It was just about this time last year that we were ready to give up. Give up on looking for a new house that is. Jon and I had talked about getting a new house even before we talked about getting married. However, we did it the old fashioned way and we married the summer of 2013. By winter of 2014 we were actively searching HAR, putting in parameters and finding very little. With our wish list of inside the loop, preferably north of Westheimer and west of downtown; a three car garage and at least 3,500 square feet but not more than 5,500, the pickings were pretty slim.
We looked at a cool, modern home on a huge ravine lot that even had with a second, vintage home in the back but decided we didn’t need a compound. We bid full asking price on a charming new Heights home but it was not only at the top of the market, we were outbid by more than $100,000 and we really weren’t in love with it anyway.
As we kept looking, older homes just seemed to be too much work. Very few homes had the garage space we wanted. Jon really wanted at least a little bit of a yard, not a big house on a small lot. Plenty of parking space was also high on our list. Surprisingly, given my profession, I was the less picky of the two of us. I know things can always be fixed and changed.
One day I was doing my daily drive down Memorial Drive and I saw a For Sale sign. It was bright yellow and easy to read. I called the number and the gentleman told me he had a tear-down for sale very close to the park. I was intrigued. How could we not have seen it before?
I can tell you why. The home had been built in the forties by the original owners. It was a kit house and the family business was selling them. Back in the day, Memorial Drive was an oyster shell road. They built close to the road in order to have a big backyard. The small, 1800 square foot home took up the entire lot from side to side, even though there was only a one-car garage. Despite the fact it was pink and green, you could hardly see it since the family had planted lots of trees which had become enormous over the last seventy years. We were intrigued and luckily most everyone else appeared to have missed it or passed right by.
Fast forward through a few visits, a few reconsiderations and finally a really good offer. We were thrilled to get into the neighborhood, really our preferred in the whole city, and below market value. It was time to build a house!
We are well into the process now and I look forward to sharing it with you. I will highlight the steps, and developments, the good and the bad, the emotions, the pitfalls and the triumphs, many of which we have yet to experience. I actually have a very good feeling about the whole thing and think it will turn out to be great! Nonetheless, it should prove to be quite a journey as we eagerly anticipate moving into our new house before year end.
Welcome to my new blog series: Dream, Design, Build – My New House Diaries
House From The Front
House From The Back
Fun to read as I am excited for you! Look forward to each installment!
Oh boy this is going to be fun and you will make this new home something that you will love. Happy happy for you and Jon.
Hi Pamela, So happy you found THAT lot, perfect for new construction. I was wondering if you and your husband, architect, etc. have looked into using ThermaSteel for your walls and roof. I can send you some video’s also showing it doesn’t burn, no termites and I could go on. Let me know if you have any interest. Thanks, JANET
Congratulations, Pamela! Can’t wait to read more about the transformation of this little teardown!
Pam, funny to hear your story. Patrick and I decided to build a new house here, too. New construction in Arlington tops $1.7 million on a postage stamp lot! Needless to say, on 2 government salaries, we cannot afford that, but learned we could probably do a teardwon and build ourselves. I will look forward to reading your blog as you progress!
I’m so happy for you and Jon. Building a home of your own is nothing short of amazing!
Thank you Linda. We are very excited!
Wow! Have you found a lot? Are you staying close in town like before? I look forward to sharing our progress as I learn of yours. Please stay in touch.
Thank you Jane. I know you are very skilled at renovations and preservation alike. Please keep in touch.
Thanks for the response and the good wishes for our project. Feel free to email me information on your products.
I can’t wait to tell you more!
Thank you Liz. I look forward to sharing with you.