Dear PoPville – Pop Up Advice

Ed. Note: Our 4pm post will show how the house above looks today.

“Dear PoPville,

I am in the final stages of design and permitting for a partial third floor addition to my house (yes, the dreaded pop-up, but hopefully the community will like our design).

I’m wondering if anyone in PoPville has personal recommendations on contractors for the work that I should research and/or get bids from. If so, please share!

Also, if you have any tips, suggestions or horror stories for things I should watch out for in doing this project I’m definitely interested in hearing them. I have a great architect but there is always something else to learn and keep in mind.”

21 Comment

  • I don’t have any advice, but as someone considering a pop up too, and if I can ask a personal question, how much are you budgeting for the project?

    • OP here – Architect says to calculate at $400/sf for construction which is probably more expensive than it will be, but gives me a good starting point for budgeting.

  • we are in week four of our project, which involves raising the roof of our third floor from about 6.5 feet to a slope from 8 to 12 feet. because we’re in historic district, we needed a design that wouldn’t be visible from the street, which we accomplished by angling the roof upwards from the front towards the back (so if you stand in front, you can’t see it). we moved into our basement apartment (which is completely closed off from the rest of the house) which was a very good move – there would really be no way to live in the rest of the house even though theoretically the work is being done in the unoccupied third floor. They have had to punch through many walls to run wires and pipes, and demolition is a dusty, messy racket even though we’re 30 feet below it…

  • I for one actually like the pop-ups, so long as they are tasteful and no more than one story above the original structure (I’d say that half the pop-ups I see are agreeable).
    My favorites are the partial pop-ups – the back two-thirds of the roof has the pop-up structure while the front third that faces the street becomes a roof terrace. I think those are really classy and awesome. I’d definitely love one of those in the future!
    I’m sure many people would love to hear more about your process and costs as you move forward with the project. What kind of design/features are you envisioning? Good luck!

  • Did you happen to get a price quote for either all brick or all siding as the exterior? I am interesting in knowing what the price difference was.

    • keep in mind that brick has other implications on the structure – namely an increased load that may require changes to more of the structure below (possibly including the foundation).

    • What about a brick facade? Cheaper, but without the structural and cost issues and keeps the look.

      • This is pretty much the only thing available – structural brick is never used in construction these days. It is still incredibly heavy relative to siding or concrete board.

  • I am also interested in cost/budget, timeline, and contractors used for your project and others. Insight?

  • If you really cared about the community, you should submit the design to them for their approval. They make like that it raises their property values but it clearly doesn’t fit with the designs of the other houses.

    • how does it hurt the community?

      • The poster is the one that used the term “community” and it expressed the desire that the community will like the design. It would be up to him or her to define the community. I would suggest sharing it with neighbors door-to-door, a neighborhood association, at a community event, or some sort of city council/ward meeting. It’s not hard, but it would require actual conviction.

    • Who exactly is “the community?”

  • DON’T DO IT.

  • Positive Space – Scott Evans – is my #1 proven go-to contractor. Reliable, creative and DC savvy. He built a great basement apt. for me. He won’t be the cheapest option but he will be the best.

  • if I had seen this earlier and known you were going to put a staircase up to a potential rooftop deck, I would have suggested a spiral staircase going up into a push-up or more recessed exit. The stairway access sticking up above the third floor is AWKWARD from the NH Ave view.

  • I popped up at 3601 13th Street NW and it’s turned out great (featured several times in 2011/12 on this blog).
    My advice: you get exactly what you pay for. So if you try to do this on the cheap, cheap construction is what you’re going to get. If you’re in CH, take a look at 3603 13th St. where my neighbor has hired the cheapest contractors around and he has had tons of delays and problems and his construction has gone on for three years.
    I used a great contractor I highly recommend: Tobin Construction.
    They are top notch and reasonably priced.

  • @ Wolf so how much did it cost you per sq ft?

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