Back when my husband and I were still just dating, one of our favorite Sunday afternoon activities was to grab a cup of coffee from Central Coffee Co. and drive around the neighborhoods of Charlotte looking at houses. When we saw a house we liked with a for sale sign in the yard, we’d pull over, look it up on Zillow, and browse pictures of the inside. It’s like window-shopping, but for houses. Not creepy at all.
Throughout all of our exploring, we both agreed that if we could pick any neighborhood to live in, we’d pick Chantilly. That was always just a dream, never an imagined reality, as we knew the majority of houses in the neighborhood were priced far outside our budget.
Early last spring, our fantasy turned into an actuality when we found a charming 1940s colonial style home within our budget. We couldn’t believe it! To this day we feel like we got the house for a steal of a deal, but we credit no one swooping it up to the fact that it needed a little facelift and that the previous owners had it staged with more knickknacks than you can possibly imagine.
Seven reasons we decided to buy and renovate in Chantilly:
My husband is absolutely wild about sidewalks, which is honestly something I never thought to consider. During our house hunt, if the neighborhood didn’t have sidewalks, it was all but ruled out. Now I understand the benefit – I wouldn’t want to be running, walking a dog or pushing a stroller in the middle of the street. We love Chantilly because there are always neighbors out and about, walking their dogs or just getting a breath of fresh air. One of the biggest things that drew us to the neighborhood was the fact that we could walk to some of our favorite spots in Charlotte, which brings me to my next point.
I truly believe that Chantilly is located in the most ideal spot in Charlotte. Sandwiched between Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood, it’s a little pie shaped ‘hood that just doesn’t get any better. I’m obsessed with the fact that we can head out our front door and walk to our favorite CLT spots in 10 minutes or less. Favorite spots include, but not limited to: Sunflour Baking Company, Hawthorne’s Pizza, Viva Chicken, Earl’s Grocery, Elizabeth Creamery, Common Market, Soul Gastrolounge and Workman’s Friend.
In Chantilly, no two homes look the same. I’m vehemently against rows of cookie-cutter houses, so the variety in Chantilly makes me happy. Every house – even every front yard – has its own unique personality. With so many renovations and additions going on, the neighborhood is becoming more interesting by the day.
I’m not a professional in this area, but I do understand the simple fact that my husband and I purchased our home for several hundred thousand dollars less than what other houses on our street are selling for. Again, we credit this to the fact that it was a fixer-upper decorated with a plethora of trinkets. Even after putting a chunk of change into renovations, we feel that we’re in a great spot financially, should we ever decide to sell.
The folks that live in Chantilly remind me of the friendly neighbors you’d see in a movie. You know, the sweet people that come knock on your door to ask for a cup of flour? We don’t even live in our house yet and we’ve already met the majority of the families that live around us. We have neighbors that check in on our renovation progress while my husband and I are at work (complete with photo text messages to keep us up to speed), offer to get our mail when we’re out of town, and give us homegrown veggies from the gardens in their backyards. The community is amazing.
I love living in the heart of Charlotte, and to be honest, I didn’t want to have to move out to the suburbs once I had school age kids. Many of the other neighborhoods we were considering, like Sedgefield and Madison Park, were within our price range, but districted for not-so-great schools. When we realized that the home we were looking at in Chantilly was districted for Oakhurst Elementary, we were sold.
Oakhurst was closed in 2011 due to budget cuts, but just re-opened this school year as a K-8 STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) partial magnet school.
(7) Chantilly Neighborhood Park
Our yard isn’t huge, but we were never worried about a space for future kids (of the human or fur variety) having a big space to play, thanks to the neighborhood park. Just a few blocks down the street, Chantilly Neighborhood Park boasts 7 acres filled with two great playgrounds, a disc golf course, a volleyball court, ping pong tables, walking trails and a large multipurpose field.
To keep up with our Chantilly 1940s renovation, feel free to follow along with the weekly updates on my personal blog, Meet Virginia.