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One thing I’ve noticed after a couple years of watching neighborhood blogs and listservs: Few architectural features generate more ire than “pop-ups,” as the additions of one floor atop a rowhouse are colloquially known. They’re a great way to maximize space in constrained circumstances, capitalizing on natural light and perhaps allowing a homeowner to stick around rather than light out for the suburbs in search of a third bedroom. But they sure can get ugly, when siding doesn’t match the original house, or when the addition interrupts a harmonious block. At the moment, the District’s zoning code doesn’t address pop-ups, and in at least one neighborhood—-Barney Circle, east of Capitol Hill—-residents tried to pass an historic district in large part to fill the gap.

I’d like to more fully explore the phenomenon of pop-ups and the discussions that happen around them. If you’ve got one you’re proud of, or can’t stand a neighbor’s, or have any other observations to share, please get in touch.

Photo by Lydia DePillis