Results tagged “1622 4th St NW”

Monday Misc- President's Day

Florida and R St- On tomorrow's agenda for the 5E ANC meeting, there is a proposal for a traffic light. All I know is that would be great for pedestrians, as all the signs in the world don't seem to help matters when trying to cross at the crosswalk in that spot. Some cars stop and some cars don't.

Big Ben Liquors on Sunday- The BACA blog mentions the Ward 5 Heartbeat reporting that Big Ben on New York Ave got approved. Really? REALLY?

Call for papers for the DC Historical Studies Conference
You don't have to be an academic, but the theme this year is "Marching on Washington".

House History Workshop- The DC Humanities Council is hosting on March 30th a House History Day, and I will be one of the presenters. My bit ill be about 3 minutes on what is the Truxton Circle Neighborhood Genealogy Project (that's what I call it) and the rest of the time how you can do something similar for your street or block. There are two workshops and space is limited. Sign up here.

1622 4th St NW sold- As some of you may have been aware I (and a few other neighbors) had taken issue with the flipper of this property and how he/they had badly treated the neighboring properties, flouted DC laws regarding permits and trash, and messed up a young tree that neighbors had planted a few years back. Unfortunately, with it being a sellers market, with low inventory and multiple bids, flippers can get away with the crap that was done at that property. Though it was no longer listed, it seemed to have found a buyer via word of mouth. We approached the new buyer, extending the hand of neighborly friendship, as he bears no responsibility for the poor actions of the seller/flipper. It seems those 3rd party inspections, that were supposed to be submitted to DCRA back in 2012 never got submitted. And I told the buyer what I suspected about the framing and insulation. You new homebuyers have my sympathies.

New Real Estate plug-in- Well your poor unfortunate buyers have a new tool you can use if you have Google Chrome. Census Connect allows you to use recent census and other data (ex. sex offender list) to find out about the various neighborhoods you might be investigating. I'm gathering there might be Fair Housing rules that would not allow the real estate websites to have it on their sites directly.

Lesson in 311

I want to thank the operator Ms. Tanya for working with me in trying to figure out what happened with one of the items I reported to 311 that got closed out, with the trash still in the alley. I also reported the large graffiti on the 600 block of R/Rhode Island NW, 311 closed that out and it is still there. So instead of going on a tirade about Parcel 42 and the need to remove graffiti ASAP, I'll tell what I've learned today.

Construction debris behind 1622 4th st

I reported this construction material that I guess was dumped in the alley by those working on 1622 4th St NW. I take this guess because the stone matches the stone in the backyard patio. I reported it as illegal dumping. Someone else also reported it too under "illegal dumping". Apparently, "illegal dumping" does not apply. It is like the broken passenger side window issue I have with MPD, if I don't see the wrong doing in action, it didn't happen. It is only illegal dumping if you see someone dumping.

Ms. Tanya was helpful enough to put it in the system again under "alley cleaning" with the new tracking number (29915). So I need to figure out how to correctly report crap I see dumped on the street that needs picking up, like the trash always at Florida and 3rd.

I'm going to end this without going on a tirade about all the other things I have reported with the  311 app, where it gets closed out without much of an explaination. We had a little trouble with the dumping issue because the tracking number was useless and I guess no one is expecting anyone to follow up on their 311 requests. Lastly, there is a tree at Rhode Island and New Jersey with a big rotted hole at the base I've told the Help to avoid driving anywhere near this tree. Despite reporting it a while ago, I'll just let you look at the pictures here and here, and let you decide if this tree is a danger to drivers and maybe pedestrians.

Free slate or stone or whatever

Construction debris behind 1622 4th st
There are a few things I haven't done in a while. One is  take out the garbage through the alley. The Help generally does this. The other is write anything about 1622 4th St NW. It was under contract, then it wasn't, then it is not listed but people are still looking at it, whatever.

Anyway, I dealt with the trash can and noticed what you see pictured. There are two ways of looking at this. One, being illegally dumped construction debris stacked up in the alley, which I reported to the city. The other, hey look everybody free stone/slate! I mentioned this to a neighbor who said that is some pricey stone. So if you can get there before DPW decides if they want to clean and fine, you maybe can get some choice pieces for a garden walk.

The city would do right be fining the owner, because unlike other alley dumps where the unsuspecting owner gets blamed and fined for a dirty mattress that just happened to get dumped on their carport, these stones match the stones laid on the other side of the fence. All city workers would need to do is just look over the fence and match them up. There are still pictures from when it was listed here, and you can match up the stone with the photos of the rear yard.

Monday Misc

DCist Exposed- From their email- "Now in our 7th year, we feature the best Washington, D.C. area photography through the eyes of the people who live, work and play here. We put up a new website this year where you can find all the past winners, links to our photo publications, and of course the application. It's just $10 to submit 3 entries by January 9, 2013. The winning images will be displayed at Long View Gallery in late March -- we host two opening nights, typically attended by well over 1,000 visitors and celebrating D.C. with local brews and other surprises." See

Lotteries are to school systems as the proposed DC Water surcharge is to Bloomingdale residents- DC Water/WASA is not generous. When it was discovered there were lead pipes all over the place, homeowners had to pay to fix the pipe that went from the sidewalk to the house, though for many of us, our front yard isn't really ours, we just have rights to plant on it. And when Bloomingdale residents put in for claims with DC Water they were told they had no claim. In the claim denial letter one resident shared DC Water doesn't admit responsiblity, so what good would a surcharge do? Will a surchage make DC Water take back blaming homeowners for not having a backflow preventers or having basement living spaces not renovated in a way that DC Water wants it? Keep in mind the ones who put in the basements are not always the ones who have the basements now. There can be a couple turnovers between renovator and current owner/renter. We've discovered that sometimes DCRA isn't enforcing all the steps going into renovations.

Get that final report in whenever- I'm pretty much done with 1622 4th St NW. According to Redfin, it is under contract and now (as far as I'm concerned) the responsiblity of the potential new owner to check into permits and construction quality. Prior to it becoming 'pending', we were following up on the permits and approvals. It went on the market and the final report, which we were told is supposed to be in 5 days after it's all done, wasn't submitted to DCRA. DCRA seemed to think it was coming at any moment (it's probably in the mail). It has been over a week since hitting the market and it appears it still hasn't been submitted to DCRA. Using my super-librarian powers I looked at the flipper/Realtor duo's (same owner and real estate agent) previous flip on the 5100 block of 3rd St NW. Looking at DCRA's PIVS they didn't seem to submit any final report there either, but I don't really know how much work there was to do there. Besides nobody bothers following up on these permit things, I know I didn't look into it when I bought my place. Going by PIVS I, and several of my neighbors did bother with a final inspection when we renovated. If you are buying a place with a basement, I'd really check up on the permits and such, so later you too won't have to get a claim denial letter from DC Water.

Bad framing.jpeg

Ballon framing-

 Speaking of 1622, I learned something about the framing I saw that alarmed me, it is a type of ballon framing. Most, many builders do not use this kind of framing. It fell out of fashion in the 30s and was not really used for attached houses. It has some plusses and minuses. See more here.

Back to DC Water- For years I have heard talk that DC Water was going to do something about the old combined sewer problem, in the future. As the future gets closer, they are changing their mind. No surprise there. A new study is another form of procrastination.

Carter G. Woodson Celebration- Never mind the decaying building. I'ma gonna just copy and paste from the H-Net site:

Dr. Carter G. Woodson Birthday Celebration
Location: Shiloh Baptist Church 1500 9th St NW, Mary McLeod Bethune
Council House National Historic Site | Map
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Fee Information: none
Contact Name: Joy Kinard
Contact Phone Number: 202-673-2402

You are invited to join the National Park Service and
the Association for the Study of African American Life
and History to celebrate the 137th
birthday of
Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
Date:   December 19, 2012
Time:   6:00-8:00 p.m.
Location:  Shiloh Baptist Church
         1500 9th Street, N.W.
                  Washington, D.C. 20001
* Reception following the event sponsored by
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
For More Information Please Call: (202) 673-2402

Historic details on the inside- There is a house that went on the market 1431 3rd St NW. From the photos there are a lot of cute historic details inside. Would be a shame if some developer/flipper bought it, ripped out the details and replaced it with some Home Depot special.

What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW- ask the hard questions

Well it looks like 1622 4th St NW will get an offer soon, if someone hasn't put in a bid as I type. If the contract goes through I am very pleased with one thought, hard questions are being asked.

Potential buyers are asking about the inspection reports, looking past the pretty wood floors, and giving the place a critical look.
If the builder undid the crazy frame job I saw, then good. Or if the framing is some new fangled trend in building then, yeah, that's between him and the buyer now. The buyer should at least know about that and the stop work orders. My future neighbors deserve to be informed.

So, be it this or another house, ask the hard questions and seek the truth.

See previous entries:
What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW
The 1622 4th St NW saga continues
Stop Work Dilemma
1622 4th St NW DC- Schadenfreude II

Stuff nobody tells you, hidden behind the walls II

Note: This is semi-related to "What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW" .

A year or more after I bought my house, I decided that I did not want my washer and dryer in my tiny kitchen. I decided to buy a new washer and dryer and stick them down in the cellar so I could double my counterspace to about 2 feet. All was fine and dandy until the men working on the hookups went to attach the new pipe to the main stack. The main stack is that big PVC pipe that carries away the greywater and sewage into the sewers. They went to touch it and it fell apart.

Let's take this back to a month before I bought my house and a man I call Sonny the Nigerian was 'renovating' the house. The house was owned by a man, now since dead, and his wife who did not live in the house. Sonny was 'fixing' the place up for sale. For the price point and the fact that the area had drug dealers 24-7 and hot mess prostitutes, Sonny didn't bother undoing the crackhead design elements. What he did was hide the problems, and install and wire things ineptly. I had lots of ungrounded plugs, hot plugs, possibly set your house on fire plugs. And later I found, plumbing pipes held together with sheer will instead of pvc cement.

I will admit when buying the place I was impressed by the 'activity' going on with the painting and sanding and busywork. It was better than the place on 5th St I looked at where the seller didn't even bother cleaning up the mess left by his last tenants. My ladder-less home inspector did mention the unconventional aspects of Sonny's reno work. I knew it was an old house and I had visions of re-doing the house anyway, so Sonny's work was a decent temporary fix. I just wish I knew how temporary and how bad.

This is the same Sonny who put up the unreliable cabinets in someone else's house. I didn't feel moved to warn the residents, prefering to do the passive hazing of letting them find out for themselves, which in retrospect, seems very mean. So my wanting to warn the future buyer of 1622 4th Street NW of the structural issues and the possibility of other behind the wall problems, I consider less mean than letting them find out for themselves.

Thursday Misc- Parcel 42, 1622, and a bar

East Shaw reports the results of the ANC vote regarding Parcel 42, as does the City paper- This did not go to UHOP (thank g-d).

City market at O mentioned that the A&D Neighborhood bar on 9th (not too far from the city market construction) opened yesterday.

Regarding 1622 the Help wants me to be more postive. He was looking over my shoulder the last time I wrote about it. He would like me to remind y'all that I'm not trying to prevent it from getting sold. Nor is it my intention to scare anyone away from the neighborhood, because this is a great neighborhood and an awesomely great block. I just want buyers to be informed, because those buyers will be my neighbors, and I like my neighbors.

So not worth over 1/2 mil- 1622 4th St NW

For more info please see What is wrong with 1622 4th St NW.

1622 POS 4 Sale
Well 1622 4th St NW went up for sale. I looked on Redfin. $525,900.
If you do buy, save up for the eventual repairs you're going to have to do. Just because the renovation is new, doesn't mean it's a good reno. According to one neighbor who has been on the block for like for-ever, said when they bought their house they discovered some dangerous stuff behind the walls a few years later. Crap behind the wall is just the nature of the neighborhood, new construction be damned! Yeah, I experienced that same crap behind the walls thing with my house, but I just blamed crackheads. I stand by my call that you will need a home inspector with x-ray vision.
Also for $526K you should get insulation thrown in. I'm just saying'.
And they should have properly cleaned up the front yard before throwing mulch on top.
That and maybe some bars. Hey I have pondered taking off the security bars and then someone 3 blocks off gets robbed or their home is invaded, and I decide to keep them. Bar-less1622 comes with an alarm system, but I know of people who had alarm systems and still managed to get robbed.
For over half million, you should also get a freaking leather bound final report showing that all that renovation actually passed inspection. Not just the permits being approved, that's easy. No, you need proof that someone with 2 brain cells looked at and approved the plumbing, the electrical, and the structural framing before they closed it up and put up pretty tile. Hopefully you can sue the 2 braincells if they just rubber stamped it, but then you'd have to be in the mood to sue.
Let's play with some numbers. The last house to sell on that side of the 1600 blk of 4th, sold for $450K in May, it is on the smallest lot but was in decent shape and it has a walk in basement, which could be an income stream. 1622 does not have a basement. Before that was 1606 for $329K, and before that in 2010, 1630 for $440K. 1630 was done by a live in contractor and his wife, and it has that same wide addition in the back, but 1630 is of better quality and has a slightly bigger lot. My own renovation back in 2007, plus this year's basement reno and repair after the renovation, and the kitchen renovation from 9 years ago adds up to $153K. I mention this as a general measure of a good renovation. Fatukasi bought 1622 this year for $227.2K, I couldn't say that has $150K worth of competent renovation work.
I've been on this block for over a decade and seen many houses on this block undergo various renovations and flips. This is one of the worst ones I've seen. Right up there with Sonny the Nigerian whose flip had the then new residents' kitchen cabinets full of dishes falling off the wall. Luckily, that house was fixed and re-renovated by another live in construction guy.
This is a great block but whoever buys this, and I know someone will buy it, they need to be aware of the hidden dangers of the house that they WILL need to address if they plan to live in the home for any length of time.
Even in the little things they failed. There was nothing above the door for days.
Not even sheet of plastic to protect from rain or birds.

Ran into a neighbor who said there were two different couples inside 1622 4th Street NW looking like perspective buyers today. This very pretty deathtrap isn't even listed yet as far as I can tell three perspective buyers have looked at it. Where are they coming from? Are people driving around looking for construction?
I've updated the page "What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW". When I described the framing that I witnessed to an architect at a holiday party I attended he was shocked someone would do that and agreed that kind of framing job I described was dangerous.
Anyway I direct the rest of this posting to the would be buyers of 1622 4th St NW, in Washington, DC:
It looks pretty doesn't it? The glass backsplash and the new kitchen appliances are impressive. And you have to say the large house numbers, the dark mulch and the fence have much in the way of curb appeal. You've might also gotten the feel that it's on a pretty good block, not a lot of trash and people rake the leaves.
It looks perfect and so you'll never have a reason to question the integrity of the building. It's new so it has to be good right? Nope.
It was bought by a Mr. Fatukasi in May of this year from a long time resident who never really took care of the place, particularly the exterior.  In late April apparently there was a postcard permit (PC58019986) to do interior demo. You can look at PIVS to check the permits issued, and I strongly advise you to check the permits, what was filed, and when the work was approved. Just because a permit is issued does not mean the work was done right. Double check those approvals.
I also strongly advise you to look into the Stop Work Orders. They were issued for a reason. They are the red flags I want to point out to you. The first was issued on July 13, 2012 (CIC1201939), and a second on September 4, 2012 (CIC1202379). There hasn't been an inspection of the work of the house by the city since the last stop work order. Supposedly a commercial 3rd party (Bello Bello Associates) has inspected the property, but their name is only on the pre-Stop Work Order permits I could find. As far as we can tell whatever 3rd party Mr. Fatukasi has, they don't have to submit the approved structural, fire, electrical or plumbing inspections, the inspections that you dear buyer are depending on to keep you safe, until the final review. Now if you go an buy this house prior to all that, prior to the final review, then you've screwed yourself.
Also dear buyer, if you ignore my warnings and are convinced that the contractors fixed the problems I and other neighbors witnessed, please get a superstar inspector. Hell, find one with x-ray vision.
Ours is a pretty neat block. When there is a good house available, I'll let you know. When there is a bad house, guess what? I'm letting you know.

1622 4th St NW, a lesson in stop work orders

Part of the paper work of the Stop Work Order
I decided to see if someone could find out on-line if a place has as many stop work orders as 1622 4th St, NW.
Apparently that answer is yes. I looked in DCRA's PIVS which under "Commercial Inspections" which show the record of inspections and the two stop work order. This shows a lot more than DCRA's permit status tracker. The place hasn't been inspected by a city or inspector since their last stop work order. They've already closed up the framing, they're painting, they are putting in tile. You're supposed to have an inspector come by and give you a green sticker before you put on the finishing touches. That's what I remember from my own renovation, we couldn't move forward until we got the okay from the city. Can that now be ignored? Are inspections now optional?
On the PIVS, under "Issued Permits" I see they got a permit for putting on a new roof in mid-late September. However, according to my post about the roof, I see they were doing the work in August. Um, is this a case of asking for forgiveness instead of permission? DCRA must be very forgiving and very unfair to those of us who tried to figure out the confusing system of permits for our own homes and do right by the city. But what's the point if the city lets flippers flout the rules?

- Well things have changed since I had my renovation. Apparently you don't need to post the green inspection approval stickers. You can get inspections done by a third party and not have to publicly announce/report them until, whenever. At this point to me this looks like a dead end going through the city. As neighbors we've done the best we could do on our end. May the Lord be with the poor soul who buys this deathtrap/money pit at 1622 Fourth St NW to live in.

Stuff nobody tells you, hidden in behind the walls

Note this is part of the "What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW series", but then I realized this applied to many houses being sold around here.

1622 4th St NW
New mulch hiding the debris underneath

There are so many parts to a house and the conventional wisdom tells you only a few things that touch upon them, which may give you a sense of false confidence, for something in DC that puts you on the hook for a quarter or half a million dollars. You've thought you've done your research, but it only goes so far. This post, I'll just touch upon your home inspection.

I still have my home inspection from when I bought my home. My inspector did a decent job. He would have done a better job it he had a ladder and got on the roof. If we'd gotten on the roof, I would have been aware of somethings, that in the larger scope of things were minor and correctable in themselves, but those little things add up.

Also your inspector, unless he or she is Super Inspector with x-ray vision, cannot see through walls. And that's why I feel it is necessary to give a heads up to the person who buys this property to live in, or rent out. At 1622 4th St NW the framing style, hidden behind the walls, is unconventional, nobody is going to pick up on that unless the seller bothers to tell you. There isn't a lot of insulation and there is something about the firewall (you will have to email me about that because I'm not going to publish it here), but then again, these houses were originally built before building codes and pink insulation. Don't assume good stuff is behind the walls. Fixing stuff behind the walls in an old house is very unsexy and costly. Unless it is blown in insulation, insulating your home is not riviting dinner party conversation. It's just easier to turn up the heat or air and complain about utility bills.

There are great home inspectors out there. I've heard of inspectors who had discovered termite eaten beams hidden behind brand new drywall. Ones with ladders who climb on to a roof and look closely and can warn you that you may need to deal with X in a few years.

What's wrong with 1622 4th St NW

Let's start with my concern.
1. The framing or the bones of the house.
Bad framing.jpegPlease excuse the drawings, I am not a good artist. Perspective is just too hard. And it is times like this I really wish I'd taken a picture of what I saw.  Anyway, on the left is what the framing in a house is supposed to look like. I sort of traced that out of a book, just to get the angles somewhat right. On the left is what I saw in the main part (not the addition) of the house. I am 100% sure that the 2nd floor wall framing sat on the 1st floor wall framing. As you can see comparing it with the image on the left, this is a no-no, and this is why I think whoever moves into 1622 4th Street might die a horrible death as the 2nd floor falls into the 1st floor. And this is why I feel compelled to try to do as much as I can to stop the contractor or inform any perspective buyer. I don't need anyone's death on my conscience.
I will admit that I'm about 60-75% sure about how the floor joists are in there. I did not check on this progress of this project on a very regular basis. But seeing the wall on wall framing on the south wall, after they gutted the place, was really shocking. Another thing I'm not sure about, did they ever undo it. My gut tells me no. Also the many, many short cuts the workers took and the incompetence shown throughout the process points to a 'no' as well.
UPDATE (12/8/12)- Someone gave me a plausible reason for the weird framing and it is possible that it was temporary. But I'd still recommend checking it out to make sure it's kosher.
Speaking of:

2. Incompetent dumb stuff.
Seriously, what person supervising the work lets your guys do dumbass wall frame on wall frame crap in the first place? Maybe the same mentally messed up person who leaves out around 20 bags of concrete, uncovered, outside on a night when heavy rains are predicted. Other neighbors have observed stupid things too, but really these things scream that these guys have no freaking clue how to do things right.

3.Shortcuts, cheapskates, and cut corners.
Vacant and trashed
Usually, when you gut a house, you rent a trash trailer. The owner/contractor/whomever, did not do that. Much cheaper to leave the trash in the yard, or piled up inside.
Also when you gut a house, you bother to get the permits first. This house has permit issues. I guess they didn't get the permits so they could go cheap, but in the long run it cost them with the 2 Stop Work orders.
(Update/Clarification)- There were permits but it appeared to be not the 'right' permits when looking at DCRA's permit database.
Don't expect that this house has insulation. If they didn't tear off the roof to replace it with a crappy one, I'd say there might be some insulation left in the ceiling crawlspace, but I wouldn't bet on it. Besides, it's not something you can look at during an open house.
Also it should go without saying, cheap Latino workers were used. But then again, what construction project around here doesn't.
Now the thing that confounds and confuses me is, if they were being so cheap, why would they rip out the original floor joists and roof to replace it with something, I think is, inferior?

4. Pissing off the neighbors.
I will also have to acknowledge that there is motive in all these posts. Besides making me fear for the life of the future occupant of 1622 Fourth Street NW, they've also pissed off the neighbors (which includes me) in the process. There was the trash spilling into the alley, the noise, the dust, destruction of street trees that we just put in a few years ago, destruction of neighboring property, and the flooding basement. What this has motivated was a closer look at the work being done. When I was having my own house gutted my contractor advised me to be good to my neighbors and he did the same (I hope), because one way to get a Stop Work Order slapped on your door while doing a big job is by being an asshole. 1622 4th St NW has 2 stop work orders. Why? Bad work and pissed off neighbors calling the city.
However, someone being a jerk is not a reason why one shouldn't buy or rent 1622 4th St NW at some inflated price. No. Items 1 thru 3 are. Number 4 is just the parsley on the side of the plate, the flourish at the end. My hope is that someone buys this and fixes the structural issues and does it right, for their sake and the sake of all the future occupants.

If anyone has anything to add, comment below. I ask that you try to be factual. I have tagged all my 1622 4th Street Northwest house posts with its own special tag.

Misc Friday

Costco is Coming, Costco is coming. I squeeled when I got the flier announcing the November 29th opening. No more treking out to Beltsville, MD for our toilet paper stockpiling needs. I know a bunch of you other DC Costco card holders venture out to the Pentagon City to get your monthly supplies of diapers, meat trays for office parties, and cases of wine. I don't know if the DC Costco will have wine.

What do we buy at the Costco? Cases of seltzer water, shelf stable orange juice in individual serving bottles, lemon juice, olive oil, white vinegar, baking soda, rice, garbage bags, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, sponges, and the hygiene related paper products. In other words a bunch of shelf stable stuff that we use a lot of. Of course, we only buy the baking soda and vinegar (useful for natural safe house cleaning) once a year and the other stuff quarterly.

Bloomingdale Business- ABC Liquor issues- There will be a Bloomingdale Civic Assoc meeting on the 19th where of many things discussed will be supporting or not the ABRA applications for Red Hen and Aroi Thai.

Last BFM-  I believe this Sunday is the LAST Sunday for the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market. I'm going to stock up on bacon and apple cider.

1622 4th St NW saga- It is nearing the end. According to the guys banging and sawing and making a racket, they hope to be done in December. We neighbors are just thankful that it is looking like the end, but we still wouldn't recommend it to anyone. And the Help stuck his foot in his mouth when the friendly (and horribly chatty) man that he is engaged a group of people who were looking at the construction for what seemed to be a hour. It seemed a young lady in the group was looking into buying a new home. The Help leaned into the woman and said that the construction might be a little questionable. One of the persons in the group, who overheard him, said that he was the contractor. The Help apologized, but what needed to be said, was said. The description of that contractor was of a short white guy. The contractor I complained to early in the process was a black guy, so I don't know what's going on there. Since the house's 2nd Stop Work Order, there has been a slight change in the way things were done. The quality seems a bit better, but the questionable bones remain. 

Cute Kittens and being on hold

First. Cute Kittens.