Re-imagined: A Capitol Hill Home in Need of Help

This post was originally published at Urban Turf, The DC Real Estate Guide. It is the second article in a new series of features called “Re-imagined,” which will look at DC homes in need of renovations and imagine what they could look like one day.


Today’s featured address is 327 Tennessee Avenue NE, located on the border of Capitol Hill and Hill East, and like a lot of homes in need of work over there, it was snatched up after only a couple days on the market.

imageCurrently: Dark, Brown and Dated Looking
imageRe-imagined: Cozy Spot for Movie Night

The Basement

The basement at 327 Tennessee Avenue NE suffers from a multitude of problems, including exposed piping in the ceiling, dated-looking wood-paneled walls, and a nauseating banana-yellow paint job. The brown carpet-covered floors are also making the entire space feel dingy.

The first fix was to drop a low bulkhead from the ceiling to hide the existing pipes and wiring. The wood-paneled walls and yellow doors were replaced, and the wood column was enclosed with drywall to give it a cleaner look. Recessed lighting was added in the ceiling over the seating area to make the space feel brighter, despite the lower ceiling clearance. Finally, the brown carpet was ripped out, and the original concrete floor beneath was patched, painted, and sealed as a budget-friendly alternative to adding either new carpeting or wood flooring. We think it gives the basement a raw, low- maintenance feel, but also a good place to have movie night.

imageCurrently: In Need of Redecorating
imageRe-imagined: Clean and Sun-Filled

The Dining Room

The front dining room has plenty of potential, but it is nearly hidden by the heavy, floral curtains and the old, wood trim. To start, the walls, moldings, and trim pieces were given fresh coats of white and neutral paint. The wood floors are in great shape, so they were simply cleaned and shined. The old radiator was removed to open up the floor space a bit more, and a modern chandelier was installed as a focal point for the center of the room. The window treatments were replaced with simple blinds, allowing the homeowner to control the sunlight coming in without making the room feel too heavy. After arranging a long table and chairs in the center of the space, and some artwork on the walls, this room is now ready for hosting Thanksgiving dinner.

imageCluttered and Claustrophobic
imageA Little Bit Wider, And Much Sleeker

The Kitchen

The kitchen is a small, narrow space in this house, so we felt the need to open it up a bit to flow into the rear room. Though we had to remove some of the original detailing in the wood trim and the decorative glass transom to achieve this, these parts could be salvaged and reused elsewhere in the renovation. The resulting space feels a bit wider and more cohesive, especially with updated appliances and new counters. Open shelving was used above the kitchen sink to keep the space from feeling too top-heavy. The final touch was some new pendant lights and now (forgive the pun) weʼre cooking.

imageCurrently: Could Use Some Upkeep
imageRe-imagined: A Clean Backyard

The Backyard

For the backyard and rear facade, only a little cleanup was needed, starting with a fresh coat of paint. The A/C window-units were removed and replaced with central air-conditioning, and new windows were installed on the bottom two floors. The old cable television wires covering the rear facade were also removed, and the remaining electrical wiring was cleaned up and reorganized. New, decorative iron grills were added to the windows at the basement level. A new back door was also installed, and the existing stair was left intact and given a fresh coat of black paint. In order to allow more light into the rear entry door and window, the old canopy was taken down. Finally, the yard was landscaped with a small patio of brick pavers, moveable planters, and small trees were planted. Flowered window boxes were also added for some additional color and detail.


What would you have done differently?

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