11 Oct 2012

Houses on Parade: The Renovator's House Tour This Saturday

courtesy of Capitol Hill Cluster Schools

Do you own a Capitol Hill turn of the century home? While we often find ourselves constrained by space — those Victorians didn’t covet closet space as we do — the special touches in these homes bring  the character of life more than 100 years ago into modern living.

Some local homeowners integrate old and new into their homes with new stained glass, reclaimed wood and charming old school-style appliances. See these creative features on the Renovator’s House tour Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The tour supports activities at the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools, a 20-year old program that serves 1100 children from pre-K through 8th grade. The cluster is located across three campuses: Peabody Elementary, Watkins Elementary and Stuart Hobson Middle schools.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour. Tickets will be on sale at Frager’s Paint Store, Hill’s Kitchen, and Schneider’s of Capitol Hill.

The tour emphasizes smart solutions to everyday problems, and the best ways to stretch a budget. There’s also an emphasis on eco-friendly and carbon footprint-sensitive solutions to modernize homes. Drafty old windows are no longer and issue for these folks!

One featured house, owned by Sanju Misra and Greg Klas, makes the most of found objects of all sorts. In the basement, you’ll find a room divider that was made from a sliding pocket door once installed on the main floor. The door is hung on modern-day barn door hardware. There is a built-in bookcase made from a joist in the house. Reclaimed wood also makes for a counter top, coupled with an AGA stove scored on Craigslist. All together it provides for a one-of-a-kind kitchen.

And the house was purchased from artist Katherine Coleman. Misra and Klas hung some of her modernist paintings on the living room walls. The home is thoughtfully decorated and accents the home’s history.

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2 responses to “Houses on Parade: The Renovator's House Tour This Saturday”

  1. C.C. says:

    I’ve been four years in a row, and each year is worse than the last, so I’m not bothering this year.

    And the “smart solutions to everyday problems” is such a joke. For example, most of the houses have pre-fab non-custom cabinets, which is fine, except that none of the appliances fit, so there are large gaps. I have an appliance that doesn’t fit into its space, and I have some ideas to hide the gap, like using gingerbread, but I’d like to see what others have done, because I don’t know how to match the wood color. Where are the smart solutions?

    Last year, all but one of the houses were so shoddily done that I was embarrassed for the home owners who spent small fortunes on half-baked work. Except that in one of the houses, I was actually embarrassed for a builder who was standing proudly in a kitchen he had done. It had exposed nails all over the painted cabinets. And while I know that it takes skill to hide nails in exposed wood cabinets, it takes no skill whatsoever to hide nails in painted cabinets. Also in that house, half the baseboards were missing quarter-rounds, so there were gaps all over the floor. And then there were all the unevenly hung cabinet doors throughout the kitchen and all the bathrooms. I mean, there were a lot of doors to tend to, but it takes an extra three seconds to level and tweak each one. The cabinet hinges they make these days really make that so easy.
    And for all four years, at least a third of the houses are done by a contractor who has been arrested for illegal building. And since I’ve seen so much of his work, and a neighbor has gotten an estimate from him, I know he charges way too much for slip-shod work. I mean, if you’re going to cheap out on a pocket door and not use an inside rail, the least you could do is use an inside metal guide, or if you must go plastic, you can use it inside. But OUTSIDE plastic guides? I mean, who does that? This guy, who also cuts a square in the tread to fit around a round newel post. Even I have the tools and basic skills to cut an arc in a tread so that it fits flush against a round newel!

    Anyway, at this point, I don’t need to know who NOT to hire. I need to know who TO hire, and this tour has never been able to show me someone competent.

    Essentially it’s like Captiol Hill residents have no basic attention to detail and so pay top dollar for mediocre work, therefore competent builders charge double for quality work. I would think that since no one appreciates quality work, decent builders would actually charge less than the charlatans, but I actually think that they must work in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, or McClean.

    Thanks for the rant, I’ve been keeping that in since last year’s tour!

  2. Rocky Tucker says:

    I love this event! And, the best part about it is, all ticket sales support the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools. Funds raised will provide valuable programs and services in the schools where the DCPS budget has been cut. It’s supposed to be a fantastic day for a walk on Saturday and I am really looking forward to seeing the range of renovations this tour always features.

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