Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interesting Renovation


Ground Floor Reno, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

So I have seen a few of these renovations going on where they seem to dig out the basement to make it a separate entrance. I'm kind of undecided about these renos. Have you seen what I'm talking about? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

13 comments:

Project KB said...

I was checking out some basement apartments in Capitol Hill last week and I noticed that the dig outs come with glass doors that really add to the natural light in the apartment. Back when I lived in Petworth - I had a regular dungeon apt.

Prince of Petworth said...

Ah, good point about the light. You should move back to Petworth though!

Anonymous said...

You're right, these types of basement units are becoming more popular, and I've seen the one you took a picture of on Park. I think they look great and do a lot to make basement apartments more appealing - HOWEVER, while they look nice, they do nothing to address the issue of safety. Obviously crime can happen anywhere, but living in DC as a single woman, I would seriously hesitate before purchasing a basement unit that appears to invite opportunistic criminals with that big glass door and street level windows.

GforGood said...

Like in any other renovation, I would say it depends on how well its done. The sample pic you give does not at least yet look very nice as it has no landscaping or plant pots to make it look less of hole and more of a front yard.

The security issue mentioned by anonymous could be partially addressed by fencing/gating and security bars in the glass window door.

Gina Grace said...

New reader, first time commenter (great blog by the way)-- Maybe I'm just cynical, but to me it seems like a quick and easy way to market a place as... not quite so basement-ish, but does little to really add. Does one kind of forget that they are below ground level in two beats from the bottom step to the front door? When looking for places to buy in the area, we saw a few of these and always found them associated with quick flip type renovations. So- maybe its just me, but I associate them with calling a place "luxurious" solely for having stainless and granite.

Prince of Petworth said...

Thanks Gina, I tend to agree with you and the above anon. I think they could benefit a lot from some beautification, plants etc. But I think KB is right that it must be nice to get all that extra light. I think this is a real trend though because I am seeing a bunch of them. Maybe we'll get someone who lives in one to add their perspective.

Another point is that I think they tend to aestetically clash with their nieghbors. It is weird when you have "normal" rowhouse after rowhouse and all of a sudden a big gap or trench. I still haven't completely made up my mind on this one.

odentex said...

The other thing, from an ownership point of view, is I really wouldn't want a rental in my basement. At first the notion of generating cash was a big motivator for me when we started looking, but now that we have a finished basement I would hate to give up the space, and while 99% you'd likely have a reasonable tenant, that 1% could be a real doozy. While I'm glad that DC has very tenant-friendly laws, it makes it less likely I'll ever be a landlord here.

For instance, I found out during my house search to stay well away from any property that had a tenant on site b/c they have purchasing rights under DC law which can hold up a sale or end in a lawsuit if their rights aren't carefully protected. If you've ever been in a DC building that went co-op or condo and they didn't give you the chance to buy then you might have a lucrative civil claim.

poo poo said...

i personally think they're ugly, and i agree that they clash with the 'normal' rowhouses. why would anyone go to such effort to digout the front, unless there was some irreparable damage.

i dunno. but until i step into one and see the benefits, i'm not convinced that they're ALL that...

Invisible Sun said...

I say 'thumbs up'. I lived in a basement apartment for a couple years, so I know how it is tough, especially with the light. Anything to make it easier on the lives of the students, recent grads, non-profit people etc who usually live there--I am for it. Plus, to the extent people hang out there, in the patio, etc., it will make streetlife in the neighborhood more lively and safe.

Prince of Petworth said...

Also a good point. I wonder if it is really susceptable to flooding...

Anonymous said...

As an owner of a rowhouse with a fully finished basement apt. I really appreciate having the choice to get some extra income to offset the mortgage or to use it as extra space when guests come over. It also make the property more marketable on resale because you can offer the buyer the same option. I have been blessed, however, with a wonderful tenant. On another note, I think there is an exception in DC law regarding tenant right of first refusal in owner occupied units. I will check on that ...

OldandBusted said...

I live in a regular old basement unit with dinky windows and a solid door. Boo! If I had it to do over again, a place with even one full-sized window and a nice glass door (perhaps with a gate door on top) would win hands down.

Anonymous said...

LOL. AS THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY YOU HAVE PICTURED, LET ME PREFACE BY SAYING THAT THIS IS A COMPLETELY GUTTED AND EXTENDED PROPERTY INC. THE BASEMENT. THE PROJECT IS NOT FINISHED. IT WILL BE IN 30DAYS OR SO. AND IT WILL BE SOLD AS 3 SEPERATE CONDOS. ANYONE INTERESTED IN MORE INFO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME. I HAVE BEEN RENOVATING PROPERTIES IN DC FOR THE LAST 15 YRS. GOOD LUCK!