Prolific Richmond photographer f33 has captured the before&after of 518 North 25th Street.
Who did this project? It looks great. Where’d the third window go?
I was real disappointed when I saw how this project turned out.
Getting rid of the 3rd window really detracts from the houseâ€™s exterior appearance. And replacing the metal roof with asphalt singles just doesnâ€™t cut it.
Unfortunately, they had their work permits before the Old and Historic District went into effect. The roof is all wrong and it has cheap siding on it. The deletion of a third window makes it look awkward.
I agree with Ray and Queen, and Queen is correct about the permits. My guess is that they altered the trunk room (which is usually where the third window was taken out) for use as a bathroom and wanted to put a bigger shower or something where the window used to be.
They also eliminated a few windows on the side of the house, and again, I assume to accommodate some kind of interior change.
The elimination of the 3rd window and tin roofing really does detract from the house. The trunk room in my house was converted to a bathroom but the window is still there which I really love. I just have to keep the curtains drawn about 95% of the time, :).
The house just really looks awkward now and not in keeping with the historical character of the neighborhood.
To the Owner of 815N 25th:
Thanks for taking the time and effort to make our neighborhood look so much better. The improvement from what was originally there is fantastic.
Do try and ignore the complaining busy-bodies that cry “look at these run down houses!” from one side if their face and then “oooo I don’t like that” from the other as soon as someone does something about it. After awhile the droning on-and-on just turns into background noise …
It’s certainly an improvement, although I miss the window. Perhaps the owner could put one of those big ol’ metal wall hangings over the front door to make the gap less…gappy.
to the other mike:
gold stars and certificates of participation for everyone!
To the other Mike – you need to know about the owner that you congratulated for â€˜improving the neighborhoodâ€ with his renovation . I am definitely concerned about historic preservation and did complain about Mr. Ravi Prasad, the owner of 518 N. 25th St.. However, Iâ€™m not narrow minded enough to complain just for the sake of saving old houses.
When you choose sides and congratulate a slumlord for ‘improving’ the neighborhood and label others (me) who complain as the neighborhood ‘busy-bodiesâ€™, you should check the facts so you know who you SHOULD criticize. ‘Busy-bodies’ keep slumlords like Mr. Prasad from hurting our neighborhood. Iâ€™m thinking the ‘background noiseâ€™ that you hear is coming from your neighbors who actually damn about our neighborhood â€“ not just the superficial aesthetic stuff â€“ which is important for creating a vibrant, inclusive healthy and safe community.
I had no complaint about Mr. Prasad (the owner) and put him in touch with David Herring of ACORN to explain the benefits of historic tax credits (not just for the ‘look’ of the neighborhood but also for Mr. Prasadâ€™s bottom line.) After David met with Mr. Prasad he claimed he wanted to apply for historic tax credits. I guess Mr. Prasad felt he could turn a quick-profit on the house and put up vinyl siding. At the same time, I was asked to interview for a job at a local affordable housing organization and was shocked to see Ravi Prasad listed on the Board of Directors. Iâ€™ve become an expert at picking out jack-leg renovation jobs after suffering from the effects of a contractor that cut every possible corner in my house. I stopped by to talk to the contractor to find out if Ravi Prasad had truly hired this clown to work on his house. When the contractor told me to F-off, I started to do research on Mr. Prasad’s company, Om & Om management. I found he owned several nearby properties and walked to the closest one – about 2 blocks away – that was in deplorable condition.
I am not petty enough to bitch about the condition of a building if the owner is unable to maintain the property financial or health reasons. This was NOT the case with Mr. Prasad who clearly had the resources to buy and â€˜fix upâ€™ 518 N. 25th. I assumed that this 2nd property was allowed to be in such bad condition because it was vacant. I realized the property was not vacant when a home-visitation-nurse came out of the front door of the house on 27th St.. We talked and I learned the nurse had a patient inside Mr. Prasadâ€™s house â€“ a severely disabled child and his family were Mr. Prasad’s tenants. I also learned that Mr. Prasad had ignored every request made by the childâ€™s doctors and nurses who determined a working air-conditioning unit was a medical necessity for this child to breathe on his respirator.
I wanted to give Mr. Prasad the benefit of the doubt and find out if the renovation to 518 was intended as a rental or sale to lower-income or disabled residents. If so, I would have apologized for ever complaining about his renovation-job. I was surprised when Mr. Prasad admitted he was only renovating this house for profit – he lives in Chesterfield Co. and obviously does not give a damn about our neighborhood or his tenants.
When you choose sides and congratulate a slumlord for ‘improving’ the neighborhood and label others (me) who complain as the neighborhood ‘busy-bodiesâ€™, you should check the facts. Then youâ€™d know better than to criticize ‘busy-bodies’ for exposing another slumlord like Mr. Prasad who will hopefully think twice before invading another neighborhood. Oh â€“ that â€˜background noiseâ€™ you hear is just your neighbors who give a damn about our neighborhood and the people â€“ poor, wealthy, black, white, educated or not â€“ because we are all affected by the work of types like Mr. Prasad.
Sorry for going off about this â€“ I just really couldnâ€™t take it when you â€˜congratulatedâ€™ that man and hope youâ€™ll think again about praising neighborhood vultures.
Renovating a house for profit? What a horrible thing to do!
“Renovating a house for profit? What a horrible thing to do!”
…and that’s a horrible thing to say.
Why not just say, “Rob an innocent person for profit? What a horrible thing to do!”
Who is the innocent person and how was he robbed?
I just hope potential home buyers realize that if a renovator cuts corners on the obvious things, it’s probably a lot worse inside the walls and places where they can’t see (wiring, plumbing, insulation, weatherproofing, etc.).
Last time I checked the US was a democracy based on capitalism. If you don’t like entrepreneurial spirit then pick up and get out comrades! While some may have fault with Mr. Prasad those issues should be dealt with individually. As far as the house above I hope that it is purchased by a good family and it turns out to be a good home for them…even without the historical character.
rm – love it or leave it? nice discourse, dude. You should relish that folks are using their freedom of speech, if only to talk about Prasad’s cheap ass renovation.
“Last time I checked the US was a democracy…”
Hardly. It’s a thinly-veiled aristocratic oligarchy.
“Who is the innocent person and how was he robbed?”
Jim, you missed your stop on the clue train.
Is that what our little room with a window and closet was? A trunk room? We had a fifth window on the front of our house, it was like a tiny space, we used it for a walk in closet and kept the window for balance.
We also had another tiny room next to the bathroom in the rear, kept that window as well when we enlarged the bathroom. It looks great. Fortunately my contractor talked us into keeping the metal roof (and my roofer confirmed metal is far superior to shingle). Our first contractor wanted to demolish everything, our present one really understood the value of keeping the footprint original.
What are trunk rooms? What time frame were they used in? Our house is 1915.
Victorian houses, generally, did not have closets (at that time real estate taxes were based on the number of rooms you had), so the small room next to front bedroom took up the space over the foyer and was used for storage. Chests and trunks were used to store clothes and personal items. Tall chests were called clothes presses because everything was folded flat. I’ve seen some older houses where there may have been a small cabinet/closet next to the fireplace in that area where it juts out into the room. There were just hooks on the wall to hang a few items. People didn’t have many clothes back in those days. One set for work, one for around the house and one to go to church or for their burial!
“itâ€™s probably a lot worse inside the walls and places where they canâ€™t see (wiring, plumbing, insulation, weatherproofing, etc.)”
Yup. Got lots o neighbors with lots o stories on that particlar subject.
I took pics today between 21st and 31st Marshall and Clay today. I saw this and really didn’t like it. I don’t like when houses with thre bays has one or two covered. It’s almost like putting an eyepatch over a window. If it’s a bathroom, they could have left the window. They could have even created a false window just to keep the architectural harmony. If I could meet the people who did that, I’d tell them go back and correct it.
As a contractor I get most of my work through home repairs in the West End. Currently I am repairing vinyl siding on a two year old, 400,000+ home off south Gaskins. The owner is sueing the builder for a cracked sinking (due to a sink hole) driveway, crooked brick steps, a crack in his bedroom ceiling that opens and closes with the seasons, etc. I am also working in Wyndham west of Short Pump in another 400,000+ home less than ten years old that among other things also has a crack in the bedroom wall that comes and goes with the seasons. Finding a good home is like finding a good spouse. Count yourself lucky if you found one. My century old has cracks as well, but they are hard earned and go well with the ten layers of paint. I am just glad I don’t live where Mr Shuffles lived.
Well, it looks better than it did, but what a disappointment!! The missing third window makes me cringe!!!
I noticed a lot of people have mentioned cutting corners such as (wiring, plumbing, insulation, weatherproofing, etc), which leads me to the question what permits were pulled on this property? This is all public information. My guess would be that a propert in such bad initial condition would have been completely gutted, rewired plumbed, insulated etc. I agree the property would look nicer and would be more valuable with the third window, but how does the lack of window lead to the conclusion that all of the work was shotty.
You don’t have to get a permit for siding or reroofing. You can only if u want. Only the city records know if any permits were even issued.
Three houses away from me is an owner doing a total renovation with an addition and I don’t see any permits posted. I’d bet a coffee he hasn’t pulled a single one. Welcome to the Hill. Capitalism running wild.
Actually the owner did get a permit. Building permit, plus various others such as electrical and plumbing. You can search for permits on the city site here.
Click ‘search existing permits’ and fill in the address or other info. Interestingly, I saw where they flunked the framing inspection and I didn’t notice where it was passed at a later date but maybe I missed that.
I happened to drive by this house on Saturday and frankly I think it looks awful, but that’s my personal opinion. Maybe someone from somewhere else will think it looks great and buy it. My personal opinion, again, is that Mr. Prasad was out to make money on the area with no regard for historic preservation…like a lot of other people seem to have been trying to do lately, witness some of the truly ugly infill that has gone up in the area over the last few years.
Bello, you might want to check and see if your neighbor has actually applied for (and not posted) any permits.
Celeste, isn’t it funny how the developers with mean$ are the ones who engage in the most egregious acts of inappropriate infill and “renovations”.
Personally, I think the house looked better BEFORE the recent work. It was an intact 19th century structure with its original chimney, three 2nd story windows and a decent roof (probably it’s 2nd) intact.
I don’t care if the damn paint was peeling. At least it hadn’t been marched off to slaughter. Now, that it’s been butchered, it sets an example for why City Old and Historic District are good things for the community.
Celeste, thank you for the link to look up building permits online I found this very informative. In regards to a failed framing inspection, the contractor has to pass a framing inspection before the city allows for an insulation inspection, which I see was performed and passed.
Wow. I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, not to worry gentle commenters, I have a solution to all your Prasad-slumlord-historic preservation ailments: when you see that something needs to be done, & done right….Do It Yourself & BUY THE DELAPITATED HOUSES. That will surely ease your angst but probably make you a little less popular in your Marxist fanclub.
Not so easy – I tried buying this house 10 years ago and the owner/realtor would not respond to any phone calls or letters from myself or my realtor. It’s ten times more frustrating for me to see this type of work done when I know I would have done a better job both outside and in.
Garrett, I’m only taking partial credit for the link – I don’t know how to post a link on here, so I cut and pasted it with a side comment about not knowing how to make it ‘live.’ Thanks to John Murden who edited my post and made the link live!
Thanks, Garrett, also for the info about the inspection process re. framing and insulation – I didn’t know that.
Kathryn B – wow, that would be really frustrating, to have tried to buy it and see how it is now. Sorry about that.
UnionHill RVA – generally I’d applaud a renovation but in this case, I agree with you. Even boarded up, at least it still retained the original configuration.
CMT, I don’t follow your reasoning…how would our being able to buy every dilapidated house make us LESS popular with what you call our “Marxist fanclub?”
Since when did historic preservation become the opiate of the masses?
Are you suggesting that we wouldn’t restore these properties for either Fed/State Tax Credits or to CAR exterior standards?
I think you’re reading the detractors of this botched renovation all wrong. I’m a capitalist. Both my Economics 101 and 102 classes were taught by real-life Marxist professors. Historic preservation isn’t covered in Das Capital.
I think Mr. Engels & Mr. Marx would have been ok with what we’re doing in Church Hill. It’s the PEOPLE who voted for a Zoning Overlay to create a Old & Historic District…NOT a bunch of “capitalist developers”. The workers rose up and said “we want this”.
Kathryn B is not alone in her one-sided negotiations with realtors and property owners of down-and-out-buildings. Sometimes, you can’t buy em no mater how hard you try.
Owners will hold a vacant/run-down building for years waiting for it to appreciate to the dollar value they’re looking for (look for more of this in the current market.)
But of course, this is a free, open market economy, and Mr. Prasad, submitted his building applications before the new O&H took effect. So, technically, he’s done nothing wrong.
The rest of us are, however, entitled to our opinion regarding his quality of work and architectural integrity.
Now if only we could buy more of those run-down houses!
Marxist economics professors? Marxist economics professors??? That helps explain some things. Look, I understand how difficult it can be working with property owners & the other sometimes effervascent obstacles when you’re trying to do the right thing, BUT, it must be then Remarkable that old Mr. Prasad was able to ‘buy em’ when someone else was not. ? Secondly, my point is very simple and, unlike my snarky former comment, with out bias: if you want something to go a certain way (historic preservation, land conservation, etc.) buy it yourself or with a group of like-minded people. In this country, we have private property laws, so that is the best (& easiest, & fastest) way to keep your mission going, a la the Sierra Club. I would be completely in favor of a Church Hill cooperative that bought these old houses privately, together, & restored them the right way….I happen to think the new house looks like crap too.
Very much off topic but related to housing: can someone please decipher OWPLC seen in many Richmond rental ads? I have lived in cities from NY to Montreal, Toronto and DC and have never seen it before.
It stands for Old World Properties, the company that rents those particular properties. The LC would be what, Leasing Company? I dunno.
thanks Anne, cross checked the phone numbers and indeed it is Old World Properties. Awesome help! Appreciate!
BTW – the previous owner, Tyler Greenan, lives SOB in Church Hill. perhaps Mr. Greenan will tell us why he sold this house to Mr. Prasad and not to others who offered to buy 518 n 25th. he sold the place for $80K.
Another de-windowed house:
I wonder what sort of fire code *that* falls under? I know a bedroom has to have a closet, but it seems like it needs an egress, too. Maybe everyone will keep an axe next to the bed so they can get out if there’s a fire.
Is this place equipped with grow lights and plant material? What a hideous mess.
I have to admit that I am surprised about the amount of human energy spent on this particular topic. As some of you have eluded to, I also believe that action is the best solution. I agree that the house looks hideous without the window. As a licensed, insured, and legitimate contractor, I am willing to put the window back in this property at cost to whomever is the new owner. Then we can all go about using our energy for more proactive endeavors.
i have to apologize for little zookeeper. he/she doesn’t seem to realize that blogs such as this are a form of action. the beginning of action, even. we can’t all be out on the streets adding windows to windowless buildings. some of us need to talk it out sometimes, get a feel for what the neighborhood needs, etc. sure, there is a lot of talk, but eventually talk leads to action. do you go around to every single blog in the world and ask each one “why are you guys just sitting around when you can be doing something?” we appreciate your zeal and passion, zookeeper, but keep it in perspective.
also, mary anne is the kind of neighbor everyone needs! what a firecracker!
dear daddy, i am grateful that you have put me in my place. Sorry that it seems that condescention is the language of the day. actions speak much louder than words and words only lead to action if those words are able to inspire. just seeking to be the change we want to see as i am one of those people right now attempting to buy another run-down house in our neighborhood in order to help bring about the change i want to see
Say I am also talking out of both sides of my mouth but for anyone here who has seen my posts elsewhere about being “accurate”, this house at a passing glance looks nice but if you sit and study it, is all wrong. It does need that 3rd window for balance and whatever interior alterations done could have been planed out by a professional designer to allow changes and save the window. Siding should be of “original” materials hence WOOD, not plastic siding. I can’t complain about the shingled roof as I am sure Victorian houses didn’t all come with metal roofs but many with wood shingles and even slate or ceramic. The roof looks fine to me but a cheap way to go.
Unfortunately people coming in to turn a quick buck has placed many awkward house renovations in our areas but hopefully with various associations now in place, can be stopped and contractors issued stop orders which try to demolish or build without permits!
As far as accuracy, I am sure there are photos that can be looked up at the valentine or Richmond Historical to see what that or a similar house looked like when built to make it correct.
And before anyone jumps in about a house being a “museum”, if you buy a historical house it is a museum of sorts. You wouldn’t buy a 1965 Mustang and slap on a 1965 Mercury Comet fender on it because it fits and is functional. And it sure wouldn’t win you any points in show competitions. BUT you should keep in mind that wiring, plumbing, and heating should all be updated. If you wish to keep lighting and fixtures looking original, there are various replicator catalog houses that make new old style items for replacement.
The other house with the missing front windows and slant porch roof looks like a saloon from the wild west instead of a house. Just slap a sign over the porch advertising it! Unfortunately I have seen another like this on 27th Street in the 500 block. What are these people thinking with these ugly porch roofs and altering windows? And believe was done “after” the North Church Hill association was formed but not absolutely certain. Can check.
If the reno passes code as well as any requirements of any association or historic district… then leave it alone! By law and code… the owner’s work was in compliance!
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