Against The Odds – How One Family Found Their Buckhead Dream Home In The Middle Of A Global Pandemic (And Kept It A Secret From Their Kids)

Sixteen months is a long time to live as a family of four in a small apartment while home searching. Now add a global pandemic to the mix that forces two parents to work remotely full time, limits excursions to outdoor activities, and keeps kids confined to the close quarters of apartment living and you’ve got a recipe for cabin fever. That’s precisely the position that the Parrilli family found themselves in when they realized that their long-planned new house build was no longer the right choice for them in early 2020. Shortly thereafter came the shutdown and all the related complications.

“No one expected quarantining in an apartment with two kids and two working adults,” said Amanda Parrilli, mother of Ryan, 9, and Katelyn, 7. She and her husband Dan had originally planned to stay in the apartment for only about a year while working on the new house, but everything changed during the pandemic and they found themselves on the hunt for a new home. “We started to work with Ben Hirsh on selling the lot,” said Amanda, who was faced with starting the search for a house anew. “We told Ben we were looking, and that our kids go to Pace Academy and we just wanted to be closer to the school and their friends and activities,” she explained. 

The family had toured a number of homes together and Dan and Amanda had noticed that the process was a little hard on the kids who would get excited about a new house only to have their hopes dashed when the deal didn’t go through. “We felt like we really needed to keep them from getting their hopes up before we really know,” said Amanda. The family had toured one of Ben’s new listings, a home that was being constructed by Macallan Custom Homes just down the street from Pace Academy, and while they liked it they weren’t ready at the time to put in an offer. As construction progressed the Parrillis fell in love with the home and they were finally able to purchase the home, going under contract in May. 

When closing day arrived, the kids were sent away to visit their grandparents. The entire purchase had been kept a secret. After the move-in had happened and Ryan and Katelyn returned, it was time for the big reveal.  When Dan pulled up with the kids to see Amanda waiting to greet them at their new home, emotions overcame Ryan and Katelyn. “Did we get the house?” asked Ryan, incredulous and excited. 

Home At Last

The kids were all smiles as they explored their new home, seeing their rooms beautifully set up with welcome signs, climbing on all the furniture, and perusing the stocked fridge and pantry ready for their arrival. Katelyn jumped on the bed shouting exuberantly, “No more apartment! No more apartment!” Finally they donned their bathing suits and took their first joyous leap into the pool out back. 

“The house is beautiful, they did such a nice job,” said Amanda of the Macallan team, noting the exceptional flow and usable space in the home. “It really seems like it’s going to work really well for us.” While the layout, design, and construction of the house made it an ideal home for the Parrillis, the location also added to the appeal. 

“We walked them to school on Thursday, said Amanda. “It was their first day of school and we were able to walk with them which was a nice thing to do as a family.” 

“It has been really great. They have had friends over to be in the backyard or the pool; they weren’t able to do that before in the apartment. I think they are really enjoying that they have been able to be outside more.” Amanda regularly walks to Starbucks at West Paces Ferry for a coffee in the mornings, she says the roughly 15 minute walk is a nice way to start the day. The family, who used to call Virginia Highlands home, really values the walkability of this location to local restaurants, stores, and Pace Academy.

While navigating a new home purchase amidst a global pandemic was certainly a daunting task and one that was at times really disappointing and challenging, Amanda feels that the decision was ultimately positive for her family. “It feels like we are starting new,” said Amanda. “Yes we are still quarantined and we are still going through the same things, but it feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we are on the other side of it.” 

“It is such a wonderful part of my job to be able to help families like the Parrillis,” said broker Ben Hirsh. “Now more than ever there is a lot of emotion in the process of finding the right home. In this case they had waited so long, and now that they have finally found their home it is a weight off of their shoulders.”

Welcome home, Parrilli family. 

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