Home Book trading What I like about my home in Portland, Ore.

What I like about my home in Portland, Ore.

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Brenda W. Clough and her husband moved from Reston, Virginia to Portland, Oregon in early 2020. Brenda, a novelist, shared her experience and what she loves about her new home in an email . The following has been edited for length and clarity.

“My husband and I sold our large home in Reston, VA when we retired in early 2020. What a great time we had as both of our offices closed later that year. We moved to his hometown, Portland, Oregon, where we bought a condo downtown.

A major move is a great excuse to revamp your lifestyle, and I was almost done with the suburban experience. Now that my kids are out of the nest, we no longer need four bedrooms, a big yard, and access to high schools. We shifted gears and became city dwellers. Now, from my window, I can see the Portland Museum of Art. You can see trams passing by. We no longer need to mow the lawn, clean the gutters or weed the garden. The people at the reception accept my Amazon packages for me.

What I Like About My Home in DC’s Cathedral Heights

What I love about our new home is that it’s within walking distance of everything one might need. The Safeway is across the street. There are two weekly farmers markets several blocks away. The main branch of the public library is a five minute walk, the doctor and dentist are 10. There must be at least a few dozen restaurants within walking distance. It will take us years to explore it all, and then we can get on the tram and ride across town and explore that. Suddenly, life no longer revolves around driving.

I also wanted modern architecture. DC’s suburbs are almost purely Colonial-style, a mid-Atlantic thing. Now I have become a fan of poured concrete and brutalism. My current home has floor-to-ceiling windows. There is no procedure to follow. I can’t hear my neighbors and I don’t have screens on the windows. There aren’t many bugs downtown.

Because I am a novelist, I also needed a place that could accommodate our 10 large libraries full of books. I dragged those in the picture from the east coast to the west, the tools of my trade: a collection of science fiction and fantasy spanning 70 years and historical volumes focused on Antarctica or the Victorian England. And these are just the survivors of a major slaughter. I tossed out half the books and donated them to Reston’s Used Book Shop in Lake Anne, where I’ve been buying books for decades. It costs about a dollar a pound to move goods from coast to coast, a price that powerfully focuses the mind. Moving like this is an opportunity to prune all possessions. It was liberating to get rid of things in the basement, garage and attic.

What I love about my home in Mount Rainier, Md.

As you can see in the photo, I have a single 50 foot wall that runs the full length of the condo from the front door to the living room windows. It was this feature that sold me on the spot. Books furnish a room. Having them all lined up in one place makes organizing and monitoring them much easier. Now I don’t have to wander from room to room looking for that one volume on Wilkie Collins. Because this is an earthquake zone (like all of the West Coast), bookcases are secured to wall studs with seismic straps.

But the most dangerous feature of this dwelling? I live within walking distance of Powell’s Books, one of the largest new and used bookstores in the country. The 10 steel bookcases are nearly full, and I’ve sworn to myself that I’ll try to limit the acquisition of new books to a dull roar. I don’t want to have to move to a bigger place to accommodate the books.

In this ongoing feature, we ask homeowners what they love most about their home. If you would like to share your story, please send a photo of the room/item you like (preferably with you in the photo as well) and 400-450 words describing the space and why you like it: [email protected].