Environs

By Chord Bezerra
Photographed by Todd Franson
Published on July 15, 2004, 12:00am | Comments

Leave behind the confines of condos for this electrically eclectic 4 BR, 3BA Virginia stunner in West Alexandria. Plenty of room for myriad parties, all under the watchful eye of Lucy.

After deciding that condo life was not for them, Zade Ramsey, who works in the visual department at Hecht's, and Ali Sayer, a vice-president for a consulting firm, started searching for a place with a little more autonomy. They found a home in West Alexandria with a big yard, beautiful sunroom and enough space for a party or two.

Ali: We moved in here five years ago. We rented a condo together for about a year and half before that. It was a real nice condo and Zade wanted to buy there but I said, "No. I want a house."

Zade: He's into gardening, which I didn't care anything for. I was not very enthusiastic about it and if I had my druthers, I guess we would have been in a condo. Now that I have been in the house I have found it much more rewarding. I feel a lot of autonomy now. Living in an apartment you are constantly running into people on the elevator.



Ali: There is no privacy living in a condo. [In the sunroom] This room sold the house for us.

Zade: It's not part of the original house. The previous owners added it on.




Ali: Our style is one size doesn't fit all. Here you see everything from modern to classic. Would you call it eclectic?

Zade: I would definitely call it that.

Ali: Each room has a personality.



Zade: A lot of the art in the house was done either by Ali or myself. We have [an art] studio downstairs. This Lucy painting was done in 1988. I was a huge fan of Lucy -- as you might imagine from the painting -- and I painted it right after she had died. The day she had died, I got this bird and named it Lucy, which is why there is bird in the painting. Basically I wanted it to look like a 1960s billboard.

Ali: It was in a show and someone made an offer to buy it.



Zade: I wouldn't sell it. I‘m just so attached to it and I don't think I could ever do it again.

Ali: [In the back yard] The back yard is not really that big. It is only about one quarter of an acre. I used to have one acre. When I moved here there had been no landscaping. So, I started little by little and I did everything myself. Then three years ago I injured myself working in the garden and I ended up in the emergency room. Since then every May for the past three years something has happened with my back so all my plans to finish landscaping have been postponed. The yard is getting there but it is not what I want. What's the rush? That's our motto.




Zade: We work a lot so we don't always have the energy.

Ali: We work a lot and we party a lot.

Zade: [In the living room] We looked for a house that would be conducive to having parties. This house was literally perfect for it. After 9/11, a good friend in New York he called us and said, "I know we are inviting ourselves -- but do you think a couple of friends and I could come down and spend a weekend at your house." It had been two weeks since 9/11 and they had all been very depressed and wanted to get out of town but didn't really know where to go or what to do. He knows that we like company so we were like, "Sure."




Ali: Nine of them came down.

Zade: So we had a morning party.

Ali: Probably a hundred people came. There was no problem with the neighbors.

Zade: No one has ever complained.

Ali: This isn't a gay neighborhood but the neighbors are very friendly, in terms of gay-friendly. We used to have a Persian family live next door to us. They had a son and a daughter who where in their twenties. They moved out about two years ago. Well, we ran into the son -- who was straight when he lived there -- about six months ago…

Zade: At Lizard Lounge.

Ali: He says, "You made my life easier when I came out to my parents. My parents loved you guys and when I came out they said, ‘Hey Zade and Ali were nice people.'"

Zade: They had never known any gay people before. It made me feel wonderful.

Ali: Of course we said, "We wish you were gay when you lived next door."



Does your house, condo or apartment have a story to tell? Let Environs know about it. E-mail environs@metroweekly.com.


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