Our Home Back at Home
For the last several months I have been MIA from my new "real life", and ensconced back in my old Greenbelt neighborhood, in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. We bought a house there! We're not permanently moving back to the States--that's years off yet, Inshallah. But now we have a place to call home when we go back to visit family and friends.
Check out that roofline!
The house, a split level built in 1960, is a model of atomic age streamlining, with an asymmetrical roofline and smartly painted wood-panel trim. I love the look--and I love the location even more. It's on the same quiet residential block as my sister's house, as well as the homes of several other close friends. We had Sunday dinner with friends at the end of the street every week for years before we left the country, and will continue to do so whenever we come back.
Newly fabricated HVAC ducts ready to be installed
We purchased from the original owners, who lived in the house for over 50 years. It was essentially a very solid house, but it needed some updates and we wanted to add our own stamp to it. We also wanted to add air conditioning (which it lacked.)
Emergency tree removal
I arrived in Maryland right before Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, Couch Cut Tree Service was able to divert a crew to come out the day before the storm hit and remove several dead or dying trees from around the property. (I recommend them, yes.)
Builder's blueprint for "The Capri"
The original owners hung onto the builder's plans for the house, and passed them on to us. Imagine our delight to find that the name of this model is "The Capri"! I need to have cocktail napkins done up with "The Capri" in some space-agey font.
Distressingly solid construction
The biggest surprise during the renovation, though, was the discovery of a cement block wall bisecting the INTERIOR of the house. This was, of course, a wall that needed to come down....
Safety Red cabinets, for safety
My mother-in-law and I sanded and repainted the original kitchen cabinets a glossy red--Sherwyn Williams' "Safety Red." That, along with new sink, faucet and countertop and a new set of Ikea upper cabinets, gave the kitchen a modern feel on a (relative) shoestring.
Our home within our home
We made a small apartment for ourselves in the house, so that we have a place to stay in Greenbelt during the years that we live overseas. Others will live in the main part of the house.
Two generations of Gervasi Construction
Renovations continued through the fall and winter, thanks to Frank Gervasi and Gervasi Construction, Joseph Lynch for heating and air conditioning, and also We Love to Work. The latter did the outdoor jobs, including concrete work, moving and installing a shed, and leveling and seeding a new front lawn. Both contractors are excellent; I recommend them. Meanwhile, I was making design decisions and hardware store runs on a near-daily basis. This kind of detail work drives my husband crazy, but I love it. So it worked out well that I was in the States taking care of the house, while he stayed back in Saudi Arabia, trying to earn money as fast as I was spending it.
My Rolling Valentine
I had the luxury of not having to live in the house while it was being renovated. (I don't see how that would have been possible, but I guess if I'd had to, I would have done it.) I'm lucky enough to have a dear, kind, patient friend--the fabulous Kim Rush Lynch--with a big house and a comfy guest room. She and her husband kept a roof over my head for four months. While I was there, we did our best to drink all the wine in the tri-state area.
Kim is a retired DC Roller Girl who skates every week at Laurel Skating Center. I bought a set of skates so I could join the fun. A lot of the same people go to the rink every Thursday night, and it was fun to belong to that little weekly party on wheels!
Girl Scout presentation board on Saudi Arabia for Thinking Day
I also spent some good time with my family, and gave a presentation on Saudi Arabia to my eldest niece's Girl Scout troop. They were so curious about life in the Middle East! Many of them had misconceptions about Islam and about everyday life here--as most Americans do. But it was refreshing to hear the girls just blurt out the questions that I know others want to ask but are too polite to bring up. Why can't women drive? What do you have to wear when you go out in public? Why do women have to cover? Can you vote? Is the food any good? Do you like living there? It was fun to answer these questions posed by 10 and 11-year-old girls.
All that's left is for the grass seed to germinate
Renovation of the house finished up in early March, with new topsoil and grass seed laid, and a new, modern door and house numbers.
Happily, we found some great people to stay in the house while we're gone. So others will get to call The Capri home year-round, while we get to enjoy our little slice of the house during our trips back.
Now I'm back in the Magic Kingdom, thrilled to have such a great house in Maryland, but ready to turn my attention back to the wider world.
Where to next?
Greenbelt Lake, on my pedestrian commute to The Capri