Thursday, July 06, 2006

Begging for Bungalows

Being my first post, in my first 'blog, on my first webpage, I'd like to welcome you all! Thus shall I begin my/our documentation of building a "home" for our little family, most hopefully of the bungalow variety, while being un-shy of restoration/repair/rebuild needs. My wife, Roxana, and I, Michael, are both trained in architecture, San Francisco Bay Area natives, and as-yet not homeowners. Because we are now fully committed to changing that last aspect about ourselves, I figure that now is a good time to start this little journal... for those yet to embark on this precarious journey, for those waxing nostalgic about their past forays into homeownership, and for us to laugh at (or cry) in a scant few years from now. Today marks the day of our bid submittal!

If you are not familiar with Bay Area living, lets get one thing clear...housing is freakin' expensive, and that encompasses an area larger than many states. What one would pay for a 2-bed/1-bath house anywhere around here would buy a mansion in most parts of this country. But still we chose to stay here, and have narrowed our search to Vallejo, CA. This city is located on the NE of said bay, Marin to our West, Oakland/Berkeley to the South, and SF to the SW. San Jose and the Silicon Valley are 'way down South' at the bottom of the bay.

Vallejo was the first capital of California (for less than 1 year), and then became the first Naval Shipyard for the Pacific Fleet. Since the closure of the military base on Mare Island in the early 1990's, the city had acchieved it's slow decay. Evidence of this 'patina' can be seen everywhere, yet today, there are massive plans/strategies to revitalize the city proper, the waterfront, and the island. The promise of potential!

Here is what we need for our fulfillment of "home":
  • minimum 2 bedrooms with the ability to expand to 3 in the future
  • a sizable enough yard for our girls to safely play in
    (we have a 2 yr old and another due in September, 2006)
  • SF Bay Area
  • 'safe' neighborhood
  • workshop (detached space for eventual home-business)
  • painting studio
  • under $400k

Bonus points for the following:

  • Arts & Crafts bungalow
  • an 'old' home (+/- 100 years)
  • original doors/windows and hardware
  • near downtown living
  • solid/cohesive neighbors & 'hood
  • 9'+ ceilings
  • 'corner market' nearby
  • park nearby
  • historic significance
  • water views

Fairly tall order, we know, but we can dream. Tomorrow, I will describe our current prospect and object of the forementioned bid.


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