Lately, I’ve been a little obsessed with a very Atlanta-centric trend: townhome living.
Just like that, we’re officially empty-nesters. One birdie is finishing college soon and the other chickadee actually has a real job, a real salary and a real place to live. Are they ever coming home to live? Probably not…which leaves us figuring out our next step.
After we sold the Nest and as a little experiment, we’re trying out townhome living, or vertical living, or whatever you want to call this nice scenario where you don’t have to worry about lawns or sprinkler systems or repainting the windows and doors. Zero maintenance is all of a sudden looking kind of sexy…and we have quickly found out there are plenty more positives to vertical living.
We’re renting a three bedroom, four bathroom unit. It seems the floorpans are all pretty much the same in vertical homes: garage, entry, bedroom/bath on the lower level; kitchen, dining and living on the next level and two more bedrooms on the third level. Do they come with four bedrooms? I haven’t seen many but I’m keeping my eyes peeled.
There are lots of thumbs-up for this vertical thing, especially for hubbie, who travels a lot and has an intense work schedule. So what do we love?
Most of the townhomes I’ve seen are a nice blank slate – which means plenty of opportunities for gorgeous art and interior decor. And we are loving our nice, open floorpan on the main level.
Zero maintenance is just that. Zero. If a shutter falls off in a tempest, you just email someone. Your little spot is always meticulously cared for and the community landscaping is perfect. After decades of taking care of a home (no small job), this is quite exhilarating.
You get to lock the door and walk away. Apart from our sweet, but needy cats, we can lock the door and fly off for as long as we’d like. We actually don’t do that very often, but it’s nice to think we could.
Instant neighbors: people who live in townhouses seem very fun and lively, or at least this is our current experience! Is that because they’re not worrying about all that maintenance? We have some neighbors who actually hang art in their garages. Everything is tidy and pristine.
I’m kind of kidding here but vertical living is good for your health: lots of stairs to go up and down on a daily basis. Most townhomes come with elevators but the unit we’re renting does not. And I don’t mind that at all – except after a big grocery store run.
Is there anything not to love about this easy lifestyle?
Being the project junkie I am, I admit I’m pretty picky about a lot of things and one of those is attractive and functional outdoor space. Atlanta’s mild climate is perfect for year-round outdoor living and we happily got used to a covered porch with a fireplace, which we used as our main living space ten months out of the year. The townhouse has a little deck, which we’ve gussied up as best we can…but I sure do miss that fireplace. Some newer units we’ve seen actually have rooftop terraces with fireplaces, so that’s promising if we decide to go down this path.
Do I have a potential list of to-do’s if this arrangement becomes permanent? You bet. I’ve already noted down a couple non-negotiables like my favorite super-dark stained floors, re-doing builder grade bathrooms with plenty of light marble and interesting tile and maybe, if I’m ever so lucky, a new kitchen appliance package. I’d love to really have at it with a gorgeous mix of decor – my few treasured antiques happily mixed with some fabulous new, clean pieces that would feel fresh and modern. And I’m seriously losing sleep over the art opportunities.
(And I’ll check in with my biz partner in crime, Ann, who ditched the single-family house years ago and is now the go-to expert for pied-a-terre renovations and living. We’re trying to persuade her to photograph her new little Midtown jewel box.)
So it’s a thumbs-up for a slightly more lazy lifestyle and we’re loving our little vertical experiment – stairs and all. But I can’t promise I’ll be able to ignore the lure of a ranch re-do or a custom cottage. Stay tuned!