Two years ago (almost to the day), Steven and I moved into our very first home. It was a wildly inexpensive rowhouse that hadn’t been renovated since the 1960s (the 1920s in the case of the bathroom), facing a beautiful park, that basically had no yard and a whole host of problems. It was also situated right smack dab in the middle of what is currently considered one of the top 5-worst neighborhoods in the country (to be fair, they base it off of zip-codes, which as anyone who lives/d in a city knows is an inaccurate basis of determining neighborhoods, as neighborhoods shift with blocks, not zipcodes).
We loved it. We spent most of our free-time renovating it, repaired every piece of plumbing, the entire kitchen and bathroom and grew a high-producing garden in the tiny backyard. It was our hobby, but it was also something we had worked very hard for and were so thrilled to be able to achieve at a relatively young age.
What we didn’t like about the house is plenty, but the thing that killed our love affair was our commutes. I worked 50 miles away and Steven worked 30 miles away. We were spending hours upon hours driving each day and weren’t capable of enjoying the home that we had built. We weren’t capable of enjoying anything. Anyone who has had an “Extreme Commute” understands that a 2-hour one-way drive is debilitating. It sucks all the energy out of you and makes you a useless blob by the time you get home. And we had been doing it for 5 years in total.
After much deliberation, we decided to do the unthinkable and rent out our house and move from our beloved, quirky Baltimore to Washington D.C. (or as close as two-2o-somethings can move and still afford home-ownership). For the record, despite living in the Washington Metro Area for most of our lives, and working in or near the district for much of our professional lives, we’ve never wanted to move here. We can be annoying, arrogant and pretentious people (hey, it’s not like we don’t know our own faults), but we don’t generally like other annoying, arrogant and pretentious people. We appreciate the history and the culture of D.C., but we like our cities less..clean and fussy.
Nevertheless, 5 years of commuting into the District made it pretty clear that we weren’t escaping any time soon. So, we started looking for new places to live. By happenstance, we met a realtor who was showing a house in a rather crappy part of D.C. and he flat out said “this isn’t the place for you, go look at Mt Rainier”.
It wasn’t too far from where we were, so we drove out there and immediately fell in love. It was small, filled with nature, old houses and oh so very artsy. The only restaurant was a vegan soul-food restaurant (a combination my husband loves beyond words) and there is an organic co-op next door that sells all the great, veg*n food we love (within a 5 minute walk!). It is also one of the remaining neighborhoods within the beltway that you can buy a house at a reasonable (and I mean Baltimore cheap) price.
It took several months of searching, saving and dealing with possibly the World’s Worst Bank, but we just closed on a house there. It has almost a quarter acre corner lot, is close to the “city center”, and is completely renovated. I’m not a huge fan of “flipped” houses, but Steven very much wanted something that was less of a project, and this house was done particularly well. The best part? It is only 5 miles from my work, a straight shot down a singular road, and we are so close to D.C. that if you step into the road behind the house you are in D.C..
Steven’s hope that it wouldn’t be too much of a project was probably a pipedream. While it may have had the important things done already, it is currently a beige box. A terribeige box. So much beige, that I have beige rage. And the outside is in desperate need of love. It’s very barren, and while we have our chicken coop set-up now, that’s about it.
I hope to actually write more, and post up projects. I love this house and want to share the progress, as well as continue to post recipes (and boy do I have a bunch, and I’ll even be able to cook again now that I have free time!). Here’s hoping. Worst case, I’ll “slow blog”. That’s a thing now? Right?