OK — we’re moving.
It has been over a decade since the last time we moved — which for us, has been an eternity.
For those of you who know our history, we used to be serial movers. From 1995 to 2003, we owned and lived in 5 different homes in various areas around town. We’ve built two, renovated two and bought one just like it was.
Perhaps it was ease, or perhaps we craved the stability or perhaps life just got too busy to move, but for whatever reason, we have stayed put in our current home longer than at any point in our lives.
But now it is time to move as 2 of 3 kids are in/soon to be in college and our preferences have changed.
How Did We Do?
And so as we are spending some time renovating our new home (on 13 acres, mind you!), we are reflecting back on the decisions we made when we built our current home.
Knowing what we know now and with the benefit of hindsight, how would we grade our decisions of a decade ago? I think we deserve an A minus — not too shabby.
What We Did Well
We maximized our space, for sure, and in efficient ways.
When we built, we added an unfinished basement and an unfinished third floor — both of which we eventually finished to add more space for our growing family. The extra space has been probably the primary reason we were able to stay in place for so long.
We also chose a somewhat subdued exterior elevation, at least relative to those that surround us, that I think has aged well. The residential architecture look of the early 2000’s was largely ‘transitional’ (think — ‘contemporary colonial’ with an open interior layout.) Hopefully, by choosing a less polarizing exterior, our appeal will be more universal when the ‘For Sale’ sign goes in the front yard.
I also think we did a good job on the interior plan, too. Our plan is open and flexible. And while it does have a rarely used living and dining area, these rooms are a relatively small percentage of the overall first floor space.
What We Did OK
Our lot is larger than the average lot in our neighborhood and on a cul-de-sac, but it is oddly shaped. I think we could have done a better job of clearing the lot because it makes our oversized lot seem a bit smaller than it actually is.
The powder room is centrally located, not tucked away. I think a powder room that is a little more private is preferable.
And while we added a mudroom that was not on the original plans, it turned out we used it far more than we would have ever anticipated. If we had a time machine, we would make the mudroom about 2x the size we actually did.
What We Wish We Could Do Over
We missed on having a pedestrian door in the garage, and that has been a bit of a pain — wished we would have thought of that during construction.
And while we have a screened porch, it is elevated as our lot has some slope. The ability to engage our backyard is a bit challenged and if we had to do it over again, we would create a better relationship with the back yard.
So when we look back at our choices, I think we did pretty well, especially considering that life is inherently unpredictable and what you think you think is not necessarily how everything will all work out.
The home has served us nicely for over a decade and not been a burden on us financially. The public schools in our section of town are highly rated and we feel our children have been served well by the schools.
And as agents who travel the entire Richmond Metro constantly, the I95/I295 Interchange has made our varied and random travel patterns minimally impactful to our lives. So we not only have enjoyed the home itself, but its location proved to be perfectly suited to our lifestyle.
Would we make some changes to what we did if given the chance to do over again? Yes. But by and large, our 2017 selves would congratulate our 2004 selves quite hardily.