Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion

by Lori Steenhoek

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 1
A re-imagined room in Hillcrest.

In Re-imagined this week, Lori Steenhoek helps re-envision an expansive, four-story Tudor at 3128 Westover Drive SE (map) on the northern edge of Hillcrest. Built in 1940, this home has over ten rooms, cathedral ceilings, two fireplaces, exposed wood beam construction, cork and slate flooring, double height spaces, and elaborate stone features throughout. The grounds include a half-acre lot with fountains, an amphitheater, extensive hardscaping, and a maze of walkways.

Similar to other homes we’ve looked at in Re-Imagined, the description notes that the property has "rehab potential" and “needs work”, but this time with a much larger scope and asking price. As such, this home isn’t for your average buyer, and we suspect it’s been on the market so long (250+ days) due to the size and the biggest challenge of all: how to best utilize each of the rooms. So, rather than providing extensive modifications to the home, we concentrated on how we’d stage and slightly improve the spaces for potential buyers who might have a hard time seeing how this house could look due to the unusual layout and architecture.

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 2
Currently: Overgrown

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 3
Re-imagined: Landscaped

The Exterior

The front of the house is looking a little unkempt, mostly due to the overgrown yard and weeds. Weʼd start by replacing the small entry steps with some more natural looking stone ones, and line the path with shrubs. Weʼd extend the brick retaining walls across the front of the house, and add plantings as well for a more defined edge. For the face of the house, weʼd repaint the wooden beams and window trim with a black or chocolate color to emphasize the Tudor characteristics that are now barely noticeable. To add some detail to the blank brick wall at the right, weʼd incorporate a vertical green wall or some growing ivy. Finally, the entry way could use a new door and some lighting to make it look more inviting.

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 4
Currently: Bare

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 5
Re-imagined: A Grand Dining Room

Double-Height Space with Cathedral Ceilings

This room offers a lot of potential -- slate floors, incredibly high ceilings and detailed, exposed wooden beams. We decided to lay it out as a dining room with an oversized table and plenty of seating for guests, and let the space speak for itself. Weʼd paint the end wall an accent color, and add wall lighting or sconces to create a focal point in the room.

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 6
Currently: Feels Vacant

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 7
Re-imagined: A True Study

The Study

With the fireplace and relatively lower ceilings, this room struck me as an intimate place that would work well as a small library or study, just off the entrance to the home. Again, weʼd keep most of the original detailing the same, but give the beautiful floors a good cleaning, repair the fireplace and add a new hearth. The ceiling beams and exposed brick are beautiful as-is, so weʼd simply arrange a table and some seating and add some wooden built-in bookshelves to the far wall.

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 8
Currently: An Unusual Layout

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 9
Re-imagined: A Stylish Master Bedroom

The Bedroom

What an amazing space to fall asleep in every night! This room would make a beautiful master bedroom, especially with the cozy little nook that would perfectly fit a bed and two nightstands. Weʼd paint the three walls a neutral accent color to define the nook, and add some dramatic lighting above. The interior window (which overlooks the double-height space on the far side of the dining room) is an interesting feature that weʼd keep, but perhaps add some stained-glass to create privacy while still allowing filtered light into the space. The side niches would be perfect for dressers or even a built-in window seat.

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 10
Currently: Needs Some Repairs

Re-imagined: Spiffing Up a Hillcrest Mansion: Figure 1
Re-imagined: A Tranquil Indoor Space

The Sunroom

Despite being surrounded by glass walls and a green landscape view, this room feels cold and uninviting in the original image. Weʼd fix the broken glass panes, and perhaps make the two shorter windows operable, which could allow fresh air in during the spring or fall months. Though this space is surrounded by tall shade trees, we imagine the sunlight would still heat it up fairly quickly, so weʼd hang curtains around the perimeter to be able to control the light coming in. Some cozy chairs and a large circular rug would pull the space together as a room to sit and read and relax.

Lori Steenhoek is a Digital Artist with over six years of experience creating architectural renderings. She is the founder of Capital Pixel, a DC-based rendering company, and is currently finishing her Masters thesis in Animation and Visual Effects. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Do you know of a home that needs some re-imagining? If so, drop us a line at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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See other articles related to: re-imagined, hillcrest, dclofts

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/re-imagined_spiffing_up_a_hillcrest_mansion/5639


  1. H Street Landlord said at 4:02 pm on Friday June 15, 2012:
    beautiful home!
  1. Hillcrester said at 5:04 pm on Friday June 15, 2012:
    This is a great home with a spectacular city view on one of Hillcrest's most desirable streets...sad the sellers didn't spiff up the place before listing it...
  1. Chris said at 6:13 pm on Friday June 15, 2012:
    They are asking $895K for a house with an assessed value of $512K. In Anacostia. Seriously?! This is not 2006.
  1. Amazed said at 10:58 pm on Friday June 15, 2012:
    @ Chris: That's why it's been on the market for nearly a year. The sellers don't seem to have caught on just yet. It's a beautiful home,but I remember another gorgeous home on that same street within the past 2 years ( I think)that was listed somewhere in the 800s. But as I recall, it was in much better shape and still sat on the market for a good while. I don't know if it ever sold, or at what price.
  1. AS said at 5:09 pm on Saturday June 16, 2012:
    I live near this beautiful house and it is not located in Anacostia. It is in Hillcrest, near Pa. Ave. The views of the city and monuments from this large property are breathtaking. This unique architectural creation (neighbors call it the castle) needs lots of renovation now, but it could be spectacular, and the owner has been very, very motivated to sell to someone with vision and historic appreciation. Close to everything in Metro area; perched on a hill with the feel of the countryside (deer, foxes, birds galore); wonderful, cohesive neighbors... Worth a look; worth an offer.
  1. Mary said at 7:49 pm on Saturday June 16, 2012:
    Oh, cool post! We've been admiring this place online for ages, but deterred by how an unrealistic price coupled with a lot of needed work seemed to imply an intransigent seller. It does look like a neat place and is a great little cul de sac. They should so have an open house sometime.
  1. Paul Williams said at 11:13 pm on Monday June 18, 2012:
    The house was not built in 1940; it was built beginning in May of 1936. Also, it was built for a Fred M. Kramer, but it wasn't designed by him, as the RE advertises (setting themselves up for a false advertising claim there!). It was designed by architect Willard White.
  1. bed and breakfast in cork said at 2:16 pm on Tuesday March 12, 2013:
    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon! <A HREF="http://www.19thgreen-bb.com/"> bed and breakfast in Cork </A>
  1. Jake said at 7:43 pm on Thursday December 11, 2014:
    I sometimes go walking through that neighborhood, and that house is my favorite. I always imagine how cool it would be to live there and rehabilitate it... I hope someone does.

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