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comfort zone

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.

130 Krog StreetExcept 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.

130 Krog

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.

130 Krog StreetWhen 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.

Urban Oasis Pool

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?

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Showing 23 comments
  • Karen Cleveland
    Reply

    YES!!! Go for the adventure!

  • Lisa Newmann
    Reply

    Absolutely. What an opportunity! You can write comfortably from .. Rapallo, Praiano, Gubbio or Trieste … and hike in the afternoons, drink local wine to Italian sunsets and maybe even find as glorious a loft (actually, probably not). What inspiring living space you have! I would go for it.

  • Karen
    Reply

    Oh! I love a good adventure. Take lots of pictures at the 🏖.

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Thanks Karen. It looks like its going to be a go. will get a contract later this week.

  • Renee
    Reply

    Go for it!!!

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Thanks! Now all I have to do is find a place to go where the pups will be happy.

  • Diana Simon
    Reply

    What does Mr. D think? Know it’s a matter of unplugging the Mac’s to relocate. I hosted a couple for a month at my B&B, whom rented their home to Clint Eastwood. House looked better afterwords! They also went on a cruise. March sounds like a great time to head to la playa.

  • Susan March
    Reply

    Think of the advertising power of this adventure! It could boost your B&B, web business, and give you some amazing memories. I say go for it! That’s what laptops are for!

  • Denise Henderson
    Reply

    Duane seems to be on board. You have the opportunity to give your space a facelift or have them put it back. Your employees could work from home or lease another space for a month on the real company’s dime. Best of all, you could take a really nice relaxing vacation.

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Denise, Duane is on board but it is four months! That seems like a long time but it really isn’t.

  • Jeff Cohan
    Reply

    Just do it.
    Life is short.
    WTF.

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Hey Jeff, I said yes and now it is only figuring out the details!

  • Yolanda Enoch
    Reply

    The Real World is FINALLY coming to Atlanta. What a fun adventure and story you will have to share! I remember doing a staycation at Urban Oasis in 2013 – before the surrounding shopping area was developed – and I loved your place. Would’ve stayed more times had I not moved to LA in 2014. I stopped watching the Real World, but may just watch it since I’ll know they’re filming in your spot.

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Yolanda, Thanks for reaching out. What are you up to in LA? Come back and visit after the show!

      • Yolanda Enoch
        Reply

        Yep, it’ll be five years in LA on February 3rd. I’ve been consulting (People and Business Operations) and started a podcast. I haven’t been back to Atlanta since I left, but plan to remedy that this year.

  • Carol Niemi
    Reply

    Judi, I love your blog. It’s always interesting because YOU are interesting. I say take the deal if you can find a place where your dogs will be happy. If they’re happy, you’ll be happy. Plus, you’re getting a free home renovation and a paid vacation!

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      Carole, You’ve got it. The dogs need to be happy! ANd the renovation aspect after 20 years was what convinced me

      • Carol Niemi
        Reply

        And you have four months of material for your blog!

  • Dana Reeves
    Reply

    Yes! A million times YES! Can’t wait to read about all the adventures!

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      We said yes. Now waiting for the contract and negotiating the details. Yowsers!

  • Veronica
    Reply

    This is so exciting!!!! I’m so happy you are moving forward! You will be able to find a beautiful yard for the puppies and you should definitely travel!

  • Kate
    Reply

    Go for it! 4 months will fly by. What a great story you’ll have to tell…..among many.

  • Alison
    Reply

    How fun!

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