A Certain Aesthetic

Riding the G8 to church yesterday I saw a guy working on a building at the corner of 9th and P and the whole layout of it screamed “yuppie coffeehouse”, eventhough it is all up for lease. The “for lease” signed screamed ghetto.

Chatting with a friend I talked about the different looks you can see in rehabbed houses and buildings in Shaw.


You can spot a crackhead rehabb easy. The crackhead aesthetic has a little patch here and a little patch there with no rhyme or reason. It ulitaran, done badly. You’ll find things obviously hiding some sort of mistake, maybe a crack in the walls. You’ll find toilets not set right on/in the floor. The quality of the work is anti-code or substandard.


The workman’s aesthetic is working class ulitarian of varied quality. It’s like they got a list (put in 1/2 bath, granite, new cabinets, new carpet) and just followed it without any throughout to what might make these features attractive. The carpet is run of the mill. The cabinets are so so. The granite is there. The 1/2 bath was placed based on existing plumbing, not so much as how it looks in relation to the rest of the house. The best example I can think of is an open house I attended. They had the idea, hardwood floors. The floors were fine, the stairs were horrid. For stairs you’re supposed to use solid boards, not the little tongue in groove for the floors, they used the tongue and grove for the stair. Workmen fail in the minor details.

Atlanta Aesthetic

That’s what Nora called it. It’s a style that screams from several blocks away, “WE SPENT MONEY ON THIS HOUSE,” but it doesn’t mean it was money well spent. It’s sorta nouveau rich, sorta workman. The understanding is have something large or a lot of something that says, money. It can be gaudy and out of place. The problem is that you have this one expensive thing not too far or in the same room with something that screams, just as loudly, cheap.

For Yuppies, by Yuppies

This would be the corner of 9th and P. The money is in the details. Money and time were spent on the layout and design of every detail. These are the houses with the $40 interior door knobs, the stained glass, the custom door. They look nice but not overpowering. The owners spent money on correcting and undoing what the crackheads did, or keeping the good historical stuff, rather than ripping it out.

New Neighbors

Giddy with some excitement. I got new neighbors, two African gals. This is a good thing since the house next door basically remained empty for 7 years, then in the last year the guy who owned it, another African, started fixing it up… sorta (in some things the quality of work was good, other things, not so good. So now, there are no more empty/abandoned houses on our side of the street!!!!!!!!!!!

Convention Center Area Strategic Development Plan, 2nd Public

Meeting: 01/10/04

The second public meeting on the development of the Office of Planning’s

Convention Center Area Strategic Development Plan, focusing on housing,

retail, and public space issues in the area bounded by New York Avenue,

Massachusetts Avenue, 12th Street, Vermont Avenue, U Street, Florida Avenue,

and New Jersey Avenue, NW, will be held on Saturday, January 10, 2004, from

9:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon

Place, NW, in Meeting Room 102.

At this workshop, the public will be asked to review three conceptual

designs developed by the project consultants following the compilation of a

variety of types of information on current conditions in the neighborhood.

Each conceptual vision will be described by a physical plan, a financial

feasibility model, and analyses of development costs, traffic generation,

costs for needed infrastructure improvements, public versus nonpublic

financial contribution, regulatory relief, taxable revenue projections, and

other factors to assist in the selection of the final plan. These options

will be refined into one preferred option. This planning initiative does not

include the old convention center site.

More information, including the PowerPoint presentation from the first

public meeting to discuss the future of the area around the new convention

center on October 14, 2003, can be found at the following URL:



To RSVP or for more information, contact Ward 2 Neighborhood Planner Chris

Shaheen of the DC Office of Planning at 202-442-7631 or

chris.shaheen@dc.gov. RSVPs are recommended but not required.