July 11, 2016

NPS campusWe’ve got big news. We’re moving! And it’s only 8 minutes from our current home.
2016-03-26 17.32.08Dennis and I have lived in our current home for all but one year of our 18 together.  After years of moving furniture and artwork around, renovating bathrooms and living areas and (finally last year) the kitchen, it’s “done.” It’s perfect. There is so much I love about this house. It’s light and bright. It’s up on a hill. The views are wonderful and woody.

2016-04-14 09.24.55Out the wall of windows in the breakfast room, the view is sublime, the result of a garden 17 years in the making. We are next to the treasure that is Rock Creek Park. The dogs get long walks in the deep woods on a daily basis. We have an abundance of wildlife and a pristine and quiet environment just a few minutes from downtown. It’s a heavenly home.

IMG_0539But we’re not getting any younger, and we were beginning to feel burdened by our stuff. We use only half the rooms in the house, I have an office as does Dennis, but mostly, we move from the eat-in kitchen to the den to our bedroom.

2016-03-26 17.33.07I give my responsible husband all the credit for saying early on “We’re going to want to think about where we will retire.” I’m more devil-may-care “What will be, will be.” But for at least 15 years we have been looking for a community where we might age in place.

IMG_3133The search for Our Next Home has taken us from western North Carolina to the southern edge of Massachusetts. From southern New Hampshire to coastal Maine. We nosed around on the Eastern shore and explored the entire state of Delaware. We’ve looked at homes in suburban DC, in downtown DC, and in Baltimore. It’s been a crazy experience: we’ve made our friends so suspicious of any reference to looking at real estate that many of them reacted to the news that we have a contract on a new home with complete disbelief.

IMG_3124Our tastes are similar, but not the same. I’m a fan of older, quirkier while Dennis leans toward new construction. Consequently, over those years of looking, we’ve been challenged finding a place that made us both happy. Even so, we’ve come this close to a contract three times.Exterior (Front) - Magnificent restoration for Historic National Park Seminary Project! Beautiful wooded setting & located close to Metro & downtown Bethesda!But today, yes, really, we have a contract. And our house will be on the market in two weeks. We don’t know how the timing will work out; all I know is the world is suddenly moving very fast. And we have a lot of crap in this house.

hotelWe’ve purchased a condo. It’s about half the square footage of our current home, not including the basement and garage. It has a beautiful, enormous terrace. And it’s on the campus of the National Park Seminary, recently and very tastefully renovated by the Anderson Company.

girlsatseniorhouseFor the next few weeks, I expect I’ll be writing about this move. About the confronting aspects of downsizing. About what methods we used to determine what living situation was right for us, what we needed, what we wanted and how we figured it out. Not to mention how we are going to take the trappings of 18 years and fit it all into four rooms. Ahem.


26 Responses to “ch-ch-changes”

  1. Barbara

    Cathy, I’m so happy for you! We did the same thing when we moved to Austin– actually we downsized to a rented townhouse for two years while we were figuring out what to do. (And we had just finished making our house and gardens perfect, too.) We also have similar aesthetic differences, but when we moved to Austin, I knew that Harry had always coveted modern Texas houses with high ceilings and open floor plans, so we went more with his. It’s not hard to get rid of stuff, especially if you know you’re giving/selling it to someone who can really use it. We freecycled almost everything. It was very gratifying. Enjoy the ride! I look forward to reading all about it. XO

  2. Jill Martineau Cornish

    I can strongly recommend the closest grocery store: Sniders has been my store of choice for 40 years! My weekly trek from Rockville always yields great veggies and fruit. The employees have become old friends. It will be your “corner store” in your new home. I love where are going and I am certain you will too. Lots of history there.

  3. Ann

    Did Louie and Mortie have a say in this?

    (BTW, Bravo! Our doggies loved condo living)

  4. Sharon Miro

    Fabulous….what a courageous thing to do. Moving is so hard, because not matter what you have to let go.xoxoxo

  5. Christine Rudalevige

    Wonderful news that you’ve settled on a place you both want! Congrats!

  6. Q.

    The National Park Seminary is so lovely. I want to live in the pagoda or the windmill. Lucky you!

  7. Burnt Offerings

    So happy for you! Helping my mother do precisely the same thing from a house twice that size with twice as many years of “stuff” in it. The new place looks amazing! Can’t wait to see pics! Hope the kitchen is up to standard. Will you have access to a garden?

  8. Carol Sacks

    Wonderful, exciting news, dear Cathy! Can’t wait to see the new place! xo

  9. Dottie b

    So happy for you. Just moved 5 days ago. I have been the family keeper all my life. Deciding what half of our life moved forward and whatever’s donated or sold exhausted me. But not that I’m in the groove, it has continued in my new home. It’s smaller and intimate and we actually use it! I’m so glad we did it. Good luck and if you have a yard sale please let all of us know


    Very happy for you Cathy – we’ll be doing the same thing in the next couple of years because ‘we’re not getting any younger!’

  11. Wendy

    So happy for you! That spot is beautiful – I often walk around there dreaming of living there. And, it’s still in the park! Is it in the old gym or the main building? Now you’ll be really close to my great yoga class…

  12. Cathy Grossman

    Gracious! This is very exciting and I wish you all the best.
    You seem to have found the just right next home for you — and that’s no easy task. Still, the actual process of downsizing is a challenge. If you want to bring in any professional help. I have a name to recommend who was brilliant in helping me move my mom.

  13. Amy S

    What a great location- just beautiful!
    Moved from bigger to smaller 8 years ago then again last year. So long as I got to keep my books, my yarn & my cooking items the rest didn’t matter. Except going through everything was like being on an emotional archeologic dig. Be gentle with yourself & give yourself time.

  14. Laura

    Congrats, Cathy, that’s an exciting change! I’ve found that one of the joys of having no kids is an ability to ruthlessly purge old “stuff.” It is very liberating indeed.

  15. Lynda

    Congratulations on the leap! We are also downsizing – in spirit, at least – since any move in the Bay area seems to mean an upsizing in price for less … This will be a year of taking stock, and looking ahead to our next location. I look forward to reading about your transition! Good luck!

  16. Erika

    Congratulations! Good luck with everything and I look forward to visiting you and Denis at your new home this year. Your delicious cooking will make your new space feel like home quickly! Take Care.

  17. Zora

    Congratulations! I hope the new space works well for you. We did the opposite–we upsized, after living for 18+ years in a tiny house in DC, that two previous generations of Jonathan’s family had occupied. Pack rats all. Every surface in our living room was crowded with objets d’artes, and our attic was crammed floor to ceiling with stuff his parents and grandparents had not wanted to take with them when they moved, but couldn’t bear to throw away. And J has an emotional attachment to all of his family’s stuff. So we brought it all with us. At least now, we have some room to breathe here, and most of the family tchotchkes remain packed in boxes so I don’t have to dust them. And we have a big basement.

  18. Diana Heiss

    Congratulations! I need to start preparing to move. Are we moving in the foreseeable future? No. However, I’m planning on Marie Kondoing the heck out of our house.

  19. Janna

    Best of luck! We’ll practically be neighbors–maybe hiking partners? It’s a beautiful location; I’m so happy for you!

  20. Katherine C. James

    What a wise decision. What wonderful news. My most sincere congratulations to you and to Dennis. I’ve never been a fan of large living spaces. My SF condo was 1100 square feet. My Chicago condo prior to that was not much larger. At the end of the time I lived in SF I lived alone, and I began to note how easy it would be to live in the bedroom, master bath, kitchen, and living/dining room areas, without the second bath and bedroom, which I used as a study. I love a cozy single-level space within a large enclosed structure. I love condos and condo boards and shared expenses. I’d like my next home to be the one in which I age in place, so I’d like a small, single-story unit in a high walk score area with many surrounding alluring Third Places (markets, restaurants, cafes, museums, theatres, and parks). This is the reason, aside from the lunacy of the SF Bay Area market, it is taking me so long to find a place to buy. I have the luxury of time, since I have a lovely place to stay, but I miss urban life and I miss my things. Despite missing my things, I am also aware that when I do move I will, without regret, say goodbye to even more of my possessions. Over my adult life I’ve tried to travel light, and mostly succeeded, But, in the act of closing down three houses in the last three years, I see how little it takes to live well; I see the weight of possession, and the joy of letting go. I wish you and Dennis much joy in your new adventures and in your new home. xo.

  21. Laurie Lou

    Congratulations! I hope it will be a great move for y’all. This looks like a really interesting place to live, I like the fun different buildings and it looks like a good place for dogs too. Good luck with the downsizing, I think it’s super smart to be doing that and it will work out great for you guys. I try to use the “if I haven’t used it in a year (or a little more) I don’t need it” rule when deciding to get rid of things. And this other rule that I learned while I lived in Austin that kept me from getting too much stuff: “I have to like something enough that I will keep it forever or until it wears out / breaks before deciding to bring it home”. Those have both been helpful, at least when I actually do them. You will feel lighter and more free once you downsize too, sort of like cutting off long hair and having fun short hair. lol. Have a good one!

  22. Phyllis Bregman

    Wise, wise decision. I wish you and Dennis the best of everything. We live in the most expensive property tax state, NJ, in a big house which is barely used except when the family visits, which is all the time. Soon we will begin looking around. I was born and raised in NYC, and it’s difficult for me to be away from it. We will see where we land. Enjoy.


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