(Updated 4:35 p.m.) A 140-year-old historic home in Arlington owned and built by Harry Gray, who was formerly enslaved at Arlington House, is for sale with an asking price of $915,000.
“A masonry D.C. row house with the convenience of an Arlington location,” reads the real estate listing. “As soon as you walk in from your front porch the home shines with its exposed brick and tall ceilings & windows, giving it a spacious, cozy feel.”
Located at 1005 S. Quinn Street, right off of Columbia Pike, the building is on the National Register for Historic Places and is protected by the county under the “historic district” designation. This means that certain exterior alterations have to be approved by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB).
The son of Selina Gray, Harry was born at Robert E. Lee’s Arlington House estate and was enslaved there until he was 12 years old. According to Virginia law at the time, he was property of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington’s step-grandson and the father-in-law of Robert E. Lee.
After that, he lived at nearby Freedman’s Village and worked at local brickyards where he honed his skills as a mason. Later, he became an employee of the U.S. Patent Office and, inspired by the rowhouses he saw while working downtown, built one for his family in Arlington, near Freedman’s Village.
Constructed in the fashionable Italianate style of the late 19th century, the home is two stories tall with a solid brick foundation and standing-seam metal shallow-pitched shed roof. To this day, the home is a rare example of a brick rowhouse in the county.
“It’s a visible relic of a formerly enslaved person from Arlington House and Freedman’s Village, who went on to become middle class,” local author and historian Charlie Clark tells ARLnow about the house.
However, owning a historic home of this nature comes with a unique responsibility.
In 1984, the Harry Gray House became one of the first buildings in the county to be given the historic district designation. Currently, there are 13 single-family homes with this designation in the county, with only a handful of those remaining private residences (the rest are owned by the county or state).
This protects the Harry Gray property from “insensitive alterations,” says Cynthia Liccese-Torres, Program Coordinator for Historic Preservation in Arlington County.
“It’s not owned by the county, but we are tasked with the responsibility of helping any owner be the proper steward of the house,” she says.
While the exterior is protected, that doesn’t mean alterations and changes can’t happen. Liccese-Torres explains that the county has no purview on what happens with the interior, hence why the listing notes the extensive work that’s gone on inside — one of a number of interior renovations over the years.
If the owner notices a rotting front column or a leaky roof, says Liccese-Torres, replacement with the exact same materials and with the dimensions are allowed to happen without approval.
These are known as “in-kind” replacements.
If the owner wanted to build an addition or enclose a front porch, that’s an example of something that would need to go through the HALRB. Requests of this nature have been approved in the recent past.
“Those approvals show this property continues to be adapted,” says Liccese-Torres. “Here we are in 2021 and changes are still allowed to happen. It’s not a static museum piece. It is a home that has been adapted to serve people’s needs over time.”
The house last went on sale in 2011 and was purchased by Cameron and Catherine Saadat.
“We [lived] in Old Town before that, so we had already kind of gotten the appreciation for older homes,” says Cameron. “We happened to see this come on the market and just kind of fell in love with the D.C.-style rowhouse.”
They paid about $387,000 for the house, which was in foreclosure. The couple says that, over the last decade, they’ve poured about $300,000 worth of work into the home, including a complete renovation of the interior.
Arlington Home Show This Weekend — “Whether you are a resident looking to improve your home, an experienced contractor, or landlord managing rentals, the 2021 VIRTUAL Arlington Home Show & Expo offers a convenient one-stop shop to ‘Ask an Expert’ and learn of new ways to update your home, and add value to your property.” [Event Calendar, Arlington Home Show]
Mastercard Returning to Arlington Office — “Mastercard Inc. will soon bring workers back to its New York City office at least two days a week. The payments giant also plans to open its Arlington, Virginia, office to more workers after already inviting more staff back its Sydney and Dubai offices, Chief Executive Officer Michael Miebach said in a memo to staff Wednesday. For most locations across the U.S., the company hopes to have workers in by September.” [Bloomberg]
Local Restaurants Need More Help — “Behrooz Sarvghadi is the owner of Kabob Bazaar, in Arlington, and one of hundreds of thousands of small business owners looking for financial assistance, as the nation tries to recover from the pandemic. ‘I’m hoping we get it, so we can continue the business,’ said Sarvghadi… the U.S. Small Business Administration says it ‘received more than 303,000 applications representing over $69 billion in requested funds, and nearly 38,000 applicants have been approved for more than $6 billion.’ But the issue is, only $28.6 billion was ‘signed into law.'” [WJLA]
Challenger Wants County Arts Changes — “The recent Embracing Arlington Arts forum between County Board aspirants actually provided some fireworks – albeit on an issue that qualifies as inside baseball. Incumbent County Board member Takis Karantonis and his challenger in the June 8 Democratic primary, Chanda Choun, split over whether the local community was best served by having the Arlington government’s arts and cultural-affairs apparatus continue operating as a subsidiary to the government’s economic-development operation.” [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Cemetery Station Reopening — “Metro customers at Addison Road and Arlington Cemetery will enjoy safer, modernized stations when the stations reopen on Sunday, May 23, after three months of work to completely rebuild their platforms and make upgrades throughout the stations. The reopenings will mark the completion of all 12 stations slated for platform reconstruction in Virginia.” [WMATA]
Type “Why are bathroom renovations” into Google and the first result suggested is “…so expensive.” After saving for a new home, home improvement projects are the most common reason Americans save money.
Most people believe having a bathroom that makes them happy is a worthwhile investment, yet are surprised by how much it costs.
Why is renovating a 40-square-foot space so costly? Pricey fixtures and the specialized skills required are partly to blame. However, some costs are embedded within the industry:
- “Free” quotes are expensive: On average, contractors spend 25 percent of their time building quotes for jobs they will not win. Those costs need to be recouped.
- Expense overestimation: Whether purposeful, unintentional or a little bit of both, contractors often significantly overestimate the cost of materials and effort on a project.
- Professional design: Having a professional design your bathroom is considered a luxury service and carries a luxury price tag.
- Limited visualization opportunity: Consumer Reports identifies a primary cause of price overruns as homeowners who change their mind regarding finishes or colors after they’ve been applied.
In 2016, remodeling industry veteran Chad Hall believed these inefficiencies could be eliminated by taking advantage of emerging technologies — so he founded remodelmate.
Eliminating the time-consuming process of in-home quotes, remodelmate gives homeowners free access to an app that uses advanced smartphone camera technology to generate a near-perfect 3D model of their existing bathroom. The scan is then applied to a quote-building system, generating a final labor price for the customer as well as a precise materials list for the contractor, eliminating overestimation.
To address the professional design and visualization issues, remodelmate employs CGI (computer-generated imagery) to apply homeowner color and finish selections to a model of their new bathroom. The results are photo-quality images showing the customer exactly what their new bathroom will look like before construction begins.
For more information, visit the all-new remodelmate website.
The annual Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo is coming to Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The home show is a community event — not a commercial event. The goal: to educate Arlingtonians about the best ways to add value to their homes and improve their overall quality of life.
Now in its 13th year, the home show is a one-stop shop for all things related to improving and building homes including permitting, financing and choosing the right contractors. This year the show will focus on informing visitors about value remodeling — making sure that every dollar invested in home improvement achieves the best return.
The free, family-friendly event will include 18 workshops covering a wide spectrum of topics, including Accessory Dwellings (ADUs), Energy Efficiency, Smart-on time and on budget-Contracting, Landscaping, Going Solar and the well established Landlord Seminar that deals with the legal and practical nuts and bolts of being a landlord. The Show features more than 65 exhibitors, including local builders, designers, master gardeners and more.
Attendees can also discuss their home improvement or building plans with representatives from a number of Arlington County agencies, who will be available for one-to-one consultation.
Admission and parking are both free. There will be a raffle for a 50-inch television, free LED bulbs for visitors, many contractor specials and great food will be provided by Cafe Sazon.
Homeowners can take a class on how to choose the right contractor for their remodeling project at this years annual Arlington Home Show & Garden Expo this Saturday, April 27 at Kenmore Middle School.
Those homeowners will be learning from the best! Steven Tinter, President and General Manager of Arlington’s No. 1 Design Build Remodeling Firm, Cook Bros will be the instructor on the main stage at 10 a.m.
Tinter says that specialization reduces risk for consumers. Reducing risk is especially vital when it comes to one of the most expensive expenditures a homeowner will encounter — renovating their home.
“Arlington homes are modest, but they’re expensive homes,” Tinter says. And many of them are older, with residual quirks from previous builders. “Working with someone who specializes in renovating these homes will reduce your risk of cost overruns, delays and potentially missing out on something in the overall design.”
Cook Bros’ specialized experience in the area gives them an advantage when it comes to encountering challenges distinct to Arlington homes, including not only critical design elements but also navigating the county permitting processes. “Cook Bros only renovates homes in Arlington County, and has for 32 years.
We don’t do new homes, we don’t remodel homes in Maryland or D.C., or other places in Virginia,” he said. “Arlington County is all we’ve done for over 30 years. If you’re contemplating a major renovation and not talking to us, you’ll be missing out.”
Class seating for Steven Tinter’s class is limited. Kenmore Middle School is located at 202 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington, Virginia.
We all know the kinds of R-rated words that could fit along that line. We tried to include a few, but ARLnow censored us. (Trust us, it’s for the best)
Some PG-rated words that may come to mind are: stressful, annoying, tedious, unreliable, pricey — the list goes on. To put it simply: remodeling sucks!
But all of us at remodelmate are on a mission to make home remodeling suck less by simplifying and de-stressing the entire journey:
- No in-home estimates or scheduling
- Transparent, competitive rates
- Hassle-free Concierge service
- Convenient milestone payments
There’s a better way to renovate your home, and it’s really as simple as “push button, remodel home.”
- Click “Build Your Project” on remodelmate.com
- Confirm your details with one of our virtual Concierges
- Receive a remodelmate lockbox in the mail
- Start renovating
For limited time, ARLnow readers get a whopping $1,000 off their renovation of $10,000 or more if they book a project in the next two weeks. Use the code ARLNOW when you click “Build Your Project” on www.remodelmate.com.
We Love Our Customers
“Just had remodelmate install a cabinet in my kitchen. The service was superb and prompt. Would highly recommend them!” – Andrew C., Washington, D.C.
“We’ve been meaning to remodel our kitchen for so long, but we just couldn’t ever find the time or energy to manage the process. We chose remodelmate’s Concierge service to take full control over the design and build of our kitchen — and wow! We’ll be back again.” – Landon and Samantha R., Temple Hills, MD
“They were incredibly easy to work with and responsive to all of our questions and concerns. The project came in on budget, and we got a lot of compliments on the fresh, new look of our bathrooms. We were extremely pleased with the finished result and our experience working with remodelmate!” – Jeff and Tamra M., Washington, D.C.
Read more testimonials at www.remodelmate.com.
Local residential real estate tech company remodelmate is making it easier for people in the Washington metropolitan area to buy and sell remodeling services.
Their online marketplace allows homeowners and contractors to find and offer services for renovating bathrooms, kitchens, windows, doors, roofs, floors and even your man (or woman) cave.
The DC-based company was founded on the idea of re-establishing trust in an industry that has been historically unpredictable. And they are growing quickly.
Customers benefit from fair, upfront pricing, clear project timelines, and, for an additional fee, a dedicated project manager to help see your masterpiece through to completion. And for contractors, the jobs come to you without having to scour the marketplace.
It all works through a simple process: customers answer a few questions about their project and share what they’d like to accomplish; then they receive a no-commitment quote and in-person project consultation. From there, customers pick a date for the job to begin and pay seamlessly and securely through remodelmate — BOOM, done.
Rest assured, every “remodelmate” is licensed, bonded, insured, and thoroughly screened, including background, quality and identity checks.
For a limited time, ARLnow readers can get $500 off their next remodelmate order so you can start that renovation project you’ve been putting off.
The annual Arlington Home Show and Garden Expo is coming to Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The home show is a community event – not a commercial event. The goal: to educate Arlingtonians about the best ways to add value to their homes and improve their overall quality of life.
Now in its 12th year, the home show is a one-stop shop for all things related to improving and building homes including permitting, financing and choosing the right contractors. This year the show will focus on informing visitors about resilient remodeling — making sure a whole home is resilient to major weather disruptions.
The free, family-friendly event will include 16 workshops covering a wide spectrum of topics, including Accessory Dwellings (ADUs), Energy Efficiency, Universal Design and Aging in Place, and will feature more than 65 exhibitors, including local builders, designers, master gardeners and more. In celebration of the 50 years of the Fair Housing Act the Show will offer a special Fair Housing Seminar for Condominiums.
Attendees can also discuss their home improvement or building plans with representatives from a number of Arlington County agencies, who will be available for one-to-one consultation.
Admission and parking are both free. There will be a raffle for a 50-inch television, free energy efficiency kits for the first 150 visitors, many contractor specials and great food will be provided by Cafe Sazon.
The pilot took a different turn from the usual house-flip shows that have dominated HGTV the past few years, featuring “underwhelming” houses.
The show is currently seeking D.C. area homeowners who want to “generic home from drab to the Best House on the Block” but are “overwhelmed by the design possibilities.”
More from the show’s casting website:
To Be Eligible You Must:
- Currently own a home in the Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland metro area
- Have an existing design/renovation budget for your projects
- Be willing to move out of the house during renovation
Send an email to [email protected] telling us your story and include: name, address, phone number, family photo, budget, as well as photos of the home exterior and interior areas that need Lauren and David’s help.
I am looking for families with boring homes that need a personality boost and remodel. Looking for fun, outgoing, families who are serious about a home redesign/remodel. Each episode focuses on roughly 3 living spaces to transform with the homeowners existing budget.
A local co-op formed earlier this year to drive down the cost of home solar installation selected two providers to install the panels.
A spokesman for the co-op said the two firms were selected because of their competitive pricing, quality components and warranties available.
According to Solar Power Rocks, a firm that provides guidance on solar power for all 50 states and D.C., installing a 5-kW solar panel system on a house in Virginia can cost homeowners just over $18,000. Over the course of 25 years, the firm estimates it will have produced $16,000 in income from energy savings. Co-op members can save up to 20 percent on installation costs as they buy as a group in bulk.
The chosen installers will now develop personalized proposals for each co-op member, who will then review that proposal and decide if the panels are suitable for them. Being a co-op member does not mean a commitment to buying panels. New members are being accepted until October 1 from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County.
“We’re are excited to be working with Greater Arlington residents to help them go solar at a great price” Niko Eckart, owner of Independent Solar Solutions, said in a statement.
“We’re incredibly honored to be part of this co-op and are excited to see the solar momentum build in Northern Virginia,” Jonathan Gellings, a solar analyst at Sigora Solar, added.
The group is partnered with Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods, the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment to help educate and recruit members about going solar. Co-op members can save up to 20 percent off the cost of going solar by doing so in a group.
More than 80 people have already gone solar in similar schemes, and the current cohort said the process of finding providers was helped by working as a group.
“As someone who has considered installing [solar panels] several times over the past few years, I can say with certitude that working through the co-op was far easier than interviewing installers on my own,” said co-op member Jessica Olson in a statement. “The co-op is a great way to make an informed decision on a significant investment. We’re really excited to work with our installer and see how much I can save with my system.”
Managing a home improvement project, no matter what size, is a daunting prospect. You may have a vivid idea of how you want the rec room to look when it’s finished, but you have little to no idea of the labor, materials, equipment and time it’s going to take to complete the job to match your vision.
But the folks behind Step Up Services Inc. do. Northern Virginia-based Step Up Services is the rare project consultancy for everyday homeowners dedicated to taking the headaches out of your home improvement project.
Step Up Services is not a design-build company. They don’t have a vested interest in the cost of the project. They’re not “up-selling” you to add square footage or more expensive fixtures. That’s the “normal” way of doing business.
Step Up Services is disrupting that routine by providing third-party peace of mind.
No matter what the estimated cost of your home improvement project is, Step Up Services will charge you a flat fee — based on the level of consultancy you choose — to look at all the elements of your project and provided educated, experienced and unbiased answers to your questions, options and choices.
Remodeling a basement? Sounds like a job a contractor can knock out pretty quickly with minimum difficulty right? Before you sign on the dotted line for that $30,000 to $50,000 estimate — or up to $50,000 on a kitchen — spend $250 with Step Up Services to double-check the deal, including showing you how to avoid a contractor disaster by doing a thorough background check.
Do you have lingering questions about committing to spend thousands on that long-awaited second-floor pop up? Rest assured after a $250 project consultation with the pros at Step Up Design that you did the right thing and that the finished project will be exactly what you are paying for.
It’s best to consult with Step Up Services before speaking to an architect or contractor.
The answers you get from Step Up Services will catch expensive problems before they arise.
But if you already have a proposal in hand, Step Up Services can review the contracts and provide advice and guidance during the construction.
Arranging an appointment with Step Up Services is fast and easy through the website.
And if you don’t like the answers Step Up Services provides, they’ll offer a refund. Not many others in the home improvement supply chain can say that.
Step Up Services Inc. can be reached at [email protected] or 443-797-7050. The website is here: stepupservicesinc.com/services.
Sponsored business profile written by Buzz McClain.