I bought 1426 Ives Pl SE on 12/08/2010.

This is a photo chronology of the demo and remodeling.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Got some blocks and blooms

- Posted from my iPhone

Footer: poured

After the excavation sitting empty for almost 2 weeks, the footer was finally poured in Friday.  Let's hope the rest of the project doesn't drag out this long.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More design options

Lauren and I have been in contact a lot lately and have nailed down a lot of design options.  Here are some of the decisions we've made.

 The master bedroom layout we decided on (probably without the dresser).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Realtor

So, I should have done this a long time ago.  I have no excuse; I'm lazy and not good with words.

My realtor, Kathy Sullivan, is awesome.

I met Kathy in June of 2008 when Midge and I happened to walk into an open house near our houses (I actually dragged Midge).  The house was awful.  It was way overpriced, full of new, cheap material, and the people who were flipping it installed all carpeting upstairs.

Side note to all my followers who have carpeting in their homes: carpeting isn't necessarily bad.  It just doesn't fit in city houses.  Also, this house is in the Capitol Hill Historic District.  New, polyester carpet isn't that historic.

After making snide comments under our breaths about the house, we talked to the agent, Kathy.  She was this bright, bubbly lady who was very welcoming.  She asked what we thought of the place and I told her it wasn't my style.  She agreed with the assessment and casually mentioned that it actually wasn't her listing but she was filling in for a friend.

We talked about what I was looking for, how serious I was (not that serious at the time), and what my timeline was (indefinite).  After chatting about the neighborhood and the market, I found that she was extremely knowledgeable and quite personable.  We exchanged information.

I later emailed my criteria: location, price range, # of bedrooms, # of baths, etc.  She set me up on a daily email update of houses that matched that criteria.  Every few months one or two would catch my eye and I would email her to go see them.  She was always available and never pushy about a house.

There were some houses that we both saw huge potential and some houses where we would walk in and give each other a look and a chuckle, knowing that it was absolutely not right for me.  She was always on top of the necessary info and would offer her opinions without being at all forceful.

There were times that I wouldn't contact her in 4 months, but she would pick right up from where we left off as if only a few days had passed.  She never asked me to sign a contract, at least until we put in the initial offer on the Ives Pl house, over two years after we had first started working together.

Not skipping a beat, she walked me through the entire process of submitting a bid, counter offering, getting in touch with the right people at the bank, following up and giving hell when the 203k loan took longer than expected, and finally closing.  She was always diligent with following up with the right people and would always have an answer, even if that answer was "I'm as much in the dark as you."  There was absolutely no making things up or faking it as we went along.

I would highly recommend her if you are looking to buy or sell in the DC Metro Area.  Her knowledge of the system and personability make her a huge asset to buyers, especially first timers like myself.  I wish I had a better vocabulary to express how wonderful she made the process.  I'm extremely excited to show her the fruits of her (and my) labor once this house is done.

If you are looking for an agent, please contact her.

Kathy Sullivan
Re/Max Distinctive

Tell her I sent you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4th purchase for the house

Two identical, recessed metal medicine cabinets.  I got them from Community Forklift tonight and after some cleaning, sanding the paint off the frame, and spray painting the body, I think they'll look great in one of the bathrooms.  Only one will make it into the house, though.  The worse looking of the two will get donated back to CF (or a friend in need).

And although the mirror is not beveled, it beats spending $250 on a new one.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's official

Although I have yet to receive my deed, this is the first thing the city has shown me with my name on it.  My building permit even has the previous owner on it.  Things move slowly in DC.

It's nice to see that at least one DC agency is embracing Google.  It would be nice if WMATA would do the same.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3rd purchase for the house

Getting a range and matching hood for less than 10% the cost of retail?  Feels so good.

best. find. on. craigslist. ever.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Today marked the first day of construction.  My contractor's men hand dug the footer, about 3.5 feet deep, through bricks, rocks, and roots.  Not bad at all.  It's starting to feel real.

2nd purchase for the house

I couldn't pass these up.  When I slap a glass globe on each to replace the net, they'll look amazing.

Vintage from Etsy.

My designer and design muse both approve.  This isn't (completely) an impulse buy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I fought the law...

and I won.

This whole issue with the engineering section of the DCRA Permitting office making me build up my parapet walls is over.  I received a phone call from the deputy Chief of Permitting on Friday morning with my two reviewers, asking what my side of the argument was.

I explained that nothing in the 2006 IBC (International Building Code), NFPA 101 (The Life Safety Code), the 2006 IRC (International Residential Code), and DCMR Title 12 (DC's amendments to the IRC and IBC) says that a fire wall needs to be constructed between a roof deck and adjacent properties.  I was originally told that this requirement was decided internally at the DCRA and hasn't been published anywhere.  Then I was told that Section 705.6 of the 2006 IBC requires it.  It doesn't.  During this conference call, I was told by the reviewers that the IBC considers a roof deck a 3rd floor, which is a complete lie.

I planned on submitting revised drawings showing these changes while continuing to fight the requirement.  As I was at FedEx Office, I received a call from one of the reviewers stating that they reviewed my arguments and decided not to enforce this (arbitrary) rule.

I took on the city and came out on top.  Today is a good day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Same Day Structural Review

I'm impressed with the review time.  Less than 6 hours for a structural review?  Not bad.

Has anyone ever seen a CMU wall separating a roof deck and the neighbor's house in DC?  I sure haven't.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011