T minus 9 days until I take my MA exams. I've studied pretty hard this semester, sometimes up to 18 hours per weekend, but I've hit a wall. I simply want nothing more to do with these books. I want to be done.
But here's where the craziness starts. After a whirlwind trip to Durham, NC, our home to be, we decided to buy a house. Well, really, we've been looking for about a month, but we didn't find *the* house until we went there over this past weekend.
Durham, compared to Austin, is small. Durham has about 200,000 people, Austin has 750,000. Durham is green, has tons of trees. The whole little city felt like some kind of park. Durham is also a lot more dangerous. The murder rate is a lot higher than any other place I've lived. So is burglary, robbery and theft. This, I'm not looking forward to. Based on crime statistics, it looks pretty probable that we might taste this in the next five years. We're hoping that with dog, alarm system and automatic light timers we can avoid it. But who knows.
But granted that 6 apartments were burglarized in our building in Santiago, within one month of living there, we felt like it wasn't enough to stop us from moving into our dream home in biking distance of Duke.
We didn't pick the most "wholesome" neighborhood. I'll be honest about that. Durham is a mixed bag of so-called "good streets" and "bad streets" run-down rental properties and multimillion dollar homes. We're in walking distance to what the realtor called "The Hood." We're also in walking distance to two of the most expensive neighborhoods in the entire city. Take a left and you're in the ghetto, take a right and you're in Durham's 90210. And to be honest, we love this variety.
I know it's not for everyone, but I've hated the socioeconomic (and racial) stratification of Austin. I like the mix. We just didn't feel at home in the neighborhoods with perfectly manicured lawns, white people, and miles of suburbia. We liked the funky vibe of popular cafés, tortillerias, fire stations, and historic old bungalow homes.
I spent a good three weeks scouring the market for just about every home in our price range. Compared neighborhoods, schools, and resale value. I fell in love with an adorable yellow 1920s bungalow, a historic property with original hardwood floors. However, the house was under contract faster than you could say, "adorable" and we had to move on to other options. I found many other older homes with adorable details, however, everyone warned me about the problems that an old home would present. "You don't have the time or money to deal with a fixer-upper." My dad, cautioned. So when I made my list of listings, I tried to balance old gems with recent constructions.
But nothing grabbed me like Britney Wallace's projects.
Britney Wallace specializes in "jewel box homes," which refer to arts and crafts style homes that are under 2000 square feet. Although small, they focus on fine details and efficient use of space. Her designs drew from the classic bungalow home style that I so badly wanted, but would be brand new construction.
One look at her website made me feel like Britney and I had the same exact taste in homes. Simple, but unique, high attention to details. The last thing I wanted was a cookie-cutter home with 90 degree angles and brass drawer pulls. I know that sounds so bizarre, but there's something about growing up in the 1990s that makes you just want to barf. Her projects have 9 foot ceilings, signature arches, stainless appliances, efficient design, and so much more...
After narrowing our selection down to four homes, O. and I did the final comparison and realized that nothing compared to this home at this price range. Her internet deal allowed me to upgrade to granite countertops, and we negotiated wiring for outdoor ceiling fans on the rocking chair front porch. Today we went under contract.
I am so excited to have our own space. I'm so excited to have our own washer and dryer (something we've never had) and a deck, AND a front porch. I've lived for years without anything but white walls, and I just cannot wait to paint, hang shelves, and do all the things you cannot do in rentals.
A yard! Two floors! A garden!
I cannot even contain my excitement :)
Here she is:
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