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76 articles

Wisconsin Avenue, a tony street has a row of trashy homes. What gives?

By and large, what people refer to as Northwest DC—especially the area west of Rock Creek Park—has never faced the problems of disinvestment and depopulation that plagued much of the capital city in the 1970s and 80s.  Even at that point when Washington DC was “the murder capital of America” (as it was for a

Hollywood Gateway: a pocket park with a preconceived plan. Will people partake?

Far be it from me to turn into a crotchety old killjoy who lambastes every pocket park I find, but I already did it once a few years ago, for a tidy but neglected little mini-playground in Alexandria, Virginia.  Since a bigger, higher-profile, and splashier (literally) play area stands just a few blocks away, my

Castle on a cul-de-sac: homes like this will always exist. But that doesn’t mean they’ll survive.

It’s rare that I feature two back-to-back articles on the same subject, and even rarer that the subject includes massive, opulent houses.  But these houses—each one a castle, or what we would contemporaneously (and pejoratively) call “McMansions”—are the backdrop for what ultimately is an entirely different focal point.  Over on Geist Reservoir, in the northeastern

Man cave goes luxurious…and literal. 

When it comes to residential real estate, amenities can fall in and out of saliency in a matter of months.  By 2023 standards, it’s hard to believe that galley kitchens or intimate parlor rooms might have been popular at one time.  Those of us of a certain age can recall an era when full-length mirrors

Demo cluster in Alexandria: why tear down respectable homes in a prosperous city?

Alexandria, Virginia, a place I cover frequently in this blog, is a medium sized city of considerable affluence.  Sitting directly across the river from the District of Columbia, it predates the founding of our nation’s capital by a good forty years, meaning it never intended to function as a suburb.  Neither a national capital nor

Dolphin House revisited: they’re turning it into apartments!

Two articles in a row that resuscitate topics from less than a year ago…am I losing my edge?  Maybe.  But when you’ve been hacking away at this for twelve years while using little more than social media to promote yourself (but swearing off Twitter and Patreon and Youtube), it’s hard to say what constitutes an

Cumberland MD: where ancient Americana rolls out a welcome mat to trendy townhomes.

There was probably a point in history when virtually every American had heard of Cumberland, Maryland.  Not only that, it’s reasonable to surmise that a significant proportion of Americans had passed through it.  Aside from the fact that, for most of Maryland’s history, it was the state’s second largest city (its “Queen City” behind Lord/King

Reserved parking: staking claim on the public ROW from a private flower bed.

It’s uncommon that I feature an article where I strive to keep the location mostly or completely anonymous.  After all, that “sense of place” is often a critical feature, and it’s one of the primary ways I organize/classify them: by major city, by state, and (in rare instances) by country.  Only one example comes to

Dolphin Mansion: the country’s ugliest house hits a fascinating planning snag.

The Dolphin Mansion is up for sale again!  Indianapolis’s most notorious home has struggled to find an occupant for the last seventeen years, but it’s not for lack of trying.  Actually more of a campus with six structures on a mega-lot, surrounded by mid-century middle-class housing that’s a lot humbler (and I mean that in

High tension wires in Pickwick Commons: maximizing utility out of utility line ROWs.

For the small handful of people who are this blog’s devotees, the image below may be a tiny bit familiar.  I’ve covered this small subdivision in New Albany, Indiana once before.  The name is Pickwick Commons, an age-restricted townhome development in which the retirement-age residents retain (at most) a small garden plot to cultivate, but

Man cave goes luxurious…and literal. 

When it comes to residential real estate, amenities can fall in and out of saliency in a matter of months.  By 2023 standards, it’s hard to believe that galley kitchens or intimate parlor

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