03/27/14 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoPville,

My fiance and I are looking to get the exterior of our house repainted this spring, but are unsure of who to hire. Does anyone on Popville have any recommendations they can share? Also, and this might be a silly question, but does anyone know if we would have to get the city to approve a color change or are we free to do what we’d like? We are located in the Atlas area. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!”


“Dear PoPville,

Do I need a permit to pave my backyard to make it a patio/driveway? I assume that I do, but I’m not sure where to start with this process. I have a row-house in Northeast DC. Thanks in advance for your help!”

03/21/14 5:00pm


From a press release:

“The Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Inc. (Phyllis Wheatley YWCA) is excited to announce the renovation of its property located in the Shaw neighborhood (corner of Ninth Street and Rhode Island Avenue Northwest), which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Eager to renew the illustrious legacy and ensure a thoughtful and self-sustaining model for the building, the renovation will include 84 private living quarters and onsite support services for low-income working women and women with special needs. Additional amenities will include updated laundry facilities, green outdoor space, as well as social and professional development programs. (more…)

02/20/14 2:30pm


“Dear PoPville,

We have a single family home that is covered in fieldstone/formstone/permastone (no brick underneath). When the windows were replaced in the 80s, they wrapped the original wooden surrounds with ugly metal sheathing. Is it even feasible to put in new windows without having to accommodate the fieldstone siding in a similar way? Has anyone replaced windows lately in a fieldstone covered house? Any experience with costs on removing and residing completely? And alternatively – does anyone have direct experience with painting fieldstone and the pros and cons of that maintenance-wise? I can’t even imagine what a whole house would look like with painted fieldstone.”


12/12/13 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are looking to turn our already renovated basement into a rental unit. Although the basement is renovated, we would need to make a few adjustments like taking out an interior staircase and adding in plumbing/electrical for a kitchen area. Most of the general contractors we have talked to though said they wouldn’t take on a “small” job such as this, and they only work on jobs in the $50-$100K area. I’m wondering if anyone has worked with a good general contractor they can recommend, or know of any that would take on a job of this size.”

12/06/13 1:30pm

1742 Church Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending. From Keegan Theatre’s website:

“A New Keegan Theatre is on the way.
Keegan has always been about people. The community of actors, directors and designers who define us. The many donors who have sustained us over the years. And the audiences whose growth has been a constant vote of confidence. We are truly in good company!

Now these folks and the broader Washington community are helping us renovate and purchase the theater we call home. Several large donors have put the project in motion. But relying on just a few wouldn’t be The Keegan Way. That’s why we’re inviting our thousands of friends and supporters to be the heart of our vision.

Thanks to generous donations, we are halfway to our $4 million dollar goal to fully modernize the Church Street Theater.”


Rendering after the jump. (more…)

12/02/13 2:30pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

“Dear PoPville,

I am planning to renovate my kitchen soon but I am on a tight budget. I will be replacing all appliances and cabinets. I have a pretty good idea of what I want. I wanted to get help from popville readers who went through this process.

1- Did you get an architect to do the drawing before hiring a contractor?
2- If you didn’t have a drawing, was it easy for your contractor to understand exactly what you wanted, how did you communicate what you wanted?
3- Do I need a permit?
4- Did you work with any contractor you like to recommend?”

12/01/13 10:05pm


This is the first house I’ve seen getting a gut renovation where the developers keep they awning. It used to have hot pink sections and as you can see they painted the whole awning white which I think looks a bit better. But to be honest I’m wondering why they decided to keep it. If you were buying a newly renovated house would you want them to keep the awning or get rid of it?



10/22/13 1:15pm


Hopefully it will look as good as the Washington Monument does at the moment. From ‏@uscapitol:

“Restoration of the #CapitolDome begins in November. Dome will be scaffolded for 2 yrs.”

From the Architect of the Capitol:

“The United States Capitol Dome, symbol of American democracy and world-renowned architectural icon, was constructed of cast iron more than 150 years ago. The Dome has not undergone a complete restoration since 1959-1960 and due to age and weather is now plagued by more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies.

For approximately two years residents and visitors will see a scaffold system surrounding the entire Dome from the base of the Statue of Freedom down to the top of the Dome skirt (base of Dome). Scaffold towers and scaffold bridging will also be constructed on the west side of the U.S. Capitol Building to help move materials to the work areas.

At the interior of the Capitol Rotunda, a white canopy system in the shape of a doughnut will be installed to protect the public. The configuration allows the Apotheosis of Washington, in the eye of the Rotunda, to be seen throughout the restoration process. A covered walkway through the Rotunda is required as the canopy system is installed at the beginning of the project, as well as at the end of the project.”

10/03/13 2:30pm

Basement apt. Leak 020

“Dear PoPville,

Back in August there was a good discussion on whether or not to paint brick houses.

My recently (and expensively) learned advice is – if your house is painted, you really have to check the paint. Even if it looks alright, it only takes a minor flaw to cause trouble – in this case, water seepage through the brick resulting in a damp basement.

My house was painted before I bought it, probably about 10 years ago. The paint still looked good – no flaking, crumbling etc. There was no indication of dampness in the basement apt. No damp feel, no smell, no mold, no damp or warped floor or baseboards etc. But when the tenants moved and took down a large mirror we found a faint discoloration on the wall – 2 vertical stripes the width of the insulation.

Basement apt. Leak 007

I tore out the wall and found the insulation slightly damp and 4 studs showing water stains on the side that touches the exterior brick wall. After 2 contractors spent a good hour examining every possibility, we climbed out on the roof and saw that there were just enough wear in the paint high up by the roof line that a heavy rain was causing water to “slip” in between the paint and the brick wall. Then the paint at the bottom of the wall had been acting like an envelope, trapping the water and letting it seep through the mortar.

Lucky we found it in time to avoid real damage – but big lesson learned about painted brick! Again – the flaws in the paint at the top of the wall were only visible from the roof and even then seemed very insignificant.”