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GDoN “Meticulously renovated” edition

by Prince Of Petworth — June 12, 2017 at 11:45 am 47 Comments

This house is located at 1610 Levis Street, NE. The MRIS listing says:

“Meticulously renovated contemporary row home in Trinidad with 2 full beds, 2.5 baths, and oversized cantilever windows. Featuring custom floating stairs and bar nook, chef’s galley kitchen w/custom cabinetry, ss appliances, marble waterfall countertop, private rear yard and parking too! Only 4 blocks from H St and Atlas District, trolley, grocers, and every bar and restaurant you could ever want!”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/2.5 bath is going for $499,000.

  • otherfooddropping

    Seems like a good deal. What is the catch?

    • womp

      location? i do really like most everything they’ve done in the reno. i’m hoping a few of the others with keener-than-mine eyes to point out things i didn’t see.

      • womp

        well, one issue is the single kitchen sink (as opposed to a double). not sure if there is an official term for this.

        • HaileUnlikely

          The term I use for that kind of a sink is “sink.” It looks like a normal sink, perhaps even a bit larger than normal, to me. I guess a double sink could be nice if at least one side was large enough – the double sinks I’ve worked with have typically had two sections that are both too small to fit large items like a griddle under – this sink won’t have that problem. Anyway, it never occurred to me that a sink like this one might be regarded as a negative.
          .
          The main negatives I see are that one of the bedroom is really tiny, and there is no basement (forget about rental income, forget about storage, what you see is what you get). I’m sure lots of buyers don’t mind that, but for me, not having any basement, not even an unfinished basement, is a significant minus.

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            OMG, I ABSOLUTELY HATE DOUBLE SINKS!! Grgghhh, I have one in my current place and yes, both are too small and it makes washing dishes such a pain. If the next place we buy has a double sink it will be the first thing I rip out. LOL, one of my biggest pet peeves.

          • wobber

            I too hate double sinks

          • textdoc

            I have a double sink. I’d never really thought about it until you mentioned it, but now that I think about it, my sink at my old place — a large single sink — was easier to use.
            .
            The other disadvantage of double sinks vs. single sinks is that they’re usually wider. (Or at least you can get a single sink in a narrower width.) When Harmony Remodeling came to look at my kitchen and give me an estimate for renovating it, one key thing the guy suggested was replacing the existing double sink with a single one and moving it slightly over, so as to get some counter space at the end of the peninsula. (I decided to hold off for the time being on a kitchen renovation, because the timing wasn’t so good, but will probably pursue it someday.)
            .
            Right now the double sink is directly across from the fridge, and it’s the end of a peninsula. So I end up tempting fate all the time by putting glasses, bowls, etc. on the edge of the sink and pouring things into them, because there’s no counter space in the logical prep/pouring space.

        • AMDCer

          I’m on-board with the double-sink hate. They made sense when all dishes were washed by hand (one basin for soapy wash water, one for rinsing), but now most people have dishwashers, and washing pots and pans in a single sink is much easier.

          • Joshua

            +1. And the big stuff you have to wash by hand that won’t fit in the dishwasher is usually a pain to wash in a smaller double sink.

          • Andie302

            +1 – my parents have a double and my mom inevitably leaves warm water with dishes to soak and then they cool off and are disgusting. I find each side to be too small as well.

          • Anonamom

            I very frequently wash dishes by hand, and I never fill up the sink to do it. It may be wasteful, but it just seems more sanitary to wash/rinse under running water. Also, I hate double sinks.

          • anon

            I’ve currently got a double sink with the usual big stainless steel sink I’m used to, with a second “double” sink attached that is very small and contains the disposal. I don’t think equal sized double sinks, the kind I grew up washing dishes in as a kid, make sense anymore with dishwashers, but this extra small sink attached to a big sink is nice to use.

  • BostonToShaw

    From the photos, this looks incredibly well done. Personally, I’ve never understood why people put such large fridges in small houses. I’m mainly confused by the back gate. How do you shut the door if your car is there? Does it swing the other way too?

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Looks like they definitely messed up the gate.

    • PetworthGuy

      Thought the same thing.

    • Rich

      Fridges have shorter lives if they’re not kept pretty full (learned this when I traveled all the time and had nothing in the fridge), so big fridges really are a negative unless someone does a lot of freezing and eats a lot of, e.g., veggies. The back gate is very odd. Also having a side door on the back fence also seems odd if there’s an empty lot next door that’s likely to be developed.

      Pet peeve–the dark flooring. It will seem badly dated in no time and even now it’s probably not everyone’s taste.

    • textdoc

      Yep, the back gate opening inward looks like a major FAIL — it doesn’t look like there’s enough room for a car to pull forward far enough to be able to shut the gate behind it.

    • AMDCer

      Yes! Finding a small(er) fridge was the hardest part of my kitchen reno. I mean, in a one bedroom 500 sq ft condo, how many people am I going to be feeding?? Unless you want to spend several thousand dollars on some European model, you’re stuck with a larger fridge than you need/want.

    • Eh, we actually did the same thing with our back patio and gate, intentionally. We mostly used it as a patio, but wanted the option of off-street parking (for instance, when we traveled, and didnt want to deal with street cleaning). The patio was long enough to park a car, but only barely, so the car would have hung out just slightly, meaning the gate would have stuck out even further, if we tried to shut it around the car. So, we kept the gates closed normally, for privacy, when we were using it as a back yard, but would open the gates inward when we parked the car back there, and just used it like a parking spot.

  • textdoc

    I wonder what the deal is with what appears to be a vacant lot next door (on the right). I’m assuming it’s a vacant lot because Google Street View shows (from 2014) what appears to be an official D.C. government sign planted there, reading “No Trespassing or Dumping.”
    .
    I’m puzzled, however, because it looks like the gas connection/meter is on the party wall (which also appears to have once had windows that have been subsequently covered over). The gas connection/meter was in the same location in the 2014 Street View photo too; it’s not a recent thing.
    .
    And I’m even more puzzled because when I looked up 1612 Levis Street NE in the D.C. online tax records, it shows as having an “Improvements” assessed value — not just a “land” assessed value, which is what I would’ve expected for an empty lot. AND it looks from the tax records as though the D.C. government is the owner of this parcel.
    .
    I’d be hesitant to buy next to an empty lot without knowing what was going in there. And even if I did know what was going in there, the construction hassle factor might be enough to make me pause.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not just the gas meter. The renovation has a number of (what looks like) light fixtures on the side of the building illuminating that empty lot – which is not a bad idea. It seems as if whoever renovated this house is operating under the assumption that nothing will be built on the empty lot. And they might be right. But I would want to know the basis for that assumption before I bought the house.

      • textdoc

        Agreed.
        .
        I mean, if it’s a vacant lot then it totally makes sense to have lights on it until the lot gets developed (if it gets developed). But if it does… what happens then? Will the homeowner have to pay to get the lights removed and the party wall made fireproof or whatever?

    • Ben

      The city owns the property next to the house

      • textdoc

        Yes, that’s what I said in paragraph 3.

        • Nathan

          Looking at the deed records, it seems like there was a structure on that lot but it was condemned in the 80’s. DC seems to have taken over the property due to failure to pay taxes.

          • textdoc

            Where does one find the deed records?

          • Nathan

            Office of Deeds Document Records. You have to setup an account, but its free.

  • ArchaeoG

    It looks like the master bath vanity could accommodate 2 sinks but they’ve only put in one. That seems odd to me.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely the location. Check out Google Maps. The adjacent houses appear to be renovated but the rest of the block and the adjacent block are not much to look at – at least not yet. Also, the property abuts an empty lot. so who knows what goes up next to you in the future. Agree that the renovation looks good. That’s a $600k or more house in Shaw or U Street.

    • textdoc

      Agreed about the surrounding area not looking very attractive on Google Street View. And the brick sidewalk in front of the house looks to be in very poor shape — overgrown with weeds, etc.
      .
      There’s a regular concrete sidewalk on the other side of the street. I wonder if somehow this side wasn’t authorized for a regular city sidewalk and the homeowners did one on a DIY basis?? Very odd.

    • Ben

      Google street maps is from 3 years ago. Lots of changed in this area (and DC in general) since 2014.

      • Anonymous

        It does appear as if the house next door and the one next to that have been redone (or at least repainted) since that Google Maps snapshot. Not sure about the rest of that block. Clearly the empty lot is still there because it’s in the new photo. Hopefully, the truck parked on it belonged to a contractor working on the house as opposed to someone who is accustomed to using that space to park his or her vehicle.

  • anon

    Ugh, maybe I’m just plain vanilla, but I hate these too-cool-for-school super modern renovations of old rowhomes. Even if every once in a while one is pulled off well, you know it’s going to look dated very soon. It’s also my observation that the classic row homes with walls and mouldings and simple subway tile backsplash tend to sell far more quickly.

    • textdoc

      Agreed.

    • Truxton Thomas

      I agree. We recently visited some friends in Petworth with all original woodwork, and it was beautiful. It seems like a lot of that gets ripped out during many renovations. Nothing in our place is original (circa 2004 half-assed reno).

  • Steve Parsons

    How much would it cost to relocate the fuse box from its prominent place in the living room?

    • HaileUnlikely

      That would be very labor intensive, especially since all of the wires presently terminate right there, behind finished walls. Replacing a circuit breaker panel and keeping it in the same place typically costs about $3000 (it is possible to get it done for less, and also very easy to find a contractor who will very gladly charge you more!), For that job, the materials cost a grand total of <$500 and the rest is labor. This would require not only a lot more labor but probably also more materials (rerouting the cables would likely require tearing up a lot of walls and replacing a lot of now-too-short cables with longer ones.). I'd either decorate it or hang a painting over it and call it a day.

    • Rich

      You find something cheap & decorative that covers it. I had a prominent box in my kitchen in Atlanta. I covered with a scroll I bought in China. Always drew complements. Calendars work, but you might want something more decorative by the door but also something that could get knocked off the wall once in while w/o damaging anything, so nothing with a heavy frame.

      • Near Northeast

        Yeah, I went the Chinese scroll route for the exact same reason (easy to shove aside in a hurry).

  • Anonymous

    The narrow space between the top of the kitchen cabinets and the bottom of the soffit is going to be a PITA to keep clean, and certainly doesn’t provide any utility for storage or decoration. Also the waterfall effect on the end of the cabinet facing the dining area just seems strange. The side of a white cabinet would look much nicer.
    I was going to comment on the lack of windows on the side wall, so assuming that it was on the property line and any windows would be at risk, but then there were light fixtures and utility meters on the same wall. The light fixtures probably could be removed without too much difficulty if the lot would be developed in the future, but the meters would require more work. But that issue seems to have been covered
    The back gate is bizarre and maybe the fencing was meant to be temporary on the assumption that the new owner, if they had a car or cars, would replace it with an automatic door, similar to the ones that are put into a garage. Then again, if the new owner doesn’t have a car, those gates aren’t what one would want and with one there is no way to park in that yard, or at least not to park two cars.

  • Father of Fifi

    Also kind of a crime-heavy area: https://www.trulia.com/property/3258771025-1610-Levis-St-NE-Washington-DC-20002

    But yeah, the flip looks like they’ve done a nice job. Might be a shade tiny though at 1150 square feet on two floors, plus no basement.

  • UStreet

    Unfortunate they weren’t able to maintain some of the more detailed brick archways over the front windows. Bathroom and hallways sky light a nice touch since they left the original side windows cemented. A little cheap not to pave the carport, in my opinion (though not nearly as egregious as the aforementioned door/fence issue).

    • textdoc

      Good point on the brick archways. It looks like they stucco’d over the whole front of the house; I wonder why.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t believe no one picked up the best justification for the price – it’s like a block from Jimmy Valentine’s!

  • textdoc

    I dislike many things about this house — too many about the interior to list. For the exterior, the windows don’t fit well with the style/age of the house or with the windows of neighboring houses.
    .
    What’s the deal with the non-master bathroom — is there a shower head that’s out of view in the photo? Seems like it would be weird to have just a “soaking tub” and no shower.

    • textdoc

      Also, isn’t it against code for a renovation like this to have stairs that have only a banister and no hand-rail mounted on the wall?

      • Anon, A Mouse

        The quick answer, the top of the guardrail is not graspable so this stair should have a handrail mounted in a way that meets DC code, but they’d be good with just the one. Long answer, stair regulations are always a bit quirky and surprisingly complicated, especially in a single family residence. Various building codes (IRC, UBC, etc) have to be agreed upon by the city and can be modified making it more confusing. In DC the Handrail/Guardrail section requires one handrail, but something like the UBC still only requires one handrail, unless the stair is 44″ wide and even then sometimes still only one handrail. If this were a public building it would different. That said; the first step looks like it’s taller than the rest, the handrail is not graspable, it ends at the ceiling rather than being continuous to the top of the stair, it “should” be 36″ wide, and while difficult to tell exactly, it doesn’t seem like there is enough head clearance and the handrail is too high. Still, depending on the exact situation this might all be fine. The rise and run look about right though 🙂 I get nervous about fire. The smoke detector is in the living room with a coffered kitchen. A fire would have extra time to fill the coffer before it overflowed across the beam and set of the alarm.

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