We’re extremely excited that the renovation of the historic Canal Street “Mule House” is complete – with stunning results.
We started this amazing project last summer when approached by Mule House LLC. The owner Alex Alperstein who bought the property in 2014 wanted the existing structure gutted and completely renovated. That included a tear down of the dilapidated addition on the back of the house and the addition of a new, two-story addition on the rear of the row house.
The Mule House has been a historic mainstay in the Washington, D.C., area since in the mid-1800s. As the story goes, the C&O Canal barge would haul limestone, coal, whiskey, wood, sand and flours and even munitions between Ohio and Washington, D.C. Mules would pull the barge up and down the canal. The house was where the mules apparently lived. The National Park Service had been maintaining the barge and used it as a tourist attraction until a few years ago. The so-called Mule House fell into disrepair.
It was important to find ways to artfully blend the old sensibilities of the Georgetown structure with the new design. We worked in collaboration with Christian ZAPATKA architects who took the lead in designing the space. We held weekly meetings with the owners to review design and construction details.
We knew a home like this has to be a well thought out project. Once we took out what we needed to, we evaluated the materials we had and wanted to see how we could reincorporate them into the Mule house renovation.
The front facade needed to be cleaned up. We did this without ruining the style, charm and grace of Canal Street. The interiors were in extremely bad shape. We preserved what we could of the existing structure and used as much of the materials – wood, brick, stone- to keep let people know the age of the house, but still gave a modern and fresh feel to the home.
All of the wood beams you see come from the house. The oak hewn beams were taken out of various parts of the house during demolition. We were able to clean them up by sanding and wire brushing them.
The windows on the front of the home were refurbished. We also took the necessary steps to make sure all of the mechanical electrical plumbing (MEP) of the house were new and installed properly. We want people to feel the history and age of the structure without sacrificing the functionality and efficiency of a new home.
One of the most interesting design features is the exposed granite wall that transitions to brick. You don’t see this very often. We installed lights in the floor that accent this feature, making for a very dramatic entrance.
A key aspect of renovating properties with historical significance is trying to maintain the beauty and historical value of the neighborhood. The neighbors were a great part of this project. They were so happy this property was being redeveloped. It was in such bad shape and poorly maintained.
By us coming in and cleaning Mule House up not only made the neighbors happy but will also be a beginning step to revitalize the canal. The homeowner sought out every neighbor to keep them informed on our project and progress. Jeffco was always happy to walk them through to see the progress. The neighbors are happy to see the property enjoyed by someone and not left in disarray.
This property was featured in Curbed DC. Click here to view the article.
Interested in learning more about the Canal Street project? Read Urban Turf’s article.
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For more on Jeffco Development projects, visit our website at www.jeffcodev.com