I have this problem. I think its a good problem. A well-known reality TV show wants to film their upcoming season at my house. The producer of the show had been looking for a unique location to film this season’s show hadn’t come across the right spot. A location scout referred the producer to our place, and when he stopped by to see it, he made an offer on the spot.
Here’s the deal. My husband and our two dogs would need to move out of our house for four months – starting in three weeks! At that time, their production crew would move all of our personal belongings into a storage facility.
The production crew would spend a couple of weeks renovating, possibly repainting, and furnishing our place for the show. When the show’s over, we’d have the option of keeping the changes they made or having them restore our loft just as they found it.
Last week, I told them, “No Way!” First, this is our home, and it has a huge yard for our dogs. Second, it’s New Tricks World Headquarters, and my team works here. Third, it’s The Urban Oasis Bed and Breakfast, and we have guests booked about 40% of the time. And, those are just the first few objections I have to the idea of disrupting my life in this way.
I dug in my heels. I told the producer I couldn’t do it. “It’s just not possible; I love my life here just as it is,”
A week passed, and I figured with the deadline approaching they must have gone ahead and signed someplace else. I thought it was going to make a great story.
But, last night at 9 PM, I got an email from the producer offering more money and asking me to reconsider.
I started thinking about how comfortable my husband and I are in this house and how well our life works here, in this neighborhood with our kids and granddaughter living within blocks from us. But the deal is not forever. It’s just for just four months. Could my reaction mean I’ve become too comfortable?
I’m a firm believer in getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. I’ve done that all my life. More recently it has shown up in business; starting an online course, taking on and succeeding with much bigger website projects and doing all of that while running a Bed and Breakfast. But, in other areas, lately not so much.
At 2 AM, I started to shift when I got to thinking that we’ve lived here for 20 years and wouldn’t it be nice to have everything moved out to get the concrete floors resealed and buffed. Oh, and there is our horrible garage with shelves full of who knows what and five of every kind of tool.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything taken out and then only bring back what we want and need?
At 3 AM I started thinking about where could go for four months. Where else would I like to visit and live for a bit? Where else could we take our dogs and be happy?
I thought, perhaps we could take off for a month and go to the beach. I was really stepping out.
I’ve never taken a month-long vacation. Maybe it’s about time.
You might ask, “What’s so special about your house?”
Our house is a retro-modern loft that I designed and built. Here’s the backstory. . .
Twenty years ago, the software company I started with my ex-husband, outgrew its space. I didn’t want an ordinary office building, and since having a software company that ate up expendable cash, I thought it would be fun to find and renovate a warehouse that would accommodate both a cool office and a loft space that I could build out for our family to live.
I knew someone who wanted to buy our stately, 1920’s era Mediterranean home, located on the shady street where Driving Miss Daisy was filmed. And after eight months of looking for the right spot, I found an 18,000 square foot clear-span warehouse, located on the perimeter of a great neighborhood, a mile from Downtown Atlanta and two miles from my kids’ school. And, “It looked like all my dreams,” quoting from The Big Orange Splot, my favorite children’s book, by Daniel Pinkwater.
From outside, the building looked like hell. It was all boarded up and surrounded by fencing with razor wire wound along the top. Most everyone thought I was crazy.
Except for a 1940’s paneled office in the front, the rest of the building was completely empty. With sealed concrete floors and a thirty-foot barrel timber ceiling, it looked like a huge skating rink.
I had a vision, and it was perfect; I whipped out my checkbook and began an adventure.
I rezoned the building and over the next two years turned this derelict building into seven loft condos. Within a few months, I got our office ready as well as an existing space above the office where we could live while building out our loft in the back. I then built out the last four units, bootstrapping the payments for the construction as we solde them. We eventually sold the software company and my now ex-husband moved a couple of miles away. I stayed in the loft and remarried.
In 2009, during the recession, my kids had both gone off to college and I had started New Tricks. I looked around at the 5,500 sq ft loft and had the idea that my husband and I should rent out the kid’s bedrooms rather than having them sitting empty. My husband, Duane is a champ and said, “let’s give it a try.” I branded the B and B as the Urban Oasis Bed and Breakfast. This was pre-Airbnb, so I made our own website. We’ve been doing what the kids call our “side hustle” ever since.
When I bought the warehouse on Krog Street, I knew being on a defunct railroad track that ran through the city was a good thing and that eventually, someone would make it into a “rails to trails”. And coincidentally, in 1998 when I was buying the building, Ryan Gravel was across town at Ga Tech working on his master’s thesis in Architecture. His topic was how Atlanta could use these rail lines that circled the city to create A 22-mile urban trail system, It took ten years but in 2010 the East-side trail of the Atlanta Beltline was built right in my backyard.
Now the 130 Krog Street building is at the epicenter of all the new bars, restaurants, and shops that have sprung up in the neighborhood to accommodate the people who flock here to use the Beltline trail.
I do love my loft, the web design company, my B and B guests, my kids and grandbaby near. It seems like a good thing that everything revolves around me, in my orbit.
And it is, but so is stepping outside my comfort zone. I think I should shake it up and say yes. I think taking on the adventure that has just barged into my safe, secure life might be a very good thing.
Tell me, what do you think?