My husband and I are building a house in Goochland. Yes, that is correct. If you know me this may come as a bit of a surprise. I LOVE old houses. I have only ever lived in old houses. Right now we live in a 1920s stucco bungalow. Growing up the newest house I lived in was a 1930s/40s home in Westover Hills. The other two were a 1860s Midlothian farmhouse and a turn of the century Fan townhouse. In college I lived in the top two floors of a 19th century traditional Charleston house complete with double decker side porches.
I am a child of the South and in that spirit I am always slightly unease in something brand new. I prefer consignment/vintage furniture to anything brand spanking new. I could spend days wandering the dusty aisles of the West End Antiques Mall. I love molding and original floors and little imperfections.
I am also a city girl. I have been living in urban environments since I was 13, from Richmond city to downtown Charleston to smack in the middle of cities like Paris and Bankgok when I lived abroad. I love the energy. I love the closeness of people. I love walking anywhere and everywhere.
And yet, I will be living in a brand new house in the “country”, and I am so happy and excited about it. The reasons:
1. We chose Goochland because my husband works in Charlottesville and this will make his commute considerably shorter. Goochland has old houses but when we were looking there were not a ton (or really any) of the old, bursting in character old houses I love. Instead there were a lot of in between 1980s houses that had zero charm. The handful of older houses out there were either way too expensive or in need of way too much work than we want to put in at this point in our lives.
2. We chose new construction because one day on a whim we went and saw an Eagle construction home in the neighborhood we ended up choosing and LOVED it. All of the things I love about old houses, beautiful molding, attention to detail, logical floorplans, were there. And then I saw all of the benefits of new construction that old homes don’t have. Don’t get me wrong. One day I will be back in an old house. But for this point in our lives, when we’re both working and will be one day starting a family, having an energy efficient, well insulated house that will require zero maintenance seems pretty great. It’s in a subdivision, which also was something I used to mock, but at the end of the day a subdivision means I get my sidewalks and neighbors and a lot of the things I like about being in the city. It’s going to be us and a lot of older people and I am so on board with that because I kind of have all the habits of an old person.
3. I plan to fill the house with old furnishings and antique character to surround myself with the comfort and dependability of age.
So our house is yet to be built but when it is built it will look very similar to this:
Maybe it’s a product of aging but I’m a little less rigid these days. It’s easy when you’re in your early 20s to set firm rules about your life. At that point I would have said I would never leave the city, never live in a new house. But life has a way of surprising you and making you more flexible. I absolutely know that at this stage in our lives this is the right choice. I am really excited about sharing the process, which I know will be a steep learning curve.
I know that decades from now I will look back at this point in my life has probably containing the most change in the shortest period of time and I also know how fast it will go. I don’t want to miss anything.