After contemplating the ideas of moving down south to build a house on a lake, or pack up everything and make a life Berlin, we’ve finally settled on where we want to spend the rest of our lives. Surprising no one, it looks like we’ll be staying in Virginia for the rest of our (foreseeable) future!
Let’s rewind a little bit. Dan and I moved in together a couple years ago into a charming townhome in the center of Old Town Alexandria. I’ve lived in Old Town for seven years and absolutely love the cobbled alleyways and bustling King Street. There is always something happening in this sweet city and I’m eager to be a part of it! Plus, there are a million photo ops of all the historical row houses in brightly painted colors and the blossoming gardens on every corner. Needless to say, my time in Old Town was everything one would dream it to be. Being walking distance to our favorite sushi joint had its perks, too.
However, our tiny 850 square foot townhouse was beginning to feel particularly small. With limited storage and no extra space for *things*, we slowly starting toying around with the idea of moving. We both agreed immediately that moving is the ~worst~ and our next move would be our last…at least for our working years. It was a comforting decision to have, but also left us pondering a bigger move across state lines, or the big pond. After all, this might be the only time we can make a change this large.
And, welp, we settled on exactly ten miles north of where we are now in Arlington, Virginia. Turns out, we absolutely love the friends and family we have here and can’t imagine entering this next phase of life having to start over. Could it be done? Sure. But our people are pretty top notch and we weren’t up for risking it. Besides, while we hope to stay in this home for many years to come, we’re open to unexpected adventures that might pop up along the way.
We started a casual house hunting search in the beginning of this year to narrow down neighborhoods we liked that met our criteria: yard (cause #somanydogs), basement, space, parking and good schools…that hopefully all our dogs are smart enough to get into. We were paired up with an awesome realtor our friends referred to us and began looking more seriously in February. Yet, the more we looked, the more we realized what we wanted didn’t seem to exist. It was either way over budget but in our target neighborhood, or a gorgeous house and in a less-than-stellar area. Without any options, we forged on after probably one or two meltdowns (or like, seven).
On one of our mornings in-between open houses, our realtor pulled in front of a house that had a For Sale signing hanging out front but hadn’t been listed. Turns out, it was taken off the market last year and wouldn’t go back on until spring. After begging and pleading with the realtor, we were able to go in and check it out.
The house had been abandoned for a few years and the wear and tear was showing. In fact, it had only one owner since it was built in 1962…which was easily noticed given the state of the kitchen and downstairs. We walked through the house and loved that it backed up to a park and had *gasp* a two car garage *(which is unheard of in Arlington). It was walking distance to bustling town centers with great schools and, best of all, we were smack dab in-between some of our closest friends. Win! But, the house. Old and in various states of disrepair made it a no-go me. Yet, luckily, Dan was born with a Joanna-and-Chip-Gainnes level of renovation vision and became set on this property. I trusted him, for the most part, and with some slight persuading of a large master closet and a minimalist kitchen of my dreams, I agreed to put in an offer.
It took weeks of back-and-forth with the heirs of the property to settle as the original owner had passed away a couple of years earlier. Finally, we reached an agreement and closed on the house on April 16th (2018..for when I read this years later). Now, not only did we buy a house, but we have dubbed ourselves as committed renovators with so, so many projects in our future. We’re bringing in contractors to do the major stuff like the kitchen, bathrooms, new closest and flooring, but Dan’s handiness is sure about to shine. We’re looking at a 10-12 week renovation period during which we’ll be staying in our current townhome to make life as easy as possible.
Overall, we are unbelievably excited. Even the perfect houses we looked at had things we wanted to change but would have never been able to afford. This way, we’re given a blank slate and get to build our vision from the ground up. We’re thinking beautiful natural light-filled spaces and minimalist design with rustic touches. My Pinterest board is overflowing and I should probably just get a job at WayFair.
As for this little site here, we have no plans to settle down on our traveling ventures. Namastay Traveling will continue to remain a source of travel guides with adventure and yoga musings. I’ll be stopping in here once in awhile to give house updates but I wanted to create a separate place designated for all-things-house-and-renovations. So! I’m so excited to share with you a new instagram account where there will be loads of DIY projects and before and afters of our new digs. Please please please check it out here. I’m always looking to connect with you all! You can also search for @thehousetohomeproject on the insta.
This is our biggest venture yet and I hope you follow us along for the ride…we’ll need all the insights we can get. On top of a wedding in August, we’re only feeling minerly swamped with life (HAHAHA. AHH). Cheers to new adventures, in whatever form they may be!
Would you rather own property or rent? Homeowners, what was the biggest hurdle you faced when buying a house?
Juliette (and Dan!)