Lori Story #4: How these Empty Nesters downsized their home and still have room for the kids

A colonial, brick house adorned with white trimmed windows, Brian Gottlieb and his wife’s Fairfax station home was their dream house. Their front yard had a resident fox, and trees enclosed the house on all sides. In a suburb outside of D.C, their home was both a 30-minute drive from the heart of the city and a quiet getaway. Wildlife sightings were a daily occurrence, nights were enjoyed making brick fired pizzas, and when the air got cool, they retreated to the warmth of their hot tub. To top it off, there were bedrooms aplenty.  

With an empty nest approaching, Brian and his wife exchanged their 5-bedroom brick home in the Virginia woods for a 3-bedroom brick townhome in Lorton’s up-and-coming Liberty Development. The Gottlieb’s new-build townhome is part of a larger project to repurpose one of DC’s oldest maximum-security prisons—the Lorton Reformatory— into a collaborative community space. The prison’s historic campus of facades, buildings, and guard towers now house loft apartments with airy light and restaurants and retail shops selected to enhance the development’s modern feel.  

New Town Home

For the cost of space, the Gottlieb’s townhouse gained urban appeal. But with just three bedrooms and five family members, bedrooms became a hot commodity. So, Brian began to search for a way to use their townhome’s rec room as a bedroom—when needed.  

“We wanted a place for people to sleep when they visit. We have a rec room on the first level, and we didn’t want to turn it into a full-time bedroom. A murphy bed was the perfect solution,” Brian says.  

For its cost-effectiveness and simple assembly, Brian chose the Lori Wall Bed. When it arrived, Brian built the bed with ease.  

“It was easy, fun, and very straightforward—it came out really well. 

Rec Room with Lori Wall Bed

The townhome’s rec room has a large brown sectional couch contrasted by a white area rug. A hutch houses a projector that is used for movies and video games—battlefield, grand theft auto, and baseball games—depending on who’s playing. The room’s newest addition, the Lori Wall Bed, serves as both part-time shelving and bed.  

Since moving, the holidays have held some of their new home’s most special memories. Brian is Jewish and his wife is Catholic, so for the Gottlieb’s, the year is packed with holidays. And when the holiday’s come around, Brian and his wife enjoy their full house.  With two bedrooms up for grabs, Dylan, their son, has claimed the Lori Wall Bed.  

“The Lori Wall Bed is right next to our Christmas tree. Dylan is 21, but we still don’t know if he knows the truth about Santa. So, it requires us sneaking around him to place the presents under the tree.” 

With two kids in college and one set to graduate in May, when the Gottlieb’s downsized, they had expected a mostly empty home. Then, the pandemic hit, and all of a sudden, their family of five was all home in their three-bedroom townhome. Dylan spent March to August sleeping on the Lori Wall Bed. 

“If we didn’t have the Lori Wall Bed, he would have had to sleep on the couch. There is a lot of privacy in the rec room and with the queen-size bed and big projector for video games, he loved it,” Brian says.  

Lori Wall Bed and paddle board

Despite the host of challenges the pandemic presented, the silver lining for the Gottliebs was having their family together for months. Among their favorite pandemic activities was cooking.  

“We like to eat together as a family, so we [my wife and I] cooked a ton— the kids like to eat. We signed up with Hello Fresh and cooked three different meals a week.” 

Among their favorite pandemic culinary concoctions were homemade ramen, tacos, and turkey lasagna.  

The Lori Wall Bed has provided a much-needed bedroom for the Gottliebs during the holidays and pandemic, but it also supplies shelving space to house treasured memories from their favorite ski trip to Park City.  

Brian and his wife grew up skiing on the East Coast in New England. When they had the chance to take their whole family to Park City, it was a dream come true. The trip culminated in a whiteout snowstorm that provided the powder skiers can only dream of. And for the first time, the Gottliebs got to experience the famous champagne snow conditions. Best of all, the family gets to remember the delicious meals they shared, falls they took, and the time they spent together through the pictures on their Lori Wall Bed.  


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