We have found that third-story pop-ups on rowhouses are becoming more popular in Washington DC because the influx of people moving to the city and the density of neighborhoods means rowhouse owners either have to go up or back to gain the additional square footage they desire. Homeowners don’t want to move to gain additional space because they like their neighborhood or their kid’s schools. Most want a third-floor addition for a new master suite. However, if you’re looking for a larger family room, a third-story addition doesn’t make sense. Some turn to third story additions because zoning rules may limit the size of a rear addition. This applies to rowhouses and semi-detached houses. General rules for a rear addition are:
Landis has a design team well-versed in zoning rules and an in-house permit expeditor. We know DCRA, ANCs, and historic committees can be difficult to work with (Chris Landis served two terms on DC’s Historic Review Board), but we can’t guarantee approval.
Our third story pop-ups range from $300,000+ . This includes a bedroom, closets and full bath and some work modifying the 2nd floor for the stairs if necessary. An addition like this can increase the future value of your house by 25 to 30%, so it can be a good investment, but you should research comparable home sales in your neighborhood. You can consider borrowing the money using a loan to future value where banks compare your finished project against houses of similar size.
Homeowners considering a 3rd floor are often deciding to “love it or list it.” If you love your neighborhood or your kid’s school and your neighborhood supports your investment, it may be a good decision. Remember, moving laterally costs at least 10-12% of what your existing house is worth or more in fees and moving costs. Thinking about a third-story addition? Give us a call at 202-726-3777 to discuss your options and maybe set up a site visit. It’s helpful if you send us a plat to review.
Framing the 3rd story addition
As seen from the front of the house.
The addition is seen from the rear.
The structure is clad in James Hardie fiber cement siding. We opted not to extend the addition over the two-story sleeping porches that have been enclosed. We stopped at the original house rear wall.
Stairs to the new third floor.
For this project, we did not stack the stairs to the 3rd floor over the 1st to 2nd-floor stairs.