SL 18-085


4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW
United States

D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Single-family residence
Additions to convert to two-family residence
Review Type
Previous Review


Dear Ms. Gonzalez:

In its meeting of 17 May, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept design for the proposed renovation of and additions to an existing single-family residence at 4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW, to convert it to a two-unit residence (case number SL 18-085). While expressing general support for the idea of expanding the house, the Commission did not take an action and made several recommendations for further development of the concept design.

The Commission members observed that the existing one-story, detached ranch-style house is an anomaly in this neighborhood of historic row houses, and they said that its conversion into two semi-detached three-story houses could fit well into the context. Accordingly, they recommended that the configuration of the two units be more strongly expressed on the exterior to relate better to the scale of the existing row houses and to avoid the appearance of a single large house or multi-unit building. They cited the example of the row houses across Arkansas Avenue, which combine vertical and horizontal elements with articulated massing to create a pleasing scale for the individual houses and for the row, and they recommended that similar techniques be explored for the proposed design. They recommended that the proposed layering of three cladding materials be used strategically in the articulation of the facades both to define the separate units and to link them as one building; they requested more information about the appearance of the proposed materials. They cautioned that retaining the brick exterior walls of the existing house presents a challenge for defining two separate dwelling units, and they suggested further study of how to develop the separate identities of the unit entrances. In addition, they requested accurate drawings—both perspective renderings and site sections that extend across the street—showing the existing house and its proposed expanded condition, within the built and natural context.

The Commission looks forward to further review of this project. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the development of the design.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Rocio Gonzalez
4101 Arkansas Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20011