We Made A Move

This time, it was our turn; we’ve moved! Not to a new house, however — that part we’ve reserved for our clients. Marcie and I joined Compass, an exciting, technology-driven firm that brings the best of all real estate worlds together.

Amazing support for us agents ultimately means we can create a great experience for our clients: better communication with our buyers, stunning marketing campaigns for our sellers’ properties, reliable transaction management. We’re looking forward to serving you!

Please stop by anytime (well, almost any time) to chat about your real estate goals and dreams. We’re looking forward to serving you!

Perceptively Perfect: Aladdin Pomona Addition In AU Park

Kit House of the Week 3/11/2016

Aladdin kit house addition, awesome architect
Aladdin addition done right: Continuing the natural line of the roof, even the new garage, entry hall, expanded porch and second floor spaces look like they have always been there.

Facts & Figures:

Manufacturer: Aladdin Co. of Bay City, MI

Model Number or Name: The Pomona

Year Built: 1921

Neighborhood: AU Park, DC

Authenticated:  We’re working on it (as of 3/16) and are hoping to obtain the original purchase/shipping receipt soon. Aladdin sold only a handful of homes to DC developers and owners each year in the 1910s and early 1920s.

Scroll down or click for original catalog image or description and floor plan of the Aladdin “Pomona” (image scans courtesy of Aladdin archives/Clarke research library). Click here for interior pre-addition photos from 2009 (courtesy of MRIS).

House History

Picture book example: The AU Park Aladdin Pomona in 2009, before its expansion
Picture book example: The AU Park Aladdin Pomona in 2009, before its expansion (Photo: MRIS)

In both this blog and on DC house Cat, Marcie and I have frequently bemoaned the many destroy-renovations of historic kit houses we come across. We see them all the time, usually in quick flip listings or “re-muddeling” efforts that go back to the 1970s or 80s when charming was considered dated.

Today, rather than going into the deep history of this American University Park mail-order home, we want to show how the contemporary expansion of a hundred year old home can be done beautifully and with respect.  A lovely neighbor believes the name of the architect is Brady. (We have tried to get in touch with the owners and will update the post once we hear from them.) However, the pictures speak for themselves.

Artists rendition of the "Pomona" as pictured in the 1922 Aladdin catalog (image courtesy of Clarke research library)
Artists rendition of the “Pomona” as pictured in the 1922 Aladdin catalog (image courtesy of Clarke research library)
Aladdin kit house addition, awesome architect
Aladdin addition done right: Continuing the natural line of the roof, even the new garage, entry hall and expanded porch and second floor spaces look like they have always been there.
Aladdin mail-order home in AU Park, Washington DC
With shingled siding, characteristic eaves brackets and muntined casement windows, the addition picks up many of the original architectural details
Awesome addition on historic house in Washington DC
Even from the back, the 2-story addition is a masterly example for how it’s possible to blend in and maintain the integrity of the original architecture. Yet it’s clearly made for the 21st century. Note the solar panels on the roof.
Aladdin kit house in Washington DC
Barely a hint from the street: the addition maintains the visual appearance and is sensitive to the original dimension and character
Aladdin kit house in Washington DC
The “Pomona” was offered in two versions: either as a 2-bedroom model, or — at the cost of living room size — with 3 bedrooms. (Image courtesy of Aladdin archive/Clarke research library)

*Catalog images provided courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library.


Are you Interested in Kit House History? We can help!

Cati and Marcie are Realtors by day and house history enthusiasts by night. We specialize in NW DC and close-in Montgomery County, MD, but cover the entire Washington metropolitan area. House History–the hidden stories behind the walls of the homes we sell or walk by every day–has long been a passion of ours (In fact, for Cati, a former journalist, it was what ultimately brought her to the world of DC real estate).

We have written about many house-stories in our individual blogs over the years, and we sometimes have surprised (and delighted!) clients with our research findings. When the time allows, we love digging in archives, city records and historic collections. What we find, is sometimes funny, sad or scary, but it’s always a part of the DC area’s story as well. And when it comes to history of any kind, there could not be a better place for that than the metropolitan area of the Nation’s Capital!

If you have followed us for even a short while, you probably know that one of our special interests are the mail-order homes of the early 20th century. In many Washington, DC, neighborhoods and in the city’s older suburbs, we can find an abundance of those historic kit houses. (More often than not, the owners have no idea that some 90 or 100 years ago, their house arrived neatly packaged on a railroad car, in thousands of numbered pieces.)

You can learn more about catalog homes here, “like” our Facebook page for updates or email or tweet us with questions or suggestions for houses to write about.

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Rock Creek Forest Update 10/21

It’s been a month since my last update. Once more, there simply wasn’t a whole lot to report when it came to new homes hitting the market. Talk about low inventory — right now, we don’t have a single active listing in Rock Creek Forest!

Mid-Century modern home in Rock Creek Forest, Chevy Chase, MD
Tucked away on a cul-de-sac and unassuming from the street, the house has dramatic views of the Park and received 5 offers after the first weekend

Thus, it will not come as a surprise that the only new listing, a mid-century modern house with walls of glass on two floors and surprising views of Rock Creek Park, sold immediately. According to the listing agent, the sellers received 5 offers, so it would be safe to assume the price might have escalated over the asking price of $699. We’ll see.


  • the (equally well-priced) split level at 8103 Meadowbrook Lane, after only 11 days on the market.
  • the rambler at 2107 Ross Rd (after 24 days)
  • the expanded colonial at 2635 Colston Rd (after 44 days and one price reduction)

HOMES THAT CLOSED during the past month:

  • 2210 Mark Ct on the Silver Spring side, for $551,000 ($17,000 above the asking price)
  • 2317 PEGGY LN, SILVER SPRING, MD 20910, Seller Subsidy:$10000.0, Close Price:  $539,500 (original price), 11 DOM; split level, lot 7,937 sf


  • After 61 days, the townhouse at 2002 Derby Ridge Ln, down from $47,000 to $465,000, was taken off the market
  • 2808 East West Highway, a pre-approved short sale ($539,000) with some beautiful updates and features, had a 2-month contract fall through just as the lender was about to give it the seal of approval. The buyers had an inexplicable change of heart. Rumor has it that the sellers have decided to hold on to the house, rather than putting it back on the market.
MCM Contemporary in Rock Creek Forest
Tucked away with great views of Rock Creek Park

That would be it for now. While there isn’t anything available right now, the contracts re still contingent, and you can always check here for any active MLS listings for Rock Creek Forest that might come up. To see what has closed in RCF this year so far, click here.

Or stay tuned for the next update! (If you are generally interested in buying a home in RCF or another neighborhood, click here.)



9/21 Rock Creek Forest Weekend Update

RCF homesHere’s the short of it: No new listings in the Rock Creek Forest neighborhood since last week. No new contracts. No closings. What can I say? The pickings are slim, the weather promises to be gorgeous on this first fall weekend. So, perhaps you’d like to take another look at the homes below that are still on the market (go back to older posts for descriptions, or look at the active MLS listings for Rock Creek Forest). Interest rates are still at an all-time low, and all of the homes, except for Ross Rd, will be open on Sunday!

2002 DERBY RIDGE LN #4 $476,000
2635 COLSTON DR $699,888
8103 MEADOWBROOK LN $575,000
2701 ROSS RD $499,900

Should You Get Your House Officially Appraised Before Putting It On The Market?

Cati Bannier Washington Post blogIn the hot market seven or eight years ago, pricing was rarely an issue. Multiple offers (and the escalation clauses that came with them) would take care of getting the price where it should be.

Not so now. Read my latest piece for the Washington Post real estate blog here.