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GDoN “Owned by the same family since its original construction in 1923” edition

by Prince Of Petworth January 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm 43 Comments

245 12th Street Southeast

This house is located at 245 12th Street, Southeast. The listing says:

“Owned by the same family since its original construction in 1923…and now ready for your personal touches & updates. Classic Victorian Bayfront on a classic Capitol Hill Block within easy walking distance to Lincoln Park, Eastern Market, PA Ave retail, Watkins ES & more.Could be configured for 3BR/2BA upstairs w/ versatile options to finish basement, Systems function. Garage.Open Sat&Sun 1-3PM.”


You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/1 bath is going for $625,000.

  • wdc

    Seems pretty reasonable, no? Although if that wall damage upstairs is structural, then maybe not.
    But man, I would love to have a blank slate like this to play with.

    • That Man A


    • jcm

      It seems like it might be a house that could be lived while putting $100 or so into it, and you’d come out on the other end with a real gem. All that water damage scares me though. I imagine it’ll be grabbed and gutted by a developer.

    • petworther

      I love this place but it’s going to be A LOT more work than that. Pretty much all of the plumbing and electrical probably need to be replaced. And there’s a lot of work to be done on that plaster and likely the roof.
      This is amazing and I hope it is restored, but it’s going to be a heck of a job.

      • JM

        You really don’t have to replace the electrical systems in an old house. The old cloth wiring is probably fine – just need to run extensions to add outlets, and do a heavy-up to 200A. You may also want to replace old receptacles & switches, but again, that’s optional. When we rehabbed our 1912 rowhome we kept the original push-button switches.

    • For this price I think it’s worth the risk.

  • JS

    This is going to get gutted and painted gray.

    • madmonk28

      Yeah, open floor plan, gray brick and blue or red front door. So sad.

      • dude

        It’s not like the white-painted brick outside is any beauty to behold.

        • figby

          So sad to think of the crap travertine and boring, pedestrian “updates” this gorgeous, fading old flower will be subject to.

    • TX2DC

      Probably, but I’m not a fan of this all white exterior either – looks like a big iceberg. I’ll never understand why people paint brick.

  • jch

    If it is structurally sound then someone will come in with an all cash offer, reno, and sell for north of 1 mill.

    • anon

      And what a shame that will be. The chance to modernize and update something like this without eradicating all it’s original features and charm is something you don’t get a lot of opportunities to do.

      • GBinCH

        Why do you assume that the character will be eradicated? I agree that the chance to update and modernize something like this is a rare opportunity. I could see a developer doing a very nice job on this one.

        • textdoc

          A developer _could_ do a very nice job on this one… but it seems like all too often, developers of D.C. rowhouses tear down the interior walls to create “open plan” living rooms/dining rooms/kitchens, rip out the original stairs, etc., etc.

        • figby

          Ha — when was the last time you saw a developer reno that wasn’t cookie-cutter bland counters, floors, finishes?? They all look exactly the same, all over town.

  • V

    This looks like my house in Bloomingdale when I first bought it.. it was kind of a hot mess inside but structurally sound and ALL original… It’s still a work in progress, but these photos brought me right back to the early days… will take an extra look around tonight to appreciate the work that’s been done. It’s still a work in progress. The people who pick this one up will have a good time making it their own. Great spot.

  • elbeech

    The kitchen could really use a backsplash.

    • busybee2

      or countertops…

    • textdoc

      The kitchen could really use a kitchen. ;)

  • Tony

    I don’t understand why people think it’s a tragedy that the house will be modernized and painted gray. I like gray and would not want to live in a time capsule. However, I’m not a huge fan of knocking down every closet and interior wall for the sake of “openness.”

    • JS

      Because in DC, modernization = no walls & no character.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      I like gray too and painted a lot of the inside of my house gray. However, I love the radiators, pocket door, tin ceiling, lack of open floor plan, and other “old” features of the house. Usually when houses are modernized they rip all these things out in my experience.

      • textdoc

        +1. Gray isn’t a problem to me, but I like to see the original woodwork preserved and original walls kept in place.

        • figby

          You can always repaint, but once they gut it and turn everything into recessed lights, open plan, pewter, subway tile, brown cabinets and speckled brown marble, you’ve pretty much ruined it.

          • JS

            You can’t really lump subway tile in with all the others things you mentioned – it may in vogue now, but for a lot of these houses it was the tile used when they were originally built.

  • sproc

    I love houses like this! One of our previous rentals was a grand old house built in 1891. Before our landlord owned it, the kitchen and most of the house hadn’t been renovated since the 1950s. One of the best things they did was keep an extensive photo diary of every bit of work they did during their renovations, and left a beautiful photo album in the house for tenants. It was so much fun to go through.

  • dudders

    It’s fun to see what an “original” (ish) rowhouse kitchen looks like … I’ve always wondered.

  • Anon H St

    Sweet little house in a pretty great location…I say good deal for someone with the $$ and drive to renovate!

    • KP

      +1. I love all the details. If I had more time/no kid I would totally sell my house and buy this one.

  • Guillermo Brown

    The listing says it was built in 1900 but the description says 1923. Which one is it?

    • crin

      1890 according to the original building permit

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    A family that’s owned a house since 1923 might care enough about it that they won’t automatically sell to the first developer with an all-cash offer and a plan for a gut reno. Never know.

    • +1, I know when I sold my last house it wouldn’t have mattered to me whether it was cash or financed, and it someone was trying to undercut me with all cash I would have happily shown them the door.

    • wdc

      Yep, when I sold my beloved starter home, I picked the nicer buyer with the slightly lower offer, over the people who kept talking in sneering tones about everything they would “fix” about my perfect little wendy house.

  • ET

    I wonder, if all is sound structurally, if a flipper in this case might not make more money doing as little as possible – i.e. not knocking down walls. Electrical, roof, and plumbing are going to be major issues but that kitchen won’t exactly need a lot taken out given that there isn’t a lot to take out (love that original sink even if it isn’t practical) but some of what is need really is cosmetic (cheapish). Sometimes flippers do less because less is cheaper.

    • Most flippers that I actually know stick to a template because it’s proven to sell. Many of them actually love the old details they destroy, but believe it or not there is a huge population out there that wants boring bowling alley style homes.

      • JS

        +1 to the template comment. Look at anything built by Urban Restoration. They use the same finish materials on every project, and paint all of their houses the same shade of blue.

      • GBinCH

        And Brook Rose uses the same zebra striped black/white marble in his kitchens. Nice looking marble, a shame the condo I almost bought had only .5″ counters.
        I think the other thing is when you’re dealing with small units, open concept can make a place feel bigger. If you’re splitting a row house into condos, sometimes a bigger combined livingroom/diningroom feels better than two smaller, separate rooms.

    • I love that sink and it is actually super practical. My grandma’s house had one similar and it was great. The built-in drainboard is very clean and easy.

      • eva

        We still have a sink like this in our house, strangely enough on our sleeping porch. We are adding a second bath and refinishing the sink to have it sit in there with the clawfoot tub that currently sits in our only bathroom. I think they’ll make a nice pair.

        • madmonk28

          We had one like this on our sleeping porch for a long time, but finally got rid of it. The back part of our house had been an apartment for renters during WWII when there was a housing crunch in DC and the sleeping porch was a kitchenette.

  • Any realtor that thinks this house was built in 1923 should have their license revoked – or investigated for false advertising. This place was built a full 33 years prior, having been built in 1890 for Catherine Wells.


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