Kirkwood bungalow slashes commute for mom

While commuting from Johns Creek to downtown Atlanta, Alison Camacho and her baby were stuck in the car for two hours every weekday.

As daughter Taelyn turned 2, Camacho and her husband, Juan, decided they needed to sell their home and buy a house closer to her job in Georgia State University’s Intensive English Program. To shorten the distance and get out of the traffic, they were prepared to sacrifice space and possibly buy an older home.

The priority

Each workday, Alison would leave around 6:30 a.m. for the 30-45 minute drive to Georgia State, where Taelyn is in daycare. “In the afternoon, it would end up being an hour to an hour-and-a-half. I said, ‘Something needs to change,’ ” said Alison, 38.

Besides having to sing countless “Wheels on the Bus” renditions to entertain her daughter, Alison wanted more time to play and enjoy time with Taelyn. Jayne Smith with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties helped them sell their Johns Creek home in four days. Then they could move forward with buying intown, working with Kirsten Conover with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties - Midtown.

The search

Originally, concerns about intown home prices and sizes caused them to look in Smyrna and Marietta. “The more we talked about it, I said, ‘Why are we moving? Because my commute is too much to handle,’” Alison said.

Keeping the location as a priority, they refocused their search on Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood, which had homes priced in the low $300,000s range and was less than five miles from Georgia State. Although the homes there had more of a minimalist style, a Craftsman bungalow that Alison viewed after work one day had the location and a charming look, from the front porch. Alison also drove to the home a couple of weekday mornings to test the commute and figure out the best roads, instead of using I-20.

The house

With 10-foot ceilings, the three-bedroom, two-bath home felt spacious, and the backyard was even bigger than their Johns Creek backyard. Plus, the home had an attic for storage and the potential to expand with more living or bedroom space.

Some renovations had been made to the home, which was built in 1928 and retained the original pine floors and three decorative fireplaces. The kitchen was more updated than their smaller Johns Creek kitchen, which also had older cabinets, and offered space to entertain international students and friends. Sacrifices included giving up the garage and having smaller, older bathrooms, especially after they had redone the master bathroom in their Johns Creek home.

The lifestyle

The home is only three miles from Georgia State, and it’s also more convenient for Juan, 38, a building operations supervisor, to pick up Taelyn at the daycare. Now they have time to use the playground at nearby Coan Park, because the drive from downtown Atlanta typically only takes 15 minutes. “I can’t express how happy we are,” Alison said.