The Pursuit: From a Four-Bedroom to a Studio

by Shilpi Paul

Gonzales and Lexie in their new home.

For eight years, Sam Gonzales, 33, lived large in a three-level home in Gaithersburg.

“I had an office, a gym, a guest room, and still had enough space for a roommate,” he told UrbanTurf.

Gonzales, a social media manager for a Bethesda company, bought the four-bedroom townhouse in Gaithersburg because he wanted to be close to his family in Germantown. The roommate helped with the mortgage.

Gonzales’ former home in Gaithersburg

However, Gonzales was finding that he was spending more and more of his free time not at the house, but in the city. He would often crash on a friend’s couch in DC on Friday night, hurry back to walk and feed his dog Lexie on Saturday morning, and then drive right back in. “It was starting to take a toll on me,” recalls Gonzales, who ultimately decided that DC proper was where he wanted to be.

So he began his search for a home in the District, first in the H Street Corridor, attracted to the restaurants, bars and row houses that could offer him a similar amount of space in a city atmosphere.

His budget was in the $300’s, and he soon learned that the houses in that range needed too much work or were not quite to his liking. After six months without finding anything, Gonzales took a break.

A couple months later, he met friends at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf in the Southwest Waterfront for a concert. Arena Stage had just reopened, some shopping options had popped up, and people were out and about. “I drove down and was amazed by how much the area had changed,” Gonzales remembers. His housing search not only resumed, but took an unexpected turn.

Gonzales called his agent Jennifer Myers, who pointed him towards Potomac Place Tower at 4th and I Streets SW (map). The eight-story building is filled with relatively inexpensive studios, one-bedrooms and one-bedrooms plus den. Condos hadn’t occurred to Gonzales before, because of their size, but then he started thinking about all the things he wouldn’t have to worry about.

“I don’t have to mow the grass, don’t have to worry about the roof. All of it started sinking in,” said Gonzales.

A studio at Potomac Place Tower

While maintenance wouldn’t be a major concern, what about the home office, the gym, and Lexie? The towers have a gym and business center in the building and the National Mall and waterfront could offer places for Gonzales to take Lexie on walks.

Realizing her could afford to buy at Potomac Place and keep the Gaithersburg home, Gonzales purchased a 550 square-foot studio there last fall. He says downsizing has been freeing.

“I had a dining room set [in Gaithersburg] that I’d used only twice in eight years. My guest room was used maybe a couple times a year. I realized I didn’t need any of those things.”

Gonzales says Lexie is loving the change of scenery; at the old place, she mostly hung out in the backyard. The waterfront has also been inspiring to Gonzales. He is exploring the possibility of starting a ceviche and fresh fish taco restaurant in the area, and his proximity to the water has helped get him back into sailing.

“When I lived in the suburbs, I had a sailboat that I never sailed,” he said. “Now, I am a block away from the water.”

As for the big house out in Gaithersburg, Gonzales is now the landlord to a family of four.

See other articles related to: the pursuit, southwest waterfront, potomac place tower, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_pursuit_from_a_four-bedroom_to_a_studio/4776


  1. anon said at 12:02 am on Saturday January 7, 2012:

    I’m sure Lexie is thrilled!  What a miserable life to stay at home waiting for him to show up - she gets walked, fed, and left again all night, only to see him for 30 minutes for a walk and food the next morning, then left alone AGAIN!  Or worse - left outside all the time.  Hope PETA doesn’t find out!

  1. sam said at 3:17 pm on Saturday January 7, 2012:

    please don’t call PETA lol. she was not left outside or was miserable, she is like my kid!  Another reason why I had a roommate..and I didn’t come home for just 30 minutes

  1. nate said at 8:33 pm on Saturday January 7, 2012:

    sam, where’d you get that wine rack/bar?  It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

  1. sam said at 9:39 am on Sunday January 8, 2012:

    got it @ crate and barrel years ago,  not sure if they still carry it but it’s a great bar/rack

  1. Mary said at 5:39 pm on Sunday January 8, 2012:

    As a SW resident, I say welcome! Glad you like the area. And I would be most welcoming of and a devoted patron to the marvelous idea that is a ceviche and fish taco place…

  1. Rafael said at 1:42 pm on Monday January 9, 2012:

    I actually live in this building, and basically have the same story. I too would also be a frequent visitor of the restaurant should he decide to open one up.

  1. buydccondos said at 5:18 pm on Monday January 9, 2012:

    Congratulations! What a great story. I’m sure that you are finding the move has been exciting and life changing. There are great places to walk your dog and the Potomac River offers you fun boating options just outside your door. Until you open up that restaurant, I’m sure you will enjoy the Maine Avenue Fish Market at 1100 Maine Avenue, SW. All the best!

  1. relax said at 12:31 am on Tuesday January 10, 2012:

    the first commenter is out of control and most people would be like sam and say their dog is “like their kid.” the first commenter probably believes that their pit IS their kid.

    congrats on your move…

  1. Sam said at 5:17 pm on Wednesday January 11, 2012:

    thanks for the feedback on the restaurant concept, also playing with the idea of a wine bar and hosting outdoor live music events this summer. We have some really cool outdoor spots not being to used! BTW I’ve started calling Southwest: SoMa - South of the Mall wink

  1. Jane McAward said at 8:20 pm on Wednesday April 17, 2013:

    I am looking to move into this building - comments around the internet have me a bit worried about the neighborhood (single female).

    Do you feel safe walking around / getting to the Metro?


  1. sam said at 9:38 am on Friday June 7, 2013:

    @ Jane, I do feel safe, however you have to use common sense if you are walking around late at night. There have been isolated incidents but that happens all over DC not just SW. The building is close to the metro and there is good security and police presence.

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