Horse’s Ass Award Nominee – 8th and Webster St, NW (reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth March 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm 32 Comments


Multiple readers have sent in this property at the corner at 8th and Webster St, NW. One writes:

“I remember you showcasing it in Good Deal or No Deal a few months back. There were quite a few comments. I drive past this house everyday and I noticed about 3 weeks ago it was totally gutted and the roof was removed. Soon there after, a orange sign was posted over the existing permits. All work stopped at that point. Is that orange sign a stop work order? Did they not have the proper permits? This is depressing and a huge eyesore.”


Ed. Note: This was a GDoN post back in Dec. 2011.

Here’s what it looked like in 2011:


  • Wtf? Why would they do that??

  • Wow, this place really deserves the derision. What the hell were they thinking?

    • ET

      They obviously weren’t thinking.

      If they wanted to tear the house down and start over that is what they should have done. Was that house structurally so bad inside and out that they felt the need to gut the place to the degree they did? Hopefully this will put them into bankruptcy court. People this stupid shouldn’t be in business.

      • +1 to msmaryedith, zero_sum, and ET.

        I did a double take looking at the second photo and then the third one — the “reconstructed” version bears no resemblance to the original house. It’s oriented the same way on the lot–that’s it.

        The portion on the right looks like hurricane wreckage.

  • Anonymous

    That’s shocking and awful. Poor pretty little house…

  • Lolo

    From what I understand, the house sold for $402k. There was steady work at the property for only 2 or 3 days. In those 2-3 days, this is what they did. It has been sitting in this condition for over a month. Is there a way to determine what permits were pulled and why a stop work order was posted?

    • No idea why the stop work was issued, but according to DCRA the owner first had structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing reviews in late January/early February. They just reapplied for the same reviews today and received approvals for everything but the structural review (understandly).

    • john

      Yep, that’s about right. Some minor work continued after that (the arrival of the trusses on the lawn, for instance).

      I walk by every day and struggle to imagine a reason for letting half of the roof slant down like that. It’s just bizarre.

      Took a long time to sell the place.

      This place took

  • From the photos at http://slideshow.mris.com/slideshow/slideshow.htm?ListingKey=97467569868 , it needed a lot of work… but not to the point of destroying the whole interior (I would think), let alone the exterior.

    There was nice woodwork on the staircase, a nice wooden mantel, and a set of French doors.

  • Anonymous

    You know what gets me? The new HaHa tagger in the hood. Got this place too.

  • Anonymous

    From the trusses on the side it looks like they’re trying to add a full extra story so the turret and porch had to go. I bet they didn’t just raze and rebuild for permitting reasons. But without the fence, you’d never recognize this as the same building.

    It is not looking auspicious, but even as someone who thinks the pop-up on V St is a criminal act I’m wiling to give this one a wait-and-see. The previous building was already such an awkward hodgepodge of bad additions. The interior had some nice features (newel posts, french doors) but otherwise wasn’t much of an architectural gem.

    • Yeah, I immediately thought of the V Street monstrosity when I saw this. Sounds like similar circumstances.

      What is the issue with getting a raze permit vs. a renovation permit? Is there a massive cost difference? Much more scrutiny? When developers destroy 90% of the original structure, how can the city seriously allow that to qualify as a “renovation”?

      It’s so much better to just have an dilapidated razed and re-build from scratch, than to see these awful & ugly projects.

      • Anonymous

        I know nothing about the permitting process in DC and very little about the process in other places, but have seen crazy workarounds here and elsewhere that suggest it has to be the reason (e.g. leaving up one 6-foot section of wall and building a new house around it, saving a rusty roof from an unremarkable grocery store from the 70s and raising it 3 stories). Would love for someone who knows more about permitting to weigh in.

        • ah

          Avoiding a raze permit and being able to build beyond the current building restriction lines (setbacks) are two possible reasons.

          If you knock the entire house down you’d have to meet the current zoning rules. Perhaps the old house allows building closer to the lot lines, and thus a bigger house.

  • Larchie

    Ooof. That’s just tragic. I’m not for saving all structures as historic just for the heck of it, but it’s sad that it seems they didn’t even care a little about the neighborhood context or the charm of the original house. The turret and porch were nice! And now it’s an unsafe monstrosity. Any chance they had a professional architect and licensed, bonded contractor on this job? I’d be willing to bet “no”.

  • Joe E

    Looking at PIVS, the permits were issued for “Interior demolition of non-bearing elements in a space up to 5,000 square feet (464.5 square meters)” and “Renovation, alteration and repair of existing single family detached dwelling, new lighting fixtures, changes to plumbing, electrical and mechanical duct works as required.” I don’t know if that covers…whatever this is, but stop work orders were issued for “ILLEGAL CONSTRUCTION/WORKING WITHOUT A PERMIT”, so maybe this wasn’t covered under the renovation permit?

  • ET

    Just hope whoever is doing this loses their shirt, they don’t deserve to be rewarded for this monstrosity.

    • NotLikely

      They lose their shirt and then it sits unfinished and empty for god knows how long. How is that a positive resolution of this mess?

  • Anony

    You have to be kidding right?

  • djdc

    This is really sad and bizarre. I hope it can be fixed somehow.
    It’s similar, but worse, to the bizarre popout construction on 9th near Allison. That freak house has been wrapped in tyvek-ish stuff for so long I can’t remember when it started.

  • manimal

    one of the very few instances when someone calls something an eyesore and i agree with them.

  • Ugh. If they wanted to completely redo the house, why couldn’t they find one that was already ugly and not destroy a cute one.

  • Anonymous

    This looks incredibly dangerous, and it’s across the street from a school. Something needs to be done about it before some kid gets hurt.

  • I walked by this the other day and was totally shocked. I suppose it’s possible they started to renovate the house and realized it was in horrible shape, but from the way it looks now it doesn’t seem like the owners know what they are doing. My guess is it will sit like this for another year or so and the ruins of it will be sold to another developer…repeat. Any new single family house built in this neighborhood has so far had lousy construction and looked hideous.

  • Really sad. This house and the “V St. Middle Finger” are reasons to rethink the fetishism currently surrounding redevelopment in the city. Not every new building is “progress.”

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, those neighbors have got to be pissed. Talk about completely destroying the character of a place. This is a crying shame.

  • People are using it as a dumping ground for unwanted televisions, kitchen sinks, god-knows-what-else. It amazes me that none of the building materials have been stolen. Some of those 2x4s would make great raised beds. Not that I’ve considered the idea or anything.

  • happened to capture some fine reconstruction in progress, knocking down the first floor walls

    • Lolo

      I just shed a tear…

    • Poor turret. 🙁

  • This certainly gets my vote for Horses Ass. We actually went under contract to buy this house in 2011 – plan was to renovate and make it our home. Well, someone bought the previous tenant’s rights, we got kicked out, and here we are. What a shame.

    • So your contract fell through because the tenants wouldn’t waive their rights, and the reason they’d waived their rights was that some developer had paid them to do so and then waive them once the developer was under contract?


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