a first real adult home

A few months ago, after we had just moved down to DC and were starting to search for a place to buy and both D and I had been casually looking at real estate listings (via the absurdly addictive RedFin app) in our downtime and popping in and out of open houses to check out what different neighborhoods were like and what the options were in our budget. We had a pretty clear idea of what our needs and wants were, and for the most part we totally agreed. We wanted a little bit of outdoor space, which living in the city, can be so important. Our last two apartments had been around 1,000 square feet, and it did not seem practical to live in anything smaller. I wanted a bathtub. We wanted maybe a small second bedroom and also maybe a powder room. And then I saw it. The perfect place that checked none of the above boxes. I think my rambling email to our realtor says it all:

Hi G! Over the last several weekends, D and I have popped into several open houses trying to get a better sense of what is available and what certain neighborhoods are like. I know we’ll talk over this all when we meet, but in the meantime, I am kind of loosing sleep over a place we saw and I am wondering if you think it is worth us considering putting an offer together.

I went and saw this place on Saturday on my own and again on Monday with D. I don’t know if it is because so many of the condos/co-ops I've seen here in DC totally lack character, but I love the old creaky floors and windows, the galley kitchen, the layout of the rooms, the overall size and location of the building. The entire place and apartment reminds us of New York, which of course, we love. BUT it doesn't have *everything* we want (no parking, no outdoor space, no in-unit laundry). However, I feel like we would have to do very little work on it and it could be almost perfect.

I think the reason I am unable to get it out of my head is because I have seen so many places and they all seem to have had the character ripped out of them, or in some cases, it was never there to begin with. A lot of white boxes that have either builder-grade materials or worse yet, "updated" kitchens and bathrooms installed in haste with cheap materials by wannabe house flippers. I know we could probably find a place that would check all, or most of, our boxes, but could very likely not “feel” right, as this one does.

One other thought that has us coming back to this is that a lot of the places we’ve looked at we would want/need to put in significant work/money and might be in neighborhoods that are a bit more up-and-coming …. this seems a stable neighborhood and the place wouldn't need a lot of work, which could perhaps make it a investment as likely we will be growing out of whatever we end up in in a few years and don’t want to sink a ton of money into something that doesn’t have time to appreciate.

So with all my rambling I guess I am trying to ask, do you think this place seems unique and special and worth putting an offer in on? 

  A view from the front entrance of our new condo. It looks much cheerier now that the planters are filled and the shrubbery is not brown. See below for more pictures from my first visit to the space. Apologies in advance for the crappy iPhone images!

A view from the front entrance of our new condo. It looks much cheerier now that the planters are filled and the shrubbery is not brown. See below for more pictures from my first visit to the space. Apologies in advance for the crappy iPhone images!

Less than one month later, after a whirlwind of offers, counter offers, inspections, condo docs, severing of rental agreements, moving (not to mention D's brother’s destination wedding), we were in.

Nearly four months on, as I look back on this email that I frantically sent off to our relator, I could not feel more certain that despite all its quirks and all the things that it doesn’t have, this space is truly for us. And as we work on putting it together I look forward to sharing the process here. I so love the bones of the place and I am incredibly appreciative to the work the former homeowner (an interior designer) put into it, but it is important that it feels like us and functions correctly for us. And for better or worse, I get intensely hung up on details, which means I agonize over decisions and fall down the rabbit hole of looking for the perfect piece. But I think it is worth it. I’ve made mistakes in the past, buying on a whim (and to be certain I will make them again), and for both our sanities and the sake of our bank accounts, decisions need to be well considered.

One lesson I learned years ago when it came to fashion, but took a little bit longer for me to figure out when it comes to decoration (particularly for a space I live in), is that things I like in theory or in a certain situation, I don’t necessarily like on me (in the case of clothing) or in my home. I do not believe (at least not when you have a 712 square foot home) that old saying, “buy what you love and you’ll find a place for it.”

I think things need need to be far more considered. I might love something—say a bold antique suzani textile—but I know that if I bring it into our little jewel box of a space, this one 4’x6’ piece of fabric will dominate all other decisions that have to be made.

So… yeah … decisions will not be coming quickly. But that just means more for me to obsess about and write about here. Even if no one is reading or listening, I’ve always been the kind of person who works things out by writing them down. Pictures below of the space when I went to the open house. Despite the wacky paint colors and terrible iPhone photo and lighting, I hope you can see what charmed us!