Judging Pop Ups


A reader sends this one from the 1300 block of F St, NE:

“This one ruined the roofline. Hopefully they’ll add a covered porch.”

I actually think this is a pretty nice one. But agree about hoping they add a covered porch. You like the way it’s turning out?


46 Comment

  • It’s not bad, but i think it needs a cornice up there, instead of that brick design at the top.

  • Adding a porch…nope. It’d block light into the lower level unit, and cut into the profit margin. Not going to happen.

    • It’s possible that they may not add a covered porch because of zoning restrictions. A covered porch would add to the lot occupancy, and many of these conversions pop back as well, if the house wasn’t already popped back. Unfortunately under current zoning rules, whether you cover part of a lot with a porch or a finished structure that goes up 3 stories, it still counts towards lot coverage area. Most developers would prefer the latter, and therefore choose to pop back and eliminate the covered porch. In other words, it’s possible that a covered porch isn’t an option for them. Of course, if the back yard is huge and they’re not close to the lot occupancy limit, then maybe they can still have a covered porch.

      • Well, if they don’t add a covered porch, I hope they put up some painted wood detail over the scar where the roof of the porch formerly connected to the brick. I’ve noticed looking at a lot of homes that have lost their porch that they always look better if they just don’t leave the scarred brick.

  • It ruins the rest of the look. for the street The place sticks out like a sore thumb at the moment. Nothing wrong with the place itself, but yeesh. That doesn’t fit whatsoever.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I like it so far. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

  • As popups go this isn’t the worse. Most developers don’t bother with making the bricks at the roof look anything other than flat. That wasn’t necessarily the cheapest option either. I can’t help but thinking that doing a mansard style 3rd floor and kept the continuous roof-line with the neighbors would have been better looking. I in 10-15 years when this isn’t only one or one of few, this one will look better than it does right now.

  • On a block adjacent to my former apt. in Adams Morgan, there was at least one early 1900s apartment building that pierced the row. So it has been done before. But at least such buildings pleased the eye with some ornament such as limestone medallions inserted into the facade. One could even use cast stone. I appreciate that the building depicted here has some cornice brickwork effort, but the overall plainness of the building is a bit sad.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Ppl have been doing popups since they got out of the caves. I don’t get the outrage. Some are good, some are bad. Let’s hope the bad ones eventually get prettied up.

  • justinbc

    Someone was complaining here about this one weeks ago, long before it had gotten to this stage. I walk by it regularly and don’t think it’s all that bad, they’ve done a lot of things that cheap-o flippers don’t bother to do, although I’m obviously not a fan of the siding. I really don’t care about “roof continuity” at all, so I judge it solely on the house itself, which seems to be coming along decent.

  • All the people concerned with roof lines and making sure blocks match need to stop pretending they are DC’s HOA.

    • it’s interesting to see the authoritarian tendencies come out in this city. if i don’t like it, no one can have it!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Oh! I just decided I NEED a row house so I can pop it up in the Brutalist style. I LOVE Brutalist architecture (for reals) and would love to see if I could incorporate it into a row house. It probably wouldn’t work, so I’d just decorate the bathroom in the Burtalist style.

    • brutalist is so under-rated. later generations are going to wish we didn’t tear them all down. interesting to see that the anti-popup types that cite the need for historical preservation never jump to defend brutalist.

      • You may be two of the ~10 people in the world who like brutalist architecture. If I wanted to spend my day in a concrete haven, or stare at a concrete haven, I would get myself arrested.

        • doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be preserved.

          • yes, actually, it does. buildings are for people, and brutalism failed epically at that. take a nice picture so you can be one of the few to remember it fondly.

          • Emmaleigh504

            That burtalist church may have failed at welcoming people, but all brutalist buildings did not. I do think that Americans failed to execute the style well; Europe did a better job, from what I’ve seen.

        • Emmaleigh504

          The whole town doesn’t need to be brutalist, just some (well executed) buildings here and there. I don’t like too much uniformity. One block of Boilmaker houses is ok, but then let’s get some variety!

        • I like brutalist architecure. Amazing that 20% of the brutalist appreciators are posting on this one thread!

      • Emmaleigh504

        toppertje on instagram takes lots of great pix of Brutalist buildings in Europe.

  • I would have preferred that they kept the roofline and that the top floor be set back a few feet. I also think they need a covered porch. Without it, the building just looks like a monolithic tomb. The sad part isn’t just the roofline. It’s the public space that will change when looking down the block. It’s clear that there will be a basement unit and the entrance for that will cut into green space, making it cement space instead of flowers and shrubs.

    • what public space? this is private property, they aren’t encroaching on the street or anyother public space. Do you think views of private houses are a form of public space?

    • What green space are they losing? They are putting in an entryway instead of a covered porch.

  • Breaks up a block of classic Wardman style home, just about the most distinctive architectural style in DC. Alas, it’s all about this property owner. Forget anyone with a sense of history or taste Mr. Popper

    • IWould you prefer if another developer-Wardman2 maybe-could buy the whole block at once to build another row of identical four story 2 unit condo buildings. When developers save money by build blocks of identical rowhomes in rockville everyone thinks it is boring suburbia, but in the district they are revered.

    • yeah, history should be frozen in 1920. the changing and evolving needs of a city are nothing compared to a straight roofline.

      • In what way is this an improvement over what it replaces for anyone other than the owner looking to maximize finished sq. footage for financial gain? It’s not like it will house either a large or multigenerational family This is strictly a financial transaction. There are no aesthetics involved.

        • this has been debated ad naseum. the additional square footage itself is an improvement (increased tax base; greater density to increase income base for local businesses; more foot traffic to deter crime; etc.). the additional property owners that get to become stakeholders in improving dc are an improvement.

  • Awful…. I hate that people are allowed to do this.

  • justinbc

    Walked by again today, they’ve actually painted the entire exterior flipper grey.

  • Yup, they painted this a very ugly grey a couple days ago. And they are really not “doing things other builder’s don’t do”. You mean the siding they put up badly with finishing nails that is already looking wonky and won’t last 5 years? The cheapest possible builder’s grade windows? The new crappy fence they put up? The lack of properly displaying their permits when they first started? Or how about the dumpster and earth movers they park on the crowded street that have never been permitted? Even beyond aesthetics, this house is not being built well. I honestly don’t care that much about popping it up as long as it is built well (see one block down – 1227 F NE) and this one is decidedly cheap and flipperish.

    • The one down the block has the same builder, but maybe not the same architect, or owner. It does “fit in” better.

  • We have 2 pop ups on this block by the same developers — no notification to residents surrounding and a nightmare
    Parking problem. They should have been staggered at least. Neighbors next to this one had just installed solar panels! No way adds to the community in a positive or architectural way

  • SINCE YOU ASKED – my opinion as a Hill East resident is that it sucks. It’s far from the worst I’ve seen but that’s not saying much.

    I’m so happy about the popup ordinance – I have nightmares about my neighbor’s house being replaced with one of these monstrosities, and the southern exposure in my backyard being replaced by a tower of vinyl siding.

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