I moved to the District of Columbia 3 years ago, and within two, I'd spent about $30,000 on rent. I just had an anxiety attack doing that math again. Rent in this city is too damn high! There ain’t no other way to put it. I thought to myself (while crying into my pocket calculator), “That could have been a down payment on a house!” Huh. Now there was an idea…
So I braved the ridiculously aggressive D.C. housing market and bought a row house with my boyfriend of 5 years, Eli. It's been a year since we closed, and it still holds the title for most stressful experience of our lives (admittedly, we're young and there's plenty of time for other stresses to take the crown). But luckily, it also remains our smartest decision yet.
We love our little home! It's a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath attached row house built almost 100 years ago and flipped before we bought it. The space is small by national standards, but positively roomy if you're from New York City (as in literally – there are a handful of rooms)
To be able to afford a place above ground, larger than a shoebox and within city limits, we ventured outside the "hip" Northwest quadrant where yuppies and hipsters cohabitate to a neighborhood that feels more authentic to the city's heritage. Our neighbors are wonderful people, there are tons of new restaurants within walking distance, I ride my bike to work each morning, and we pay less than we did to rent our 500 sq. ft. apartment in Columbia Heights. It's wins across the board, folks.
The moment we closed, I became POSSESSED. I drew up an exhaustive list of projects and ideas for every room. Eli, as you can imagine, was thrilled. He often finds me staring blankly at a wall, like Viktor Krum under the Imperius curse. He’s relieved and then slightly annoyed when it turns out I'm just daydream decorating again. Everyone does that, right?
Another new development after buying a house is that I suddenly wanted to peek inside every house in the city. Is that creepy?
…. It kind of is. Whatever, just forget I said anything.
So now I mostly stick to the next best (socially acceptable) thing: home design blogs. I love me some Young House Love, Emily Henderson, House*Tweaking and Vintage Revivals. But one thing I've come to find from reading them is that people outside of DC and New York have SO MUCH SPACE! A garage, you say? What the heck is that? An attic? A closet just for coats? Or wait, wait – a linen closet?! Puh-lease. My entire house is 13 feet wide. My "laundry room" is also my breakfast nook, mud room, coat closet and tool shed.
Don't get me wrong, those bloggers aren't living in extravagant spaces – nay, they’re pretty normal-sized (maybe even modest) American houses – and they've got plenty of challenges to overcome that I’m lucky to avoid. But man, those little conveniences like attics and garages and linen closets feel like forbidden fruit dangling in front of my face.
So here I am, starting my own city-dweller blog where you can follow my attempts to cram big style into a small space and somehow make the place feel larger, brighter and airier than when I bought it (fingers crossed!!) Keep in mind, I can't be spending a pretty penny, so you should bet on DIY tutorials and thrifted goodies galore.
You have permission to peek inside my house (virtually), and I won't even judge you. And speaking of peeking, you can catch an early look of my first floor here. I'll be posting better photos and tutorials on the blog in the coming Fridays! If you don't trust that you'll remember to check back, you can get posts delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing here:
Got other questions, ideas, or just want to chat? Leave a comment or send me a message!