How an old house-loving city girl ended up building new construction in Goochland.

So it happened again. I fell of the face of the blogging world. My only excuse is the usual excuse-life has been crazy. But it’s exactly all that craziness and change that I want to document so that I can remember this time in my life when I’m old and senile. I’m just going to jump right back in here to talk about one of the biggest changes that is currently going on , referenced in the title.

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:

It will be finished in December and I’m so excited to watch the process of seeing it built. We have basically made all of choices by this point (another great part about building, the customization!) We didn’t go too crazy on upgrades (holy cow they add up fast) but did put money into structural additions like a 4th bedroom and a morning room off the kitchen. Design wise we invested in wood floors throughout the whole first floor (if it were up to me I would get them throughout the second floor, I HATE carpet, but they are pricey and we plan to do the second floor a little bit later, plus our master is on the first floor so we won’t spend much time upstairs anyways), and some kitchen upgrades. I cry a little with joy thinking about this kitchen. I can’t wait to share pictures when it’s done but we went a little more transitional style (with a farmhouse sink, because well I have coveted one all of my adult life) with light gray cabinets and white quartz counters. Plus a whole bunch of things I have never thought about but which will be really cool to have like easy reach cabinets, drawer stacks, and a fancy dishwasher (we currently do not have a dishwasher so I cannot express how thrilled I am at the thought of not having to hand wash every single darn dish). And there’s a gas oven! And glass front cabinets! And I’m just so excited 🙂

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. 

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