Renovations from PoPville – Vol. 71 – From White to Black


Thanks to Justin for sending these great photos. If you have a recent renovation you wouldn’t mind sharing – please send and email with some before and after pics and a few details about the project to PrinceofPetworth(at)Gmail Thanks.

Justin writes:

“the inspiration for the paint colors came mostly from the door, as we found the one we wanted then tried to figure out the best palette for it. after that we worked with the existing brickwork pattern of the two stripes and added in the 3 masonry stars to mimic the DC flag. the fence was actually done before the paint, as you can see from the before photos it was somewhat of a safety hazard. the same company installed the fence, installed all 3 new exterior doors, and painted the house (the fence stain was done by me). they’ve also installed skylights and chandeliers for us as well, and highly recommend them to anyone: Optima Designs out of Bethesda. all of the landscaping was done by us…still working on doing something to replace the “grass” we have, but that’s a fall project!”


Lots more photos after the jump.








94 Comment

  • binpetworth

    Wow! The black really makes the red and white colors pop. This looks so nice…way better than what I would have thought a black painted house would look like. Good job!

    • justinbc

      Thanks B! Our head contractor actually said the same thing πŸ™‚ He told me (after the fact lol) that he was really nervous when I told him my design, but after doing it he loved it.

  • Any idea what this will do to heating/cooling bills? I know painting a roof white can significantly lower summer cooling bills.

    • I second the question. I live in a rowhome and my next door neighbor and I noticed a 20 degree difference (measured with a thermometer, no less!) between his bedroom and mine. The difference? My roof is a silver color and his is “normal” black.

      The real question is which is more expensive in DC – heating or cooling? We’re sort of in a transition zone. So, for example, in Buffalo, you’d be better with a black roof/house. The reduced heating costs outweigh the increased cooling costs. And in Miami, a white roof/house is the way to go as cooling costs outweight heating costs.

      • justinbc

        So, here’s the nerdy explanation… There are two main ways that a house exchanges heat with its surroundings: convection and radiation. As a general rule, at everyday temperatures convection is faster than radiation so it’s the dominant mode of heat transfer. With convection it doesn’t matter what color you paint your house. Convection heating and cooling is mostly by the wind blowing against the house walls and exchanging heat with the walls by conduction. In particular at night when it’s cold the house will lose heat at the same rate whether it’s painted white, black or yellow with green spots. In practice, having lived with it painted black through almost all of August, I can tell you that there was no noticeable difference in the house temperature, and since I have a Nest I can confirm that the AC usage did not go up month over month to compensate for it. Granted, it was a relatively cool summer by DC standards, but that’s about as good of empirical evidence as I can provide currently.

  • Looks great! Any thoughts about painting the brick fence posts as well? They kind of stick out right now as is.

    • justinbc

      I did consider it, but I thought that would be too much given that our sidewalk is all brick as well, rather than concrete. And none of the other houses that are painted have done the fence, so it would break up the whole row of same color fencing.

  • HA! I passed this house just yesterday.

    It is a bold choice for a house in DC.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I love it! Especially, the red accents that mimic the flag.

  • Very interesting. Looks far better than I would have guessed. I’d be worried about the black in the summertime thought. Isn’t it going to turn your house into an oven?

  • Love it. Nice creative use of color!

  • I love the red door!

  • looks really good man
    figured that was it when i biked by recently

  • I really love what you did to the outdoor space. It looks so inviting, like you actually want to spend time out there. Also love that front door!

    • justinbc

      We spend as much time outside as possible, especially once we swapped out the old rickety fence! The swing in the front yard is my favorite spot though, I love chatting with neighbors that stop by while I sip an afternoon beer.

  • I find it horrid, but am still glad that people go with their non-boring impulses.

    • Yeah, but maybe elsewhere. I’d be SO pissed if this ended up next door to me.

      • How would this affect you at all next door?

        • It is depressing to look at or live next to ugly things. Yes, of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Paint whatever you like. But I would also be pissed/annoyed/depressed to live next door to this.

          • Seems like there are quite a few things out there capable of annoying/depressing, huh.

          • I think someone who gets depressed by a house painted colors they don’t like says more about the person than the house. This is like some literally NIMBY shit.

          • I don’t find this house to be ugly per se, but I agree with the general principle of what Victoria’s saying here. I once looked at a house whose next-door neighbors had painted their porch columns bright pink. I was kind of relieved when the house turned out to be not all that desirable inside, because I really wouldn’t have wanted to look at those ugly pink columns every time I left the house.

        • Kinda like the V Street pop-up. Does the radical break with the prevailing aesthetic really affect the neighbors? Folks could, and do, disagree.

          • I think it does affect the neighbors. The good news here (for people who don’t like the paint job) is that a paint job isn’t permanent, whereas a towering 3-story popup is.

          • justinbc

            Our section of the block only consists of 4 houses, mine, a tan one, a green one, and a bright red one. On its own you might get that idea, but looking at them there is no uniformity whatsoever.

      • Compared to the before photo my guess is that he just improved his neighbor’s house value by several thousand dollars with this paint job alone.

    • justinbc

      Thanks for the honest feedback Victoria, I don’t mind it at all. I’m honestly surprised there wasn’t more when we painted it, but 95%+ has been all positive from both old and new residents (although I’m sure some hate it but just don’t have the guts to say anything or have the respect to let it be).

      • You didn’t ask for opinions! And why should you? Paint whatever makes you happy! But it is a blog, so we post opinions! So this is my personal opinion. As I said – better ugly (to me) than boring. Annoymous and annoymous are just stupid. Even if you lived next door and painted your house what I consider ugly or depressing – so what? My own house is lovely. As long as you don’t have pile of garbage in the yard I’m good.

        • justinbc

          Yep, I totally agree. As long as people take care of their place, I don’t care what they do cosmetically to it. They could put one of those giant satellite dishes in next door to me and it wouldn’t bother me at all, because it ain’t mine!

  • Looks nicely done, though not to my taste. As a DC United fan I thought I would love a black and red house, but it kind of has a dungeon-y feel to me – particularly the front door and light. Maybe it’s different in person. It sure is distinctive though!

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    Love the front door and the bold color choices.

  • Looks manly.

    • justinbc

      That’s been a tough balancing act, since I do pretty much all of the design work and then run everything by her for final approval. I’ve tried to soften it up a lot with plants, the two Japanese maples (sango kaku and seiryu) and Kwanzan cherry all have lots of color throughout the year, as well as butterfly bushes all underneath the front bay window, and lavender bushes and a swing in the front yard as well which was omitted from the post:
      We also plan to put rose bushes all along the long side of the fence, about 11 in total, and planter boxes up next to the house for our garden. We’ve only been here just barely over a year (closed in May 2013 moved in June), so the yard aspects are slowly trickling along.

  • This place will look awesome during Halloween. I hope you go all out with the decor. It kinda reminds me of a haunted mansion-meets-S&M dungeon.
    Bold look, Justin.

  • Great job, Justin!

  • I would’ve preferred the house to be white with red accents, but I think black is a better choice than many of the garishly bright colors we’ve seen on houses on PoPville.

  • How long did this all take? It looks great! I especially love what you’ve done with the backyard (and will shamelessly copy it in mine)

    • justinbc

      The fence took 2 or 3 days for demo, construction, and finishing touches, then another 1 to 2 days for me to stain. The house painting and door install took about a week total, with a different crew doing each somewhat concurrently. Most of the design elements in the back came from either Salt & Sundry at Union Market or American/holiday in Georgetown.

  • I think it looks great. It’s a really bold choice,, and I think it really worked out well. Great door and house numbers, too.

  • I’m wondering what the rest of the block looks like. In my opinion, something as bold as this usually works best when the rest of the block is also comprised of houses with brightly-painted facades. It all the other houses are painted more typical colors or unpainted, this might stick out like a sore thumb.

  • June. July. August.

  • justinbc

    It’s equal opportunity Anonymous, feel free to send yours in when you do some work.

    • Hey Justin, love the front door. I’m in the market for a new one myself–do you mind revealing where you procured yours?

      • justinbc

        It’s a Rogue Valley door with an Emlock handle. Both were purchased through House of Doors in Alexandria.

      • Home Depot has this same door if not very similar but in a wood stain.
        It’s a little gimmicky/theme and the white window trim throws it off. Overall good job in taking pride with your home.

        • justinbc

          Yep, Home Depot sells similar models from their own brands. They carry standard 32″ & 36″ sizes though, which wouldn’t work for our house unfortunately.

  • justinbc

    Thanks to everyone for the positive remarks! Of the whole experience the most grueling thing was the front door, thanks to a non-standard 34″ width which had to be custom ordered (as did the Dutch door in the back thanks to an 11″ jam). We had several setbacks along the way but overall I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way it turned out. Unfortunately my partner has only seen pictures, as she left for deployment a week before work began. I think she’s still in for quite a shock, because in my opinion pictures just can’t do the effect justice. And I have to say I’m relieved that if the neighbors aren’t a fan they’re at least keeping it to themselves (or their gossip circle, but either way out of my ears).

  • Wow! It’s gorgeous! I love the red details — and that’s got to be one of the best house numbers ever!

    • justinbc

      I’m definitely jealous of the people who have those beautiful glass transoms, but I thought it was a pretty good reconciliation πŸ™‚ Metalwork was done by Moda Industria.

      • Thanks for the info re: the metalwork. I was curious — and they did a wonderful job! I like glass transoms as well. If I ever live in a house with transoms over the bedroom doors, like the house that I grew up in, I’ll definitely go for some very personalized stained glass. I’d also like some painted window screens — but that might be going a bit too far, and it’s not really a DC tradition.

  • I love it. I find it bold while also being balanced and tasteful.

  • A Team van colors

  • Great job! Love it.

  • Wow! How different. I approve…and am surprised that I do. Well done.

  • Ditch the orange pumpkins, and go with dark greenish/black ones, along with the white ones you already have. I want to come by here on Halloween!

  • I personally hate the color red, save for Capitals gear, but I do like this. Obviously, I would not paint my house with any red, but I appreciate that the color scheme works here.
    I just think that the all white bay windows stick out a bit. Is there a way to incorporate the grey into them so they feel more tied in with the rest of the house? The front windows have the grey lintel, can the bay window have that too?

    • Emmaleigh504

      I do not understand your red hate. It’s the best color in the world!

      • I just don’t like it. I don’t know why. I hate red doors. I don’t know why people are obsessed with them unless they’re Chinese, then I get it but still don’t like it.
        I have a good friend who just bought a gut job house and redid it. He sometimes asks for my design advice, but he loves red, so we’re frequently at an impasse. He put red accent tiles in his back splash with the white subway tiles I think it ruins the look, but it’s not my house, so I don’t really care.

    • justinbc

      I wanted to paint the windows, but after talking with the painters they said it would have to be redone every 2 years or so because of the material. If they were wood then no problem.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I can’t believe no one has commented on those pumpkins! They are in completely the wrong order. Everything looks great, except those pumpkins. Justin, I’ll be over later to fix them.

    • Formerly Broken Jaw

      Yes the pumpkin arrangement is horrid. Also the gourd in the window is…odd…

      • I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or if you’re actually complaining about pumpkins on someone’s front porch. If the latter, wow people are hard to please around here.
        Justin- I love that you put pumpkins out, and in general appreciate anyone who makes an effort to be festive.

        • Formerly Broken Jaw

          I can’t speak for the location of Emily’s tongue but mine was firmly planted in cheek.

        • Emmaleigh504

          I like the pumpkins! I just want to rearrange them is all. Justin knows I’m just teasing him. Besides, I love the major stuff done to the house. Pumpkin arrangement is very minor.

      • justinbc

        There are lots of gourds in the window, only 1 stands out πŸ˜‰

      • Emmaleigh504

        I didn’t notice the gourds in the window! I was too distracted by the pumpkins.

  • Late to the party but it looks great! Very bold. I would be happy to live next to someone that put that much care and effort into maintaining their home and yard. thanks for sharing.

  • I love it! Next PoP hh at Justin’s house!

  • I love the fence. We are thinking of doing something similar with our yard (we have an old decaying stockage fence similar to your before pictures). Did you build it yourself or did you hire someone? Our yard is on the larger side, so the fencing quotes have been above what we want to spend. Would love to do DIY it, but not sure how to get started!

    • justinbc

      I did the design, but hired someone else to build it. I actually wanted bigger planks, but the price skyrocketed for anything over 10 inches (if you notice the widths alternate, that’s on purpose to make the look a bit more unique). I didn’t think our total quote for the fence was too bad, based on others I’ve read here: “Remove and install 36 linear feet of fencing. Supply and install wood privacy fencing with horizontal stagger using pressure treated wood:$2650.00”

      • Yeah that’s not too bad, though I think for us the cost would probably double. Who did you use? The quotes I’ve gotten ranged from $5-7K and that’s just more than I want to spend on something I could probably do myself.

        • justinbc

          Optima Designs in Bethesda. They sub their work out though, and the subs told me it would have been about half that if I had gone directly through them (but they have no business license / insurance / etc yet, so no thanks).

  • Not really my taste, but I definitely appreciate someone doing something different! Good work.

  • Painting that place must have cost a small fortune, and will be a recurring cost… perhaps at more regular intervals than lighter colors due to the extreme heat absorption which will likely cause it to break down/bubble/flake sooner. But as others said, good on you for doing something different.

    • justinbc

      Yeah that’s why we used the Sherwin Williams Duration paints. They technically have a lifetime warranty, but I’ll be happy if it makes it 10 years before needing a redo, since it covers peeling and blistering, but obviously not color fading. Southern exposure means lots of sunlight all day.

  • Looks like many of those windows were bricked in to accommodate smaller modern standard windows. I might have opened those up and put in some more dramatic windows– maybe wood framed, which could be painted. The white windows are the only thing not doing it for me honestly.

    • This is what it looks like to me, too. The size of those windows is all wrong – certainly from the outside but probably from the inside, too. But replacing them with size-appropriate windows with frames that can be painted is a very different project than throwing a coat of paint on the brick.

      • justinbc

        From the inside it’s not noticeable at all, due to the room configuration. The 3 large windows on the eastern side belong to the master bedroom, the smaller one next to them belongs to the master bath, and the 2 at on the western end belong to the guest bedroom. So when you’re in each room you have no idea the sizes of other windows. The house is about to have its 100th birthday, and as you can imagine has been remodeled at least 3 times from what we can tell, if not more, and that’s one of the results. Eventually we’ll consider changing the windows, but we’ve only been there a little over a year, so it’s low on the priority list πŸ™‚ Replacing the entire roof (about $30K including redoing the masonry for a huge section of the wall) a few months after we moved in set the budget back for most everything else.

    • I was curious about the window outlines as well — wondering why someone would brick them up — when that, to me, is one of the advantages of having a corner house. It would look cool with restored windows, and maybe a bit of stained glass — but I”m guessing that the downside would be much less usable wall space on the inside.
      I wondered how the windows would look in a softer cream color — but also like the way that the bright white makes the other colors pop. I think it’s gorgeous!

      • justinbc

        My guess is that the two bathrooms that are along that wall (one with a window you can see) were not there when the house was built, and that’s why you can visibly see one that’s bricked up. There’s really no way to alter the windows there without completely changing the bathroom layouts inside.

  • I love the patio! Can I come over for dinner? πŸ™‚

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