We’ll Take Both

Back in the house hunt full swing, spending every Sunday traipsing up and down the East Bay, mostly getting dismayed but holding out hope. Today found two places that turned our cranks, though in very different ways.

House A is in Berkeley. We had mostly given up on being able to afford Berkeley, though we put a big premium on living “close in” to shops and good living. Fantastic neighborhood. 10 minutes hanging out with the neighbors and already feel like their friends. House is a little red farmhouse. Inside it’s a blank slate, ready to become whatever we make of it. Strangely configured, but all potential. The downside (there’s always a downside) is that it’s small. Smaller than what we’re renting. That’s a hard pill to swallow. We would have to simplify, get creative.

House B is in El Cerrito. 1950s ranch style. Turnkey, ready to move into. Has a good vibe and is open and spacious. Lots of room to spread out, grow into. Neighborhood feels safe. 5 minutes from Wildcat Canyon for great hiking. Downside: It’s out in June and Ward Cleaver land. The nearest shops are a Jack in the Box, a party supply store, auto row, and a strip mall. Nothing worth walking to. The street it’s on is busier. Biking to work would be harder.

Swallow the red pill, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes…

We love them both, but in very different ways. So we’re going to bid on both — a process that has to be undertaken carefully (there’s always the remote danger one could win both bids). Crossing fingers but not too tightly… but we’re SO ready for this endless process to move on to the next phaser… It’s been 18 months since we started looking, though we skipped the 6 months around Miles’ birth.

Music: Charles Mingus :: A Foggy Day

5 Replies to “We’ll Take Both”

  1. re: small spaces…

    you can do so much with proper closet space management. you know, those things they talk about on HGTV and TLC during those home-remake shows. go vertical.

    oh god, i’m such a virgo… :O

    nevertheless, it’s odd how things like “square-footage” and “area” are so important in living spaces. i mean, these places are 3D volumes and that extra dimension means a lot.

  2. Funny how your previous post illuminates this quandary. You’re faced with a choice between quality neighborhood and convenient big house.

    Your life will be simpler and richer in the Berkeley place, and you will develop ingenious storage and space solutions. You will also seed more money away for later (Miles college fund) because you won’t have as big a house to maintain and fill with the new toys. You’ll have better friends in the neighborhood. You’ll burn fewer fossils. You’ll eat less Jack in the Box.

    Go urban!

  3. I’m pretty biased having grown up in the densest city in the US, but I’ll join the chorus and say go with Berkeley. Being lost in Clever land is no fun, especially if you are in the vicinity of a Jack in the Calories…

    Would you rather have grown up in Berkeley or some blank suburb?

    Best of luck either way though, sure you’ll make the best choice.

  4. if you do berkeley, you’ll have ‘Berkeley’ on all your info until you move out. oyur wallet, your bills. berkeley will own you. you’ll be a berkeleyite. yuck.

    btw – el cerrito is less suburban that places within oakland itself. it’s not like you’re looking in castro valley.


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