Scouting expedition

The other day (which must have been yesterday, but feels like weeks ago already), John found a for-sale listing for retail space with an apartment above it just off Thames Street, and he took me by it on the way to work.  This morning, we decided to drop in to the real estate agency just to find out how much it’s going for.  We still want to own a used bookstore, and one way to keep costs down would be to own the building and live above the store, so it seems worthwhile to look into it.  We met an agent who understood what we were trying to do.  She didn’t try to push the expensive places on us or anything, and she wasn’t really pushing us to buy at all.  All we wanted to do was get an idea of space and see what’s available, what we might be able to afford, and if we might be happy living in an apartment again.  The short answer to that last one is probably not, not with dogs and not if we have any plans to add future family members.  But the experiment was successful.  We saw two places, both on the same street.  One had a smaller retail space (though nice), no yard at all, but two floors of living space above and a roof deck.  The apartment would need a lot of work to be nice, but it’s doable.  The second place was better.  There was more retail space, more interesting retail space (corners and turns, alcoves, a fireplace, etc), a little studio apartment behind the retail space with a back entrance that can connect to the upstairs apartment, a fenced in yard/patio (small, but cute), and upstairs was really nice.  Cathedral ceiling in the front room, with space for a table and a living area, a bay window, a (small) fireplace in the middle of the room, open on two sides, a breakfast area, a counter high enough for bar stools, and a completely redone kitchen (very nice), all new counters, cabinets (some with glass doors), appliances, etc.  The bedroom was fine, and the bathroom had a big whirlpool tub and two sinks.  There was another half-bath that was nice, too.  In short, it was a TOTALLY VERY AWESOME COOL building, and if John and I didn’t have two dogs and if we weren’t thinking about kids someday, we would reallyreallyreallyreally want this place.

But we do have dogs, and we do want kids, so I think we’ll rethink the whole living above a store thing and start looking at normal houses and renting retail space.  It’s not like this is going to happen immediately or anything.  John needs to finish his masters, we need jobs wherever it is we’d be going (or at least John would need a job), and we’ll need to figure out how we can sell our house without losing our shirts.  And, you know, our money.  🙂


  1. Ooh, I was hoping for pictures of the second place. Sounds very cool. It might be nice to live about your own retail space, because you could control the noise level pretty well.

  2. Zannah

    Wombat, we thought about taking pictures, but didn’t ’cause someone still lives there and we weren’t serious buyers. Now, of course, I wish I had. Here’s the site for the listing (only shows the outside):
    And here’s the link to the store:
    There are pictures of the store as it is now (with its current mauve/magenta color scheme) on the About page.

    Bridget, if we do buy a retail space with an apartment above, we will absolutely be looking for a live-in manager. Can’t promise it’ll be soon, but I’ll give you first crack at the job. 🙂

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