Revamping a Row House, 203k Style

by Shilpi Paul

Revamping a Row House, 203k Style: Figure 1
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.

Revamping a Row House, 203k Style: Figure 2
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.

Revamping a Row House, 203k Style: Figure 3
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.

Revamping a Row House, 203k Style: Figure 4
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 7:01 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 9:03 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 1:31 pm 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 8:32 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 😃. 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 rnicholaslending@aol.com. Our general contractor was Baystate Properties, based in Baltimore County, and can be reached through our Project Manager, Kris Davis at kdavis@baystateprop.com. We're glad that this little story about our reno experience can spread the word about the 203k loan program!
  1. Hokies304 said at 5:46 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? Thanks! Thank
  1. Tom A. said at 4:38 pm on Monday April 23, 2012:
    Love it, but lets have some diversity in architecture in the neighborhood! 😃 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 1:48 am on Wednesday May 2, 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.

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!