CHANGE is inevitable, it seems. Three summers ago, my husband and I sold our three-bedroom home on a two acre lot in rural Dinwiddie County and moved to Short Pump, Virginia. We rented a two-bedroom apartment and a one-car garage for all our stuff.
We downsized and decided on what we really wanted in our physical space. It was a difficult experience. It’s a work in progress.
We are making another change this summer. We no longer want to live in this community. In February we started looking for a new home in the Petersburg, Virginia area. This was close to where we lived three years ago. It’s about 20 miles south of Short Pump.
THE SEARCH BEGINS
I wanted a tiny house. I began my search on Zillow. I saw a cute Craftsman, built in 1918, in Petersburg. I contacted the real estate agent and we saw the house that night. We liked the neighborhood but the layout of the house wasn’t right. The utility room had been situated in between the kitchen and the dining room which meant you would have to walk through the utility room every time you wanted to go to the kitchen. There was no direct kitchen entrance. Fixing this layout would cost a lot of money so we moved on.
We made a list of our priorities after that visit. We wanted a small house with great entertaining space. We were up for renovations– within reason.
Our next house tour took us to the city of Colonial Heights. We had three houses on our list. They were early 20th century homes which were recently renovated. The houses were great but the neighborhoods were bleak — lots of chain link fences and garbage in the neighbors’ yards. We just didn’t feel the love.
My husband, David, suggested we look at townhouses which turned out to be just as unlovable. The lack of light in those places was depressing — just like our apartment in Short Pump.
We liked one of the neighborhoods where the townhouses were located. We expanded our square footage options and saw some houses in a neighborhood built in the mid-century.
THE STRESS OF HOUSE HUNTING
AND, this is the moment when I realized my husband and I were not looking for the same thing. I loved this home which had not been renovated since it was built in the 1960s. It had kitschy laminate kitchen counters and pink bathroom tile. We wouldn’t have to change a thing. It was really big, though, about 2500 square feet. My husband said, “I’m not living in grandma’s house.”
Our agent had sent us a listing of a new construction home in the Colonial Heights area. That day we drove by just to see. It was under roof but bare bone. It didn’t seem like the small home with great entertaining space I wanted. Dave and I ate dinner then came back to the house.
WHEN YOU FIND A BARN IN THE CITY
Dave said he wanted a low maintenance home and this was it.
Plus, it had a barn! Yes, that’s right, it had a barn.
The area was subdivided in the early 20th century and the farmhouses were left and new homes were built around them. But here was a new home, built on the same lot as this barn. I loved it. We made an offer — the barn had to stay and we wanted the living room area opened up to the kitchen for a great entertaining space. We also wanted a large deck.
On Sunday, we drove by. The painters were working and you can see they were taking a break just inside the front door. They are almost finished and the hardwood flooring will be installed beginning Wednesday. By the way, the hardwood was grown in Galax, Virginia and milled and prepped at The Turman Group.
The house is 1400 square feet, much larger than I wanted. It’s a huge house with great space for entertaining. Luckily, we will have a lot less stuff to move.
We hope to close on it by June 5.