When my husband and I moved to the DC area 7 years ago we didn’t understand the traffic. We had no idea that living 15 miles outside of DC, still in the dense suburbs would mean an hour or longer of a commute for my husband to get to work. An hour each way that is.
Where we are from (the Midwest) 1 mile roughly equals 1-2 minutes of driving. NOT the case in the DC area. We learned this the hard way. For a year.
We knew pretty quickly that spending over 2 hours per day commuting in and out of the city wasn’t going to cut it. So when our lease was up we promptly moved into the city, just around the corner from my husband’s office. I worked from home at the time so it didn’t matter much for me where we lived, but he didn’t want to commute that long anymore and I didn’t blame him.
After four years in the same place a job change prompted another move within the city. We loved both areas we lived in for different reasons. Both will always have a soft spot in my heart.
Recently we moved again (only 4 times in 8 years, not bad). This time it’s a more permanent move — we bought a home.
The thing about living in the DC area is that where you work, and what you do on a daily basis, is really important when considering where you want to live. Because of the dense traffic and high living costs in the DC area, you have to factor in so many things that in other cities aren’t as much of a consideration.
No one wants to spend two hours everyday, 10 hours a week, in stressful traffic. Like they say, location location location. When you are looking for where you want to live in this city, especially when it comes to putting down roots, it’s all about the location.
Location in proximity to your job, to transportation, parking, good schools, your favorite places to go and things to do.
Not only do you want to love the location of where you live, but you also want to love your physical space. The actual aesthetics of it. What does it feel like to you? Is it cozy, modern, open, comfortable, updated, functional? What are you looking for in your home? What can you live without? What are the non-negotiables?
Taking all of that into consideration, you also have to think about your budget. As much as I didn’t want to move out of DC proper, in most cases, we found we could get a lot more for our money just by going outside of DC proper (into the DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia). For the price of what we bought our row home for, in the areas of DC we wanted to live in, all we could get is a 1-bedroom condo. So we moved out of the city.
Although many areas “outside of the city” don’t actually feel that way considering how dense the population is for tens of miles outside of DC proper. So if you are dead set on staying inside the city but are struggling to find what you want, coming from a city girl, I’m going to encourage you to open up your mind.
One more thing that is so important to consider when choosing where to live is community.
Having moved away from most of my family and a lot of friends as an adult to a city where I literally had two acquaintances — not even friends at the time — I intimately understand how important it is to have a community around you. I had to rebuild mine.
Finding somewhere to live where there is community or where you can build a community, can really change your level of happiness. I’ve found this to be true over and over again, especially now that we bought a home, community is something we took into major consideration before we even decided what neighborhoods to look in!
I took all of these photos in the gorgeous new townhomes at Montgomery Row in Bethesda. While I live in Alexandria, I have several friends who live in Bethesda and they love it. Bethesda is such an amazing community with lots of good schools, restaurants, shopping, is literally right next to DC proper, and has its own charm to offer.
I teamed up with Montgomery Row to talk about loving where you live, and I must say, one step into these townhomes and I was like, hello gorgeous. Beautiful finishes, spacious living spaces, the kitchens…oh the kitchens.
One thing that was very clear to me about how this townhome community was built was that they really thought about how modern people like to live. There is a lot of storage, big kitchens, garages, rooftop terraces, lots of light — so many things that you always dream of in a home.
One room I thought was especially thoughtful was the option to have an office — but the fact that it’s on the first floor, completely separate from your living space so you can have clients in without having them come into your home. You can choose how you want the space finished — don’t want an office, maybe you have some teenagers that need space to chill with friends, or you want it as storage or as another garage space. There are tons of options for whatever works best for you.
One thing that was super important to me when I was looking to buy a home was outdoor space. I love to spend time outside, and these townhomes have amazing rooftops!
Dying over this tub situation. I want a soaking tub so badly! Especially one that is separate from the shower, that is something I really want in my next home.
If you are looking in the Bethesda area, or maybe even if you weren’t but now you’re thinking, maybe I should, definitely go check out Montgomery Row. I was really impressed with how beautiful they are!
Photos by Emma Weiss for MegBiram.com
This post was sponsored by Montgomery Row. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that make this website possible.