Brenda W. Clough and her husband moved from Reston, Virginia to Portland, Oregon in early 2020. Brenda, a writer, shared her experience and what they love about their new home in an email. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
A major move is a great excuse to change your lifestyle, and I’m almost done with the suburban experience. Now that my kids are out of the nest, we don’t need four bedrooms, a big yard, and access to high schools. We switched gears and became citizens. Now I can see the Portland Art Museum from my window. Trams can be seen passing by. We no longer need to mow the lawn, clean the gutters or weed the garden. The front desk people take my Amazon packages for me.
What I love about my home in Cathedral Heights DC
What I love about our new home is that it is within walking distance of just about everything you might need. Safeway is across the street. There are two weekly farmers’ markets a few blocks from the hotel. The main branch of the public library is five minutes away, the doctor and dentist ten. There should be at least a couple dozen restaurants within walking distance. It will take us years to learn everything, and then we can take a tram and go to the other end of the city and explore it. Suddenly, life no longer revolves around driving.
I also wanted modern architecture. D.C. suburbs are almost purely colonial in style, something mid-Atlantic. Now I have become a fan of cast concrete and brutalism. My current house has floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There are no steps at all. I can’t hear my neighbors and I don’t have screens on my windows. There are not many bugs in the center.
Since I’m a writer, I also needed a place to fit our 10 tall bookcases full of books. I dragged the ones in the picture, from the East Coast to the West, the tools of my trade: a collection of science fiction and fantasy spanning 70 years, and historical volumes focusing on Antarctica or Victorian England. And these are only survivors after a major culling. I screened out half the books and gave them to Reston’s Secondhand Bookstore in Lake Ann, which had let me buy books for decades. It costs about a dollar a pound to ship things from coast to coast, and this price is very focussed. Such a move is an opportunity to return all the property back. Getting rid of trash in the basement, garage and attic just got easier.
What do I like about my home in Mount Rainier, Maryland?
As you can see in the photo, I have a single 50 foot wall that runs the entire length of the apartment from the front door to the living room windows. It was this feature that sold me on the spot. Books decorate the room. If you collect them all in one place, organizing and viewing them will become much easier. Now I don’t have to go from room to room looking for that one volume about Wilkie Collins. Since this is an earthquake-prone area (as is the rest of the West Coast), the bookcases are attached to the uprights in the wall with seismic straps.
But what is the most dangerous thing in this dwelling? I live within walking distance Powell books, one of the largest stores for new and used books in the country. 10 steel bookcases are almost full, and I vowed that I would try to keep the purchase of new books to a dull rumble. I don’t want to move to a larger space to accommodate the books.”
In this ongoing article, we ask homeowners what they like best about their home. If you’d like to share your story, please send a photo of the room/feature you like (preferably with the photo as well) and 400-450 words describing the space and why you like it: [email protected].