I don’t believe all pop-ups are ugly. Unfortunately there are tons of bad pop-ups that we can point to so one can get the impression that there is no such thing as a good pop-up. There is one example I like to point to of a good rooftop addition.
Over on the 1600 block of 5th Street, NW between R and Warner there is a house with a cute rustic addition. I’ve been inside once and the owners did a wonderful job with creating a new space in their home. Maybe the key in this is that it was designed and done by the people who were intending to live in the home and not a know-nothing small time developer/contractor trying to stuff a few more square feet on to a small lot.
A few things makes this addition work. One is that it is on the end of a row of houses. You can get away with more on the end than you can in the middle. If the style changes up on the end of a bunch of uniform houses, it doesn’t break the pattern. Second, the addition, including the railing is set back from the street. Third, there isn’t a big empty space on the addition between the top of the roof and the top of the door/window. There is another pop-up on S Street, that’s lovely from the back but on the front there is this empty space that makes the front of the addition, ‘blah’.
I think the most important factor was that the addition was put on for the people who live in the house, and not some unknown buyer to be gouged of money.
Yesterday I got an email about something I heard about on the radio this morning. The Terwilliger Cost Calculator is part of the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing with the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology report “Beltway Burden: The Combined Cost of Housing and Transportation in the Greater Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area.”(PDF)
I played with the calculator. I had to use the Internet Explorer version despite being in Firefox. I plugged in different areas, Shaw, Riverdale, Arlington, and the far reaches of Alexandria. Except for Arlington where the income was higher, most other places had the transportation/housing costs to income around 50% or higher.
Yet in past conservations with co-workers, though housing costs are cited as one reason for moving far out, there are other factors at play.
These factors include spouses/partners who don’t work in the metro center, but out in far reaches of Fairfax, Bowie, and Baltimore. They include large dogs, whom the owners believe need a large yard. A desire for a school system you don’t have to think about. And a desire to live in a setting like the one they left back home. Problem is with this area, the house with lot that is average in St. Pete, FL is expensive in Rockville. The other problem is a lot of us aren’t from here and trying to re-create the familiar here is pricey.
I showed this picture to a co-worker who also lives in the District. He said if someone painted their house that color in his part of town the neighbors would throw a huge hissy fit. They live in the Chevy Chase area.
Colorful townhomes are some of the things I like about Shaw and neighborhoods like it. There is a bit of funk, and individuality and variety in our style.