Monday, March 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities: Part A - Housing

In 2006, we moved into our house in the 'burbs.  We picked the lot, situated in what was once a very fine cow pasture, because of its flat terrain, spacious yard and placement in a cul-de-sac.  It's a cookie-cutter kind of house - we were able to pick from a handful of blueprints and front elevations, then arrange a few things inside to our liking, and of the three houses that we've owned since we got married 10 years ago, it is our favorite.  It is larger than our first, smaller than our second, cozier and warmer than either one.

We live in an area where housing prices are reasonable, so you get a lot of house for the money, really. 


That's ours, there on the left.  We have a lovely, north-facing front porch with rocking chairs,  a couple of decks out back and a two car garage.

Our urban house in the DC area is quite different.  It's a townhouse, built in the 30s, but nicely renovated and in excellent condition.  It sits on a quiet residential street with no through traffic.  It is around 1000 square feet, which makes it about 1600 square feet smaller than our suburban house.  If we were to buy something like this, it would cost more than double what we paid for ours.

Arlington house

It doesn't feel small, though.  It has good light, open spaces and a gorgeous kitchen.  There's a small but nice fenced backyard with a beautiful, two-level, slate patio and it's currently filled to the brim with daffodils and other spring bulbs.

Coincidentally, the front of this house also faces north.

One of the first things that I've noticed in living in these two very different houses is that we need far less than we think we do.  We are not cramped in 1000 square feet.  There are very few things that I feel like we are missing by living in a small home.  I love that we have fewer "things" there.  I am a decorating minimalist at heart, I think, and living in a small space helps me realize that I often fill spaces just to fill spaces.  It usually feels like clutter and makes me anxious, and I need to carry that realization right back to the suburbs and purge, purge, purge.

Another thing I've noticed is that one TV in the house is plenty.  What?  I know.  Sacrilege.  But honestly - in Tennessee, normally, we have three.  Living Room, Family Room, Master Bedroom. 

Televisions make you stupid.  I'm not even kidding.  Read.

Tomorrow...getting around town...