Thursday, March 19, 2009

Local Effects of the Housing Downturn

The continued souring of the economy leaves me with mixed feelings.


    Despite the housing slump and the unavailability of credit, my immediate area is still seeing considerable renovation. Living in the city I would like to see the rise of urban living, with a resulting increase in services, and decrease in crime. Without investment in residential housing in the area increasing services and decreasing crime become more difficult. I understand I won't see the growth of the 2000-2006, but I don’t want to see decline. I was scared that the death spiraling economy would kill nearly all investment in the area, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

    In the past year the houses on the block behind me I've seen two houses add a level, and the renovation quality on both homes looks excellent. The neighbor immediately behind me is currently renovating his home, and two other homes are also currently undergoing major renovation. In this area, a major renovation means that the house is totatally gutted and built from new. This makes at least 5 homes either going through major renovation, or having completed a major renovation during the past year. With only 15 houses on this side of the street/block, that is about 1/3. I am pleasantly surprised that with this level of development, as I thought may 1 or 2 would undergo renovation.

    Also, there is now a dumpster sitting on my street. You see, here in Baltimore parking is on street as there aren't many driveways or garages. In some communities people would hate to see a dumpster on their street, but I am more than happy to see it. I'm ecstatic. It means investment, which translates to progress.


    My neighbor's house, as well as 1346 other homes in my zip code, are being put up for sale due to back taxes. The lien against the house is for $821. The house is taxed against a $284k "taxable amount". He, along with the other owners that owe back taxes have until 5/1 in order to pay their taxes or their homes will be put up for auction with a minum bid price equal to the lien value on the house. For a list of properties that owe back taxes and will potentially go up for sale check out

    While I'm sure most owners will pay their back taxes, but this sale shows just how cash strapped people are. I'm really not sure what effect this has on the area's future, if any at all. Guess we'll just have to wait in see.

In the meanwhile, we are still enjoying the house being done. There is a mile long to do list that I have been happily ignoring in my post renovation bliss. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend. Or next weekend. Or maybe next month…

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I've Been Interviewed

Danny over at Urban Discoveries Living Blog graciously interviewed me. Head over and take a look. They have a great blog that follows Baltimore and urban life - I highly suggest following it.

While perusing Urban Discoveries I came across a link to Ziger/Snead Architects. A few clicks later I found myself ogling pictures of their Rappahanock River House. I'm in love. Or at the very least, lust. Make sure you check out the interactive tour, or click through the full slideshow.

Eventually this is the type of place I want. It is on the water, modern, looks like it belongs on the lot, and all that glass.... *le sigh*

Sunday, March 8, 2009


In the quest to ban clutter from the counters I picked up a magnetic knife holder. The butcher block knife holder was banished to the garbage. In the block's place the magnetic Goddess holds my knives on a lofty perch atop the glass mosaic tile backsplash.


One day I'll be able to place a Global Knife in it... Some day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Transom

Ever since we ordered the transom from Steve at Wholly Terra we've been excited to have a piece of art that our neighbors and us can enjoy. Steve stopped by again tonight to install the transom.


I love it. All this for around $500 bucks, and that includes the 2.5 to 3 hours of installation. Totally worth it. I promised Steve I'd take more pictures of it in the light, but I got impatient. Expect more pictures showing it up close, during the day and some more at night. Pictures in better light will show all the different textures of glass he used, and all the various colors in the circles.

Also notice the brushed nickel numbers, new black door, and stainless steel chiasso mailbox and our new light. Our facade is looking sexy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Turkish Delight, on a Moonlit Night

A few weeks ago I made a resolution to wander more. Making good on my word, the Queen and I are headed to Turkey at the end of May.

We chose Turkey due to low cost and having a good comination of things to do - a good mix of city, country and even some beaches thrown in the mix. That said, the tipping point for Turkey was this article from Budget Travel. Specifically, the pictures below sold us on Turkey.

We are excited to see Istanbul, sea kayak over the ruins of Kekova, and most importanly take a hot air balloon ride through the canyons of Cappadocia. We'll be there for two weeks and are also looking to spend a few days in another European city. Paris, Rome, Munich, and Vienna are all on this short list - hopefully we can find an inexpensive direct flight from Istanbul. Hopefully I'll be able to update the blog while over the pond, and of course I'll take plenty of pictures.