We’re Building a House!


In July 2011, Aidan spent a week at Camp Olympia. As I was driving north on Avery Road to drop him off, admiring the surrounding trees of Rock Creek Park, I saw an unassuming “Lot for Sale” sign planted at the intersection of Avery and Southlawn.

I was immediately intrigued, since it was clearly a decent-size lot in the middle of the woods. But I didn’t have time to stop, and of course by the time I dropped Aidan off and got to work I’d forgotten all about it. Except I drove by the lot twice a day, every day that week. By the end of the week, it had finally permeated my subconscious to-do list.

I checked the listing online and was encouraged to discover that the land was already approved for a 4–5 bedroom house (“perc approved”). This was key, since Anne & I had turned away from a beautiful lot in Beallsville 15 years ago specifically because it never got perc approval. The price was reasonable for a 2.6-acre lot in the middle of Rock Creek Park, 2½ miles from downtown Rockville. (In the satellite photo above, Rock Creek Park is the wooded swath within the yellow border; for a better view, open the full satellite view in a new window.) And interest rates were at an all-time low, thanks to the Great Recession.

We talked about it. We talked to our parents. We talked to a realtor friend of my dad’s. We made an offer for somewhat less than the listed price.

We were accepted.

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