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Renovations in PoPville – New Garage


The following renovation – actually completely new structure – was sent by Chris who lives in Petworth. You can read all about the process on his blog here.

If you have a renovation you’d be willing to share please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com.

Chris writes:

“A few of the details:

16′ wide x 26′ long x 14′ tall, even though our lot is 20′ wide.

We wanted a 3′-6″ pathway on the side to allow access to the backyard and english basement without needing to go through the garage. We currently don’t rent out the basement, but the future home owner may want that option.

Also, if the garage was on the property line, then the walls would need to be constructed differently to meet fire rating. One wall is 3′-6″ away, and the other is 0′-6” away from the property line.

Accessory structures in our zone cannot be taller than 15′, so I wasn’t able to add a small room above the garage.

The garage matches the style of our house, with a slate gable roof in the front, low sloped roof in the back and parapets on the sides.

Dormer window facing south for natural light.

French doors facing the house for better aesthetics and also to allow easier access to the backyard with equipment, tools, furniture, etc…

Space in the back of the garage for a small workshop.

Hardiplank cement siding which looks like wood siding, but last quite a bit longer.

Rain barrel on the back side for our future herb garden.

50A electrical service from the house to power a few tools, lights, kegerator, TV, and other mancave accessories.

I am contracting out the excavation, foundation, and slab, and plan on doing the framing, doors and windows, and siding myself (with some help from friends of course).

As a responsible resident, I did get permits for all of the work. I only needed a structural engineer to stamp the structural and architectural drawings, and I was able to do the electrical, environmental, and plat layout drawings myself. I’ll need to have a licensed electrician do the electrical, as the city won’t accept my electrical engineering degree as justification for allowing me to do the work. It’s probably safer that way.

Getting the permit was a pain though. I didn’t know the homeowner’s center could handle large projects like garages until a month after I submitted the drawings. I also didn’t know the homeowner’s center was a separate office in the DCRA. I thought it was all the same, and that the home owner went through some special flow in the permitting process. I didn’t know what it actually was. The DCRA failed to mention this to me the several times I was in there asking for advice before I actually submitted for the permit. Because of this, my permit took almost 2 months, instead of 2 weeks. I’ll definitely use them for other future projects, and advise all DC homeowners to try there first. I blame it on naivety on my side, and miscommunication on both sides. Having gone through the process, I’ll know next time, but I don’t like that the only reason I know the correct process is because I had problems with it the first time.

To help address this, it would be nice if the first question the person behind the DCRA service desk should ask is, “Are you the homeowner? If so, please try our homeowner’s center (back there) which will help you through the permitting process. If not, here’s your number. Next!” ;-)

From various DC blogs, I see that a lot of people don’t know about the homeowner’s center, so it doesn’t seem to be advertised as well as it could be. It wasn’t clear to me, and I spent a lot of time on the DCRA website before I even went to their office. Maybe it’s just me, but if more than a few people have the same issue, then it’s most likely a systematic issue. (Yes, I do speak engineer from time to time.) That’s just my two cents…”

Finished alley view

Finished backyard view

Progress photos after the jump.


garage rafters


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