Re-imagined: A U Street Row House

by Lori Steenhoek

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 1
One of the re-imagined rooms at 1320 W Street NW

In a new feature debuting today called Re-imagined, Lori Steenhoek of Capital Pixel will help "re-imagine" what a DC home in need of renovations could look like one day.

There are some amazing features in the three-story row home at 1320 W Street NW (map) that we are featuring today, one just has to look for potential in the right places. Like most DC homes built around 1900, the property has great bones, but it needs a little bit of a facelift and some TLC. Take a look below at some of the before-and-after images to see a few of the ideas we’d suggest for renovations.

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 2
Currently: Deteriorating

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 3
Re-imagined: A Room for Living

The Front-Bay Room

The front room of 1320 W Street NW is showing years of wear and tear. When we imagined what it could look like, the pipes and old radiator were removed from the bay window area, as were the misaligned cabinets over the fireplace. The first improvement was to buff and refinish the wood floors. The original fireplace brick was kept as-is, but new veneers were added to match the existing look. A fresh coat of paint and a hardwired lighting fixture above the front window were the final touches needed to make this room feel livable.

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 4
Currently: Dated and Dark

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 5
Re-imagined: Modern, Clean and Light

The Kitchen

The kitchen needs a complete overhaul as the wood cabinetry is damaged and dated looking, and the floor tiles are peeling. The layout of appliances and cabinet heights are also in need of attention.

For the update, we’ve chosen to keep the overall linear layout and the location of the sink. By moving the refrigerator to the end of the line, we keep a more continuous countertop surface. Updated appliances, the addition of a dishwasher, new hardwood floors and counters, and white-paneled cabinetry provide for a lighter, modern-looking kitchen. A white, subway-tiled wall completes the transition.

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 6
Currently: Plain but spacious

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 1
Re-imagined: An intimate home office/reading room

The Bedroom (Turned Home Office)

For a property with six bedrooms, we’ve decided it is necessary to turn one of them into a combination home office and reading room. The original detailing of the mantel and fireplace in the room above was kept intact and given a fresh coat of paint, and we opened up the central recess of the wall to make it look like a working fireplace once again. Flanking the sides, built-in bookshelves were installed to give plenty of room to store an entire library of books.

The original wood flooring was restored, and on the sidewall, the existing closet was made wider, and the swinging door was replaced with one of wood and glass that slides. Recessed pin lights were added above the fireplace and over the desk area, allowing the homeowner to choose between a brightly lit working environment and a more relaxed reading room ambiance.

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 8
Currently: Drab and muddy

Re-imagined: A U Street Row House: Figure 9
Re-imagined as an urban retreat

The Backyard

The chain-link fences in the backyard have to go, so we replaced them on both sides of the property with a higher wooden fence, providing more privacy and a cleaner edge to the lot. A new deck extends from the rear of the house, complete with a sliding glass door entry. Before, there was no occupy-able outdoor space, but the addition of this deck provides a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or to host a BBQ with friends. For the length of the property, a red brick pathway extends to the rear gate, and new grass and landscaped plants add a bit of greenery. We trimmed some of the large branches from the neighboring tree, allowing more light into the rear windows and an open view of the backyard from inside. Finally, a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint freshens up the entire facade.

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).

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/reimagining_transforming_a_u_street_row_house/4409


  1. BE said at 7:44 pm on Friday October 21, 2011:
    This is amazing. More, please!
  1. Nat said at 7:51 pm on Friday October 21, 2011:
    Yes yes! I LOVE this! Please do it for more places in DC 😃
  1. cool said at 7:51 pm on Friday October 21, 2011:
    I agree-this is awesome. I like to think of myself as someone with good "vision" but this is better than I could have envisioned.
  1. Nikki said at 9:03 pm on Friday October 21, 2011:
    The place is already under contract 😃 Love this type of post!
  1. Karen said at 12:26 am on Saturday October 22, 2011:
    Love the renovations to the back garden. Can almost hear the birds tweeting. (the real tweeting!)Might be nice to have a simple fountain or sculpture on the far garden walk as a focus for gazing. Beautiful work all around! More, please!
  1. Rob said at 12:36 am on Monday October 24, 2011:
    Subway tile is a trend that needs to die. I don't understand why people like it so much.

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
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
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
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 »