March 17, 2003
House Hunters

This weekend we did two things to help me stave off the depression that weekends have seemed to bring lately: we rearranged the living room furniture, and we went to a bunch of open houses in San Francisco. The former was designed to make me feel more comfortable in our current home, and the latter was designed to give me hope that someday we'll live somewhere else. Long-range planning and short-range coping, if you will.

We were encouraged to find that there was much to be seen in our price range (in fact, there was too much to see in the limited 2pm to 4pm open house window). Most places were a bit too small, but not by much, so that's something. We didn't find our dream house yet, but we're beginning to compile mental pictures of features we really liked, and stuff we never would have thought would bother us, but did.

The neighborhood, it turns out, is probably the most important factor for both of us. A really cool loft in a scary or barren neighborhood probably wouldn't make us very happy. "City, but not too gritty" is my motto. On the other hand, neither of us is particularly keen on living in a popular (and populous) neighborhood like Noe Valley, with its 100 year-old Victorians and plethora of baby carriages. (I guess that would make the Haight our ultimate nightmare neighborhood, since it's both too Victorian residential and too gritty.)

We liked the area down near the Embarcadero and Pac Bell Park, as well as the area between Townsend and Bryant from Caltrain to Macromedia, both of which have some—but not too many—people, a few restaurants and shops, easy access to bus, train, light rail, and freeways, and a nice city feel. We didn't look over there yesterday, but both of us also like Mint Hill, which is where I lived for a couple years before buying the house in Truckee/moving in with Al. It's very convenient to the Castro, a 24-hour Safeway, restaurants, shops, downtown, etc., but it's on the edge of several neighborhoods and not really a part of any of them (which is a good thing).

We mostly looked at lofts, but we also saw a couple condos yesterday. The condos tended to be very stylish, but way too small. The lofts were larger, nicer, and less expensive, but none had the perfect layout for us. We saw a really neat loft master bedroom/bathroom in a building in the Mission, a dream kitchen that was much smaller than I ever expected a dream kitchen could be, a space that was so large I'm not sure we could have filled it, a place where the finishes were really impressive, and another that was incredibly peaceful, with a nice decaffeinating breeze swirling around its outside. Now, if we could only put all those lovely things together in one place—preferably in SOMA or South Beach—I'd be ready to move right away.

Al looks down from the bedroom in unit #106 at the 2412 Harrison Street Lofts

Posted by Lori at March 17, 2003 01:35 PM