As more Chattanoogans make the move downtown we wondered, is it worth giving up the white picket fence?
At least two homeowners at the One North Shore complex are delighted after trading more expansive digs for comfortable, new amenity-laden homes within walking distance to nearly everything.
Katie Patil, 50, admits that transitioning to a condo lifestyle two years ago was an adjustment. She recalls feeling a bit claustrophobic in her new two-bedroom, two-bath abode-but not for long. After a few weeks, she realized her new home offers something her previous 6,500 square feet didn't - peace of mind.
"I feel really safe," she says. "Also, I love that I can go to the beach with girlfriends and not worry about a yard. The management company here is excellent, so if there was ever a problem I would know."
Of course, other amenities don't hurt either. There are the resort-style pool she enjoys during warmer months, the penthouse club room which provides perfect seating for Riverbend, and a bird's eye view of the riverfront from her balcony.
In addition to being a stone's throw from local restaurants and attractions, Patil is just a ten-minute drive from her job as a telephone triage nurse with Pediatric Diagnostic Associates.
When decorating her new home, Patil contacted Melanie Nation with Design Details. Using a palette of chocolate brown and soft blue, Nation created a quiet space punctuated with complementary patterns such as the zebra print rug in the den and harlequin-print accent wall of the master bedroom. Downsizing after a divorce, Patil was looking for a space she could call her own.
The mother of three occasionally shares her tranquil surroundings. In addition to her cat named Bo, Patil's oldest son, Dusty, 24, currently lives in a spare bedroom while on surgical rotation at Erlanger Health System during medical school. When her other sons, David, 21, or Dan, 14, visit for the weekend, they enjoy the amenities as well as nearby attractions within walking distance.
To keep things from getting crowded, Patil takes advantage of the complex's optional storage space. For a small fee, she can rent a double-door closet down the hall to store bulky or out of season items like suitcases and Christmas decorations.
Though she had to pare down when making the move, Patil couldn't be happier with her decision. "It took a lot of stress off not to own a house," she says. "The more you have the more work you have to do."
When Karen Culp can find the time, she loves to cook. This may be due to the view from her kitchen sink. Through a wall of windows in her seventh-floor condo, Culp, 31, witnesses both the excitement of a city and the tranquility of nature, including nighttime reflections of the downtown skyline in the Tennessee River.
"The city literally sparkles at night, which is so pretty," says Culp. "We also see autumn colors when the leaves change, and we can hear birds and tree frogs chirping in the spring and summer."
And while she and her husband, Stephen, enjoy the view, they're more than just silent observers. The couple explores their surroundings by strolling through Renaissance Park, walking across the street to shop or grab a bite, and biking through downtown, the Riverwalk and even the Southside.
What first attracted Culp to One North Shore was the openness and warmth of the units. As creative director at Smart Furniture, she saw the space provided a perfect canvas to experiment with furnishings.
Initial innovations included the pop of a lemon yellow side chair to contrast with a low profile, neutral couch.
Culp always knew she wanted to live downtown. Not knowing a soul when she moved to Chattanooga in 2005, she wanted to be close to businesses and people so she wouldn't feel alone. After renting in the area for several years, she decided two years ago it was time to find a place to truly call home. She and Stephen toured several condo developments in the area as well as houses and other neighborhoods. One North Shore was easily the best choice, says Culp.
"We were seeing that the entire area was developing and becoming more interesting," she recalls. "We were trying to plan long term, and it seemed like the perfect fit."