Monday, March 15, 2010

The Year in Review

I guess there could be some readers out there who are wondering where I've been of late. In case there are some inquiring minds, I've neglected this blog as I've been busy with a new project at work and I took last week off to help my parents move from their home in Sarasota, Florida to their "independent" living facility in Georgia. Ironically, my parents move was one year to the date of our move to Richmond, Virginia. Lying awake at night, unable to sleep because of all the unexpected stress of the move, I was able to reflect on how hard it is to change one's living arrangements, especially as one gets older. I wasn't prepared for the range and depth of the emotions that were cast about. Sadness, anger, confusion reined one minute and in the next we were doubled over with laughter. In the end, they got where they were supposed to be with only a few bumps in the road and I'm glad that they have each other to lean on as they navigate this next and possibly final phase of their lives. It making me think about what I would want for Harry and me when we get to that point - hoping that we do.

It has been one year now that we've been living in Richmond. Looking back I have to say that I'm glad we sold our suburban home and are living the city life. As we age I think it is important to keep people of all ages around you. And, one should be able to get around without a driver's license (Georgia issued a license to my father - he was as surprised as I was). When and if I can't drive, at least I'll be able to get to the convenience store for a package of hot dogs and a bottle of wine, oh and dog food as I'll no doubt have several.

This weekend I went on a tour of downtown Richmond lofts with a friend. I had it in the back of my mind that the move to a loft would be a great next step as Harry and I get up in years. That is, if you can pay the doorman to walk the dogs when its raining, and early in the morning and late at night.
The first loft we went into was the in the building known as Vistas on the James. Vistas is located right on the banks of the James River and Canal Turning Basin. This isn't what I think of when I visualize a loft in my head - it really is just a condo. Words aside, the view from the balcony was breathtaking. The owner had moved here from the Fan neighborhood. Hmmm. I'd have to get rid of a lot of stuff - I think I could do it.

One thing that this place has that I don't is tons and tons of light. Oh, another thing - they're almost right on top of the railroad tracks - you'd be rumbling in your condo about 20 times a day. I'm not sure if, over time, that would drive me nuts.
You could almost reach out and touch the tracks.

The next stop (the tour, which cost $20 included a bus ride too all the lofts and free parking) was across the James River in the area known as Manchester.
This is more what I envision when I hear the term "loft" as it as an adaptive reuse of some warehouse space. There are fourteen residential lofts in the open style. This was the first residential rehabilitation project in the Manchester Historic District. The developers pioneered Downtown Richmond’s expansion to the Manchester area with the conversion of this building formally known as the Cheek-Neal Building. I love the old windows, old exposed brick, the columns and the creative use of space.
I like the way the owner displayed her photos on this old ladder.

I think I'd have to rent here first before making a big monetary investment. It could be echoey without a lot of walls. For more information on historic Manchester and its transformation go to:

The next loft stop that is worth a mention is River Lofts at Tobacco Row. These rental units are close to the Shockoe Bottom district of the city and the James River and the units were very cozy and had amazing views.

I'm not ready for this lifestyle yet but I can see a day when it might work. Right now I'm enjoying my back yard too much and the ability to dig in the dirt when the spirit moves me.

I've got a long list of things to do before Haven opens its doors to the Fan Women Kitchen and Garden tour.

I'll try to post as I go along. I'm off to the paint store now to buy some turquoise paint for the shed's door and shutters.