Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Six Months Update: Better Late Than Never?

I was at a neighborhood meet and greet this past weekend, and the subject of blogs came up, and it got me to thinking... shew, it's been a while. Now that we've been actual homeowners for over six months, I figure this blog is probably (long) overdue for an update.

What We Like...

  • Overall, we are super happy with this house. It's not huge, but it's very cleverly designed such that we've really enjoyed being able to entertain and have friends over without feeling squashed. There are small things I'd like to be different -- sacrificing some space in the master bedroom to have a less cramped laundry room, a bigger balcony -- but mostly we really do like the layout. We've noticed a few settlement cracks here and there, and a nail pop or two, but nothing excessive.
  • It's quiet. For those of you contemplating a condo, I don't know if we've been blessed with very quiet neighbors or if the sound attenuation is as good as they say it is, but we seldom hear our upstairs neighbors. Not never, just seldom. The place with the least amount of soundproofing is the stairwell, so periodically we hear them when they are bringing the dogs down for a walk. And, hand to God, I don't know if we've ever heard the neighbors that live next door.
  • Location. While we both miss living in Washington itself, being less than a mile from the Metro means we get to enjoy the city life all the time without the price tag of what living there would cost. I also like that we're sandwiched essentially a mile in any direction to major roadways such as 495, 295, and Route 1: close enough to enjoy the benefit, far enough away to avoid the noise.
  • Energy savings. This one is hard to quantify, but we're living in the biggest space we've ever lived in, and paying roughly the same or less in energy costs. I have no idea how we compare to others, but we average about $65 in electricity per month.

What We'd Change...

  • Living in a construction zone. Obviously, this problem eventually go away, but we're really looking forward to not hearing construction noise all the time. It was such a bummer in the spring time to keep our windows closed, because it was just so noisy! Also, some of the construction workers are occasionally disrespectful and leave trash on the ground, so it means dog owners have to keep eyes peeled for chicken bones, etc.
  • No walking path yet. The developers are legally obligated to build one, so just like the construction zone, I know this is an issue that will eventually get resolved, but walkability to Metro is the main reason we paid a premium to buy into this community. The developers are currently paying for a shuttle bus service, but it only runs during the peak hours, which doesn't always work for my husband.
  • The carpet. We didn't spend money on upgrading this because we would eventually like to pull it out in favor of hardwood anyway, but it's sorry looking for only six months of wear.
Some pictures from around the house...

Living room and dining room:



Guest bedroom:

Laundry room/pet zone.
Kitty gets a special entrance because otherwise the dog is a jerk and eats his food.


  1. So cute guys, glad to see your doing well. I love love love the little kitty door, I might steal that idea.

  2. The carpet and the padding underneath is crap. After two years it feels like we have uneven floors in spots especially upstairs because the walkway paths are so packed down while everything on either side that never gets walked on is still fluffed up. We just got a new puppy a few weeks ago so once he's house trained I think we're finally got to look seriously at replacing it.

    1. I agree, the included carpets are pretty much crap. They probably can hold up in low traffic areas of your house. I also found it to be impossible to get stains out. We're also going to try to get some wear out of them for a better replacement down the road. My partner and I have been debating over going completely hardwood. He likes carpeting in the bedrooms and think future buyer may think its too much hardwood. What are you guys thinking?

    2. We're also trying to just 'make do' for a while so we can save money for a bit -- ideally, we'd like to have hardwood all over, and just have area rugs for softness. I don't know what buyers typically like, but we hope to be in this house for a good long while anyway.

      I've thought about replacing the carpet in chunks -- eg, I I would really love to see the carpet gone on the stairs first, because that's a total pain to vacuum, especially with pets.

      So many house projects, such a small budget. :)

  3. Update on the tv situation, please!

    1. About the TV, or living without cable? We have a 55", which is kind of ridiculously big compared to what we're used to, but it's a good size for our living room esp given how far away the couch is from the wall where the TV is mounted. We have it on one of those mounts where it will swivel up and down and left and right, so you can pretty much see it from anywhere.

      As for living without cable... we only kind of sort of live without cable, because, ahem, we have some family members that share their cable login so we can satisfy our Americans & Game of Thrones cravings. That being said, those are pretty much the only two shows where we borrow a login and have to watch. We watch a ton of shows that are easy to see over the antenna (news, British Baking Show, Bob's Burgers) or Amazon Prime (lots of HBO shows). Getting the antenna oriented just right was a pain in the ass that I'll do a post on in just a bit. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Hi there, my spouse and I just toured a picasso and a matisse recently and I have since stumbled across your blog. It is very useful, so thank you!
    We're currently debating the merits of the Matisse vs Picasso. I am concerned about whether being near the garage causes any additional noise from the doors and cars pulling in and out, especially in the bedrooms directly above the garage. You mentioned you find it to be relatively quiet for a condo and I wonder what your experience was with the proximity to the garages. Thanks again!

    1. Oh gosh, well thank you! We use those secondary bedrooms as an office space and a guest bedroom, so we're probably not as attentive to the garage noises as others might be. The garage doors definitely do cause some noise, although in my opinion it's not super loud. In one of our previous rental houses, the master bedroom was above the garage, and you just kind of tune it out after a while, so I think it would probably be the same.