DC Total Rehab


Project Description

In a corner of Washington D.C., a once-decrepit house stood as a stark reminder of urban decay. Boarded up and abandoned, it had become a shelter for the unhoused. This property represented not just a building in disrepair but an opportunity for a complete transformation, embodying the potential for renewal in the heart of the city.

The Challenge:

The challenge was formidable: convert a severely dilapidated structure into a desirable and modern urban dwelling. This wasn’t a mere facelift; it required a total rehabilitation, from reinforcing the framework to aesthetically redefining the entire space. The project aimed to preserve the essence of the original structure while completely revamping its form and function.



Project Details

Architect J. Cornelius
Date of Completion 2012
Type Restoration

The Transformation:

  • Eviction and Cleanup: The first step involved evicting the building’s unlawful occupants and cleaning up the accumulated debris, a necessary move to pave the way for a fresh start.
  • Structural Overhaul: The rehab was extensive, stripping the house down to its studs and removing much of the existing framing. This process was crucial to rectify any structural issues and redefine the internal layout.
  • Basement Excavation: To make the home more livable and increase its value, the basement floor was lowered, increasing ceiling height and transforming an underused area into valuable living space.
  • Complete Restoration: Every aspect of the house was touched in this comprehensive restoration. New electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems, and other essential services were installed to meet modern standards and ensure a comfortable, efficient living environment.
  • Rooftop Deck with Ipe Hardwood: A standout feature of the renovated home was the addition of a rooftop deck, constructed using Ipe hardwood. Known for its durability and beauty, Ipe provided a long-lasting, albeit controversial, decking material. While prized for its quality, the ethical sourcing of Ipe is a complex issue, leading to considerations for repurposing existing materials where possible.


The total rehab of this DC property resulted in a stunning transformation. From a neglected shell to a vibrant, modern home, the project demonstrated the possibilities inherent in even the most rundown properties. The addition of the rooftop deck offered a private urban oasis, contributing to the property’s appeal and providing a testament to the potential for luxury and sustainability to coexist.

Previous Project   |   Next Project

Innovative projects that stand the test of time.