Revamping a Row House, 203k Style

by Shilpi Paul

Facade, Before (left) and After (right)

After seven years in their H Street Corridor row house, Maileen Villamor and her husband were starting to get frustrated. The home had structural problems, like a perpetually wet basement and holes in the walls, and with just two-bedrooms, space was getting tight for the couple and their young daughter. They wanted to totally overhaul the home, but were daunted by the thought of saving up tens of thousands of dollars for a renovation, a process that would likely take years.

Enter the 203k loan.

With the help of the FHA home loan program, the Villamors were able to transform the aging two-bedroom, one-bath row house into a three-story, three-bedroom, 3.5-bath home with office space, a play room, and a roof deck.

New 3rd floor, Exterior (left) and Interior (right)

The 203(k) is a government program that offers loans to buyers who want to renovate their homes. The loan is often granted to homeowners who don’t have the cash to fund a renovation, and don’t want to take out a home equity loan to fund the repairs. For people like the Villamoors, it is a nice alternative (i.e.repaying back their loan on a monthly basis at a time when forking over a pile of cash was unimaginable). Villamor told UrbanTurf that three homes on their block have been renovated using the 203(k) program.

For the renovation, the Villamors hired architect Amanda Clarke, who designed 1524 Gales Street NE, a past UrbanTurf Deal of the Week just down the street from their own home. Clarke went with a Mondrian-like modern theme, which meant the family had some fun picking out bamboo flooring, bathroom tiles, kitchen appliances and fixtures that they liked.

Two stages of the second floor renovation.

In August, the family moved out and contractors began a complete gut renovation of the home. After tearing down the walls of the first and second floors, the contractors framed the new rooms, built a third story and rebuilt the home almost from scratch. They added new stairs, new walls, constructed the third level, renovated the facade and built a roof deck. Renovations took almost nine months, and the Villamoor family was just able to move back into their home in early April.

Stairs, Early (left) and Finished (right)

To learn more about the 203(k) program, click here.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/revamping_a_rowhouse_203k_style/5418


  1. HStRez said at 2:01 pm on Wednesday April 18, 2012:

    Amanda Clarke has kinda become the Joe Englert for my stretch of Gales St NE. She has single-handedly flipped 4 properties (including her home) now on this block with her distinct architectural style. I think her modern style contrasts well with the early 20th century homes on the block.

  1. anon said at 4:03 pm on Wednesday April 18, 2012:

    I will have to drive by this one ‘cause if that is vinyl siding I’m gonna puke and they should be ashamed.  Plus that jut out in the rear on the THIRD floor looks whack.  The interior looks awesome and I’m sure the owners are loving life compared to before.

  1. Jim McMahon said at 8:31 am on Thursday April 19, 2012:

    I would love to take advantage of this program for our house. Does anyone have any recommendations for consultants, contractors and lenders for DC?

  1. pazzysmom said at 3:32 pm on Thursday April 19, 2012:

    Hi Jim - the owners here!  I just sent you an email with all the gory details on our renovation and our loan process smile.  The gentleman who brokered our 203k loan was really the one who got the ball rolling - and kept it rolling - from beginning to end.  He can also make recommendations on contractors and 203k consultants.  His name is Robert Nicholas, and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Our general contractor was Baystate Properties, based in Baltimore County, and can be reached through our Project Manager, Kris Davis at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  We’re glad that this little story about our reno experience can spread the word about the 203k loan program!

  1. Hokies304 said at 12:46 pm on Saturday April 21, 2012:

    First—bravo on the reno.  Looks fantastic. 

    I’ve often thought about buying a house in this area and then getting a rehab loan to have an architect and GC fix it up (I’m looking at buying my first home at the ripe old age of 30)...I suspect this type of reno would cost ~$250K…anyone with a GC background care to weigh in?

    What are the pros/cons of trying to do this?



  1. Tom A. said at 11:38 am on Monday April 23, 2012:

    Love it, but lets have some diversity in architecture in the neighborhood! grin  I would want something more unique.  For me, this is too similar to Ms. Clarke’s place. 

    And thanks for the into on the loan program!  I didn’t think you could use those loans for a home that is habitable.  I’ll check it out.  I’d also love to hear the story of your non-approved plumbing project so we can learn from it and avoid a similar fate.

    Great place! 

    Tom on 16th St.

  1. Brandon said at 8:48 pm on Tuesday May 1, 2012:

    I agree that it looks like a copy of that other house a few doors down on Gales. Hard to really get a sense of what the space is like from the photos.  Looks kind of dark and that cantilevered mass is awful - must have been a way of getting around zoning issues for the property.  And definitely too much vinyl siding.  Something like Hardie siding would have looked much nicer - and been way more eco friendly.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾