinal, “crafty” goods. It’s also drives our DIY homeowner culture.”

      Good heavens, this makes me want to scream. Look, honey, maybe little yuppie girls and boys like you can afford “local, artisinal, ‘crafty’ goods,” but the profusion of walmarts and the like have made goods available to a whole spectrum of people who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

      • While I admit that my statement was loaded, I didn’t necessarily mean it as a good/bad judgement. Mostly, I wanted to point out that architecture, like other art, is an expression of cultural values. And the value that is evident in this pop-up is the same cultural value that drives demand for big-box stores. This IS a mainstream value, or else we would have no Wal-marts. Still, some people reject this very popular value, creating a counter-culture of crafty, boutique-shopping people. A pop-up based on the latter value would look quite different.

        • Anonymous, I think you’re missing Sweetsound’s point.

          Local/artisanal/”crafty” is all very well and good… but it’s also very expensive, putting it out of reach for many people.

          • I get it. That’s exactly what I’m saying. It’s the difference between “stretch your dollar as far as it will go” and “pay a premium for a particular method”.
            I’m not saying everyone can or should buy $10 jars of “artisinal” pickles. I am, however, pointing out that this owner made a conscious decision to maximize the total volume of the pop-up with a very economical construction method, rather than accepting less space with better materials and compatibility with the existing architecture.

            Let’s be clear here, this is a building addition, which makes me assume that the owner is not a struggling renter living paycheck to paycheck who has no choice but to buy the package of ramen just to subsist. I’m not talking about people who’s decisions are forced by poverty or circumstance. No, I’m talking about a person with the means to make the choice, and the value they expressed in the choice they made.

          • ya the people buying this house are gonna be poor!

      • Amen.
        I mean,

      • Lol, who’s making assumptions now?

        By the way, why does doing it yourself have to be expensive?

        Re: the popup, its ok. If the third floor was taller, it would look quite good IMO.

    • +1 to each of your responses too, you clearly know what you are talking about. the window frame is actually deeper than the casing! no doubt a vinyl piece of crap which will need to be replaced in 15 years.

  • How ???? I usually think we have gone too far in DC with preservation efforts, but uck…this is proof these additions need to be controlled. Tear it off

  • THIS is why pop-ups have a bad name – this home does not match ANY of the surrounding BRICK architecture. DC residential homes are 99% brick, so to erect a third floor with cheap vinyl siding is an afront to the community. While it does cost more to use matching brick as a facade over new construction, it adds to the neighborhood by blending in with the existing character that has lasted over 100 years, and adds value to the home.
    My neighbor and I spent the extra $$ to use matching bricks on our additions, and the results are evident (see 13th & Otis).

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