Popping Up in Eckington and Bloomingdale


A reader doesn’t have very high hopes for the one above at Rhode Island Ave and 2nd NE.

And [email protected] tweets us the photo below from the 2000 block of Flagler Place, NW.


17 Comment

  • I wish we could get a pop-up law. I would make all townhouses in the district historically when it comes to pop-ups. Then if someone wants to pop-up a townhouse they can only do it if it’s not visible from the street. At the same time you don’t get all the other restrictions for historically homes, just for pop-ups.

    • Easy enough just start the petition process to make the neighborhood a historic district with the HPRB, ANC and your councilmember. However, you need to take the good with the bad with that designation. Otherwise property owners likely are just complying with the zoning regulations of the property and building as a matter of right. You’re not going to get a further height restriction or setback requirements put into place for R4, or whatever this is, which will have a far greater impact across the city.

  • I agree with regulating them but not banning them. The foot prints of many of these homes are really small for today’s family. I’m single and sometimes I wish my row house was more space especially closets and room for additional bathrooms etc. My only demand would be to make the addition to match the existing second level facade.

  • The lines on the front of the first one look weird. Why keep part of the faux mansard why not take the new down to the bottom to get continuity? Maybe whatever they do to cover the wood will change it but I doubt it.

  • I think the ugliest part of these photos is the formstone on the second one. Can we get a law banning formstone?

  • These hideous popups are ruining the houses and the neighborhoods.

  • I think the first one will look fine once it’s finished. The second one looks like it’s set back far enough that it won’t be that intrusive. I don’t agree with banning pop-ups. Home owners should have the right to pop-up their homes. Especially townhouses because you’re pretty much restricted from enlarging them in the rear (and certainly not on the sides) so the only place to go is up. And most people want to stay in their homes so they should have the right to pop-up when possible. If it’s tasteful then go for it, if it’s not who is the judge? There’s nothing you can do about what someone else does to their own home, if you don’t like it don’t look at it.

  • Popping up a rowhouse tastefully is very expensive. These are generally done by developers looking to maximize their profits. Ergo, they never look good. I’d favor a rule that would ban pop-ups unless the person popping the top would commit to not selling the house for two years.

    I’m doing a tasteful pop-up (not visible from street) in a historic district right now and it’s going to cost over $200,000 and over a year of planning and design to complete.

    • How does not selling the house for 2 years have anything to do with whether a pop-up is tasteful? Regular homeowners and developers both can have bad taste. Notwithstanding your $200,000 price tag, I’m sure someone could say that your pop-up is tasteless and ugly. However, I defend your right to pop up your house if you want. I think all homeowners have the right to pop-up their homes if they want. Just like they should be able to paint their homes any color they want. If people don’t like it they don’t have to live in it and they don’t have to look at it.

      • How exactly are you supposed to not look at it if you live across the street, on the street, or even are just passing through the street? That’s ridiculous. These horribly shortsighted additions are slowly but surely going to destroy the architectural fabric of so many of our neighborhoods. They should not be outlawed, but they should definitely be regulated, i.e. required to fit in with existing rooflines or set back and minimally (if at all) visible from the street. Neither of these are going to look fine. The proportions are all wrong and if you can’t see that it’s because you’re the one with no taste. And no one is going to criticize the other poster’s $200K addition because his point is that it’s NOT visible from the street.

        • My imagined lack taste has nothing to do with this discussion. You don’t personally know me so you don’t know what my tastes are. However, that being said, I believe that anyone has the RIGHT to pop up their house if they want. And yes, you still don’t have to look at it if you don’t like it. I walk past dog shit every day. I know it’s there but I don’t look at unless I have to make sure that I don’t step in it. Whether you walk by a pop-ed up house or live next to one, your eyes will not be burned into blindness just by looking at a house that doesn’t fit your taste. Your taste and opinion ends at someone else’s front door. It’s not your house – you don’t have the right to tell someone that they can’t pop up or paint their house a color you don’t like. If you painted your house pink polka dots it’s none of my business. I may or may not like it but I don’t think I have the right to tell you what color you can paint your house. If someone wants to pop up their house that is their right – and I may not like it. I may think it’s ugly and distasteful but I’ve learned that it’s none of my businesss.

      • “I’m sure someone could say that your pop-up is tasteless and ugly.” Maybe, but the fact that Anonymous’s pop-up isn’t visible from the street gives it an edge over most pop-ups, appearance-wise.

        • correct, it is angled to be invisible from the street. HPO required that.

          • Also popping up your house is one thing….speculators outbidding families and then flipping and popping up houses is another. IN the process it devalues the entire neighborhood for one developers profit.

  • justinbc

    I think the biggest problems with pop-ups is people judging them before they’re completed. So many of these we see in a preliminary state…people see wood on top of a house and freak the F out. Have a little patience folks.

    • Yeah, but once it’s built, it’s already too late if the thing looks uglt. It’s a bit of a chicken-egg dilemma.

      • justinbc

        It’s already too late once it’s been permitted and work has begun. If you see stuff start to go up on a house you’ve likely missed your chance at complaining about it (to a degree that will actually get things done), as long as they’re doing it legally.

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