A Small, yet Striking Transformation in Lafayette Square (2011 Park)

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Typically this blog focuses on “total rehabs” of once-vacant and damaged buildings–if not new construction. Yet often it’s the smaller details that make neighborhoods shine. Take for example a restoration of a historic mansard roof in Lafayette Square at 2011 Park Avenue.

Below is a “before” picture (circa July 2011) from Google Streetview showing a three-story historic building with a somewhat odd third story transition:


The building’s French-styled mansard roof had been lost at some point in history. Fast forward to May 2014 and the mansard roof is reborn (at a cost of $75,000, per city building permit records):


While it’s hard to label the restoration of an ornate roof line as a “subtle” change, on a neighborhood level, it is just that. This small change clearly adds a disproportionately large amount of character to an already architecturally-rich neighborhood.

Click here for a map of the area.


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  • opendorz

    Big improvement. Now if we could do something about the cobra head light standards in this glorious neighborhood.

  • Frank A

    Kudos to the owner for making a sincere, admirable attempt to improve it. The surrounding neighbors will all benefit from the new look.

  • Mike F

    I like it. I doubt that it is not accurately representative of what would have been there, as the homeowners, the architect, the contractors and the LSRC likely wouldn’t have approved the plans if it were not a reasonable facsimile of historic styles. It must have been fun to do the research on this, too.

    Love all of the copper details, the iron fencing along the parapet, the cornice work. It really brings this house to a state which compares most favorably to its contemporaries in the neighborhood. (Matter of fact it puts some of them to shame. Having said that, maintaining and upgrading some of these mansions and townhouses is a pricey proposition, so it’s understandable if other historic houses in the nabe don’t quite compare now. Although it is good to see that the neighborhood can support 75000USD of what are mostly cosmetic improvements. Here in Dutchtown, that kind of scratch could buy you three houses for cash. That’s also 20000USD more than my wife and I paid for our 1912, 1000 sq. ft. house.)

  • Matthew Mourning

    If you look on the 1875 Compton and Dry Atlas, a building with an extremely pronounced, rounded mansard is visible just west of Park and Mississippi. This elongated mansard is likely historic in nature, which is probably the only reason the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee approved it in the first place.

  • Imran

    Couldn’t help but play with the proportions. Guess I am a nitpicker 🙂

    • Adam

      agreed. but i’ll take it anyway.

  • I might be inclined to file this in the “bad mansard” category. They’ve obviously just duplicated the traditional shingles as a vertical cladding. And only on one side!

    Still looks better than before though, and only really obvious when compared to the previous build-up it’s disguising.

    • Mike F

      Actually, if you click on the large after picture, it comes up large enough after zooming to show that the shingles are either real slate (not likely, as most of the good slate has been mined out), or a plastic reproduction. Note the texture mimicking the surface of real slate.

  • Imran

    Its a little too tall. Otherwise, great attention to detail and a vast improvement on what was there. Go Lafayette Square!

  • T-Leb

    The neighborhood was going to hell until this just saved it! Rejoice!