Saturday, January 12, 2008

Suburb girl in the city

We've been house-hunting for a few months now, but nothing has really hit the mark with either of us. Up to this point, we've mainly looked in a few of the neighborhoods right around where we live now, which would be described as one of the suburbs of Sa.int L.ouis. But we haven't found anything and have been frustrated with the houses in our price range. Everything is small - small closets, small kitchen, small bedrooms, small baths, and very few of the last two. Many of the houses are 3 bedrooms and 1.5 or maybe 2 baths. Then in addition to small, you get an old kitchen, old baths, no garage, and a generally not so great house. But you're living in a great neighborhood - very family friendly - with great schools, a rec center, pool, cute downtown area - and lots of VERY nice houses right next to the not-so-great houses - it just happens that the very nice houses are about 3+ times out of our price range. If only we could afford one of those houses.

But we can't. So we started looking in the city. Just saying that makes me get a little queasy feeling in my stomach. I don't do city. I'm a suburb girl - I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas and I don't know anything else. The city makes me nervous - I feel like I'd be afraid to go out after dark or take J for a walk. And the houses are close together, with more traffic and the schools stink. But Husband grew up in the city and in the same way I consider myself a suburb person, he considers himself a city guy. He loves it - loves the little neighborhood bars and restaurants and stores, loves the ease of getting downtown, loves the original woodwork and trim and doors and layout of the homes, and he wants to move there. So I've finally given in and agreed to look at houses there.

And OH.MY.GOODNESS.

The houses in OUR price range (which isn't much, folks) are unbelievable. And they have UPDATED KITCHENS. Which, if you aren't currently house-hunting and not up to speed on the lingo, could mean many things. For instance, some people call something "updated" if they painted within the last ten years. Or actually mopped the floors. But these houses in the city? THESE ARE REAL UPDATED KITCHENS. With stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, center islands, and room to walk around. And the baths? Huge. Master bath with walk-in showers and separate whirlpool tubs and double vanity. Huge bedrooms. Modern, pott.ery barn paint colors. Huge walk-in closets with build-in organizers. And all this with the unbelievable craftsmanship of these late 1800s homes - solid wood staircases with intricately carved designs and built-in benches, huge arched ceilings with beautiful trim and molding, solid wood pocket doors, stain glass windows, and wood floors with inlaid designs. Many of the homes also have a third floor room, which would make a great playroom or office space. And this is in addition to four bedrooms and 2.5 baths!

And there are lots of families moving in to these neighborhoods because all these houses are being rehabbed. And although the public schools stink, there is a great parochial school nearby, which is always an option for us. So I'm trying to figure out if I really will be happy living there or if it is just too different than how I see myself. And if the suburbs mean that much to me, and the city that much to Husband, then is he really unhappy living here? Is it ridiculous that I think of myself as a suburb person and feel odd about living in the city?

I think I might be more of a updated kitchen/bath/big bedrooms/big closet kind of girl and maybe it doesn't/shouldn't matter where I find it.

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2 Comments:

  • That's a tough one. I definitely consider myself a suburb girl too. I like living in a subdivision so that Lila will have friends right in her own backyard when she's older, b/c she'll go to school with them. I see the appeal of downtown though. There are some beautiful older homes here in Chatt.anooga as well, and if it weren't for Lila I would probably consider living in the city. We can't afford private school (even parochial), so b/c of the schools we have to stay in the suburbs. Good luck making the decision. If you can work out the school thing then living in the city might be pretty fun!!

    By Blogger Chas, at January 14, 2008 at 7:20 AM  

  • I'm very much a suburb girl too, but I LOVED the 1.5 years I spent living in SF. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Fortunately, we have the opposite situation here... much cheaper in the burbs than in the city. My cousin lives in St. Louis & I'm guessing the suburb you're talking about is where they live. They rent cause they too can't afford to buy, but they LOVE it there. I hope that whatever you guys decide will work out. Maybe give the city a shot for awhile. If people are moving there, now might be a good time to buy. Who knows, you could buy there now, live there for a few years. If the market goes up there, you could end up making enough to buy one of those nicer houses in the suburbs!

    By Blogger Liz, at January 14, 2008 at 2:15 PM  

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