Monday, August 5, 2013

Cottage Girl Goes Urban!

 We are still Cottage Crazy and continue to love our cottage at Tybee. Paws & Paddles Cottage remains a big part of our life. We are however embarking on a new chapter and have listed our Mountain Home for sale to realize another dream of ours. We have been carefully watching the changes and improvements to the infrastructure in Downtown Roanoke since about 2000. We have attended most of the Downtown Living Tours and have been impressed with the new living spaces being created in historic buildings. The idea of downsizing and having our living space be all on one level has been brewing in our minds because we have enjoyed our Tybee Cottage so much. Each time we returned home to the Mountain House we commented that we missed the easy floor plan of our cottage. The Mountain House is on three levels with steps that at least for me are becoming more and more of an issue. I can no longer easily care anything up or down stairs. I struggle with both balance and the effort of the climb. We began seriously considering a move to a smaller space a couple of years ago. Since then we have looked at smaller houses, condos, and apartments. Each one we looked at failed to measure up to exactly what we were looking for. We looked in various neighborhoods but each time I felt something was lacking. We had friends and family that had lived in Downtown Roanoke and loved it. They moved out of town for work but kept their unit Downtown. We heard it might be up for rent and got excited about the possibility of renting something Downtown. Renting would allow us to " try " living Downtown without the risk of buying a space.  The more we talked about it the more we decided this was the way to go. We had a few months to wait to determine if the unit was coming available. In the end the renter liked the space so much they decided to extend their lease. 

So we could let the dream go or get serious and look for a space Downtown. We decided that we wanted to go for it. Our search began for the " right " for us space.  We wanted to be in the heart of Downtown where I work and have reasonably close access to the Greenway system for walking and biking. The walking was especially important for Hershey our Standard Chocolate Poodle. We looked in several areas near Downtown as well. We liked the South Roanoke area but many units did not have access from your unit to the outdoors. I did not think I could be happy unless I could have a porch, balcony or terrace. We even considered a small cottage near the Greenway off Riverland Road. It had the advantage/disadvantage of a yard. The best feature was a screened porch with a great view of the Roanoke River! Roanoke is a unique place. We have a river right near the heart of the city. We also have a small Mountain in the city limits with a large neon star. There is nothing like flying home and see that large star atop Mill Mountain. The big drawback on this house was that again it had stairs both inside and a fair number outside. It was so seriously cute and the price was awesome that we seriously considered it. In the end the stairs caused us to drop it from consideration.  We also looked at a variety of condos that were not in Downtown Roanoke but in Southwest County. They tended to be larger and some were retirement type places complete with assisted living and nursing facilities. Nope...
that wasn't going to work. No connection to the city or the Greenway. Plus we didn't want to " buy " since we were unsure how we would adjust to the downsizing and a different lifestyle. We zeroed in on a number of Downtown Apartment communities. We liked each of them for different reasons. Hershey it turned out wasn't welcome at any of them. Most either said NO pets or pets under 40 pounds. Well Hershey is all muscle and 65 pounds. So what to do?  A chance conversation at work solved our problem.  We learned that The Woolworth Building had been renovated and that they might consider extremely well trained dogs that were larger. We emailed to learn more. A tour was arranged and we both decided we liked the same space. A second floor unit of only about 1200 square feet. The best part for me was that it had a french door that opened out to a roof top terrace! Complete with all sorts of wonderful teak furniture with large comfortable cushions and a mammoth gas grill. Only 4 units opened to the terrace. Three were already gone. We were hooked. It was a short 3 minute commute to my Downtown office, near the Big Lick portion of the Greenway, a short walk to the historic farmers market, grocery store, the bakery, lots and lots of restaurants, art galleries and the beautiful Taubman Art Museum. I love art and have noodled around with a bit of painting and hope to do more. In addition to our semi-private terrace The Woolworth sports a huge rooftop green space on the roof with even more seating, furniture, another big grill and best of all a huge complete indoor kitchen for using when entertaining on the terrace. We are officially tenants as of this past August 1st!  Looking forward to decorating our new space. It will take us a couple of months due to long lead times on much of the furniture. So as of now we are a work in progress and will be splitting our time between the Mountain House and The Woolworth. I plan to update the blog as we go through this transition. Perhaps it will not only help us have a record of our adventure but maybe it will also help others who are thinking about making this transition. More later as things develop. 

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