by Chord Bezerra
Published on December 11, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

Photography by Todd Franson

This is where you want to live: An almost-new 3BR, 2 1/2 BA, 4-floor townhouse in the always convenient ‘burbs of Alexandria, where all that extra space means a country and jazz fan can happily cohabitate with a contemporary pop fan.

When their social life started to slow Mark Podrazik and David Elliott knew it was time to find a new house. After six years of painting and furnishing they were on the verge of feeling at home. Then came a temperamental Christmas tree.

Mark: We moved in March of ‘97. We were living in Herndon and, needless to say, my social life was disappearing. We just knew this was a good location for us. We were actually the first ones to move in on the street.

Dave: I work downtown. But we decided long ago that because jobs change you should live where you want to live. When we first moved here we had a lot of friends who were moving out to the ‘burbs and we had a lot of friends in Northern Virginia so it made a lot of sense for us to stay close enough to D.C. to do things on the weekends.

We were looking for a newer, larger townhouse.  When you buy more out here you get a lot more space. I think we are definitely suburban types.

[In the kitchen] We loved the kitchen and figured we would spend a lot of time here. We love the windows. When we get up the morning sun is shining in, it's always very bright in here. This kitchen is not the kitchen that typically goes in this model house. The kitchen that was designed for this house had an island right here [in the middle of the current kitchen]. We saw this kitchen in one of the other model homes and they agreed to build it in our house. We picked out all the cabinets, doors, counter tops and backsplash.

Mark: There were two or three disagreements, but for the most part I think we have pretty similar styles. I think I am less married to certain ideas so I would say to Dave, "Go to the design center, pick everything out and give me your top two. I'll pick from your top two." It was a lot easier.

Dave: Mark got into blue cobalt glass years ago.

Mark: It looked good, but once people know you like something they give it to you every year. I need to say, "We are moving on to a new theme."

Dave: [In the rec room] We probably have about 600 CDs, all different genres.

Mark: There are core things that we both like but we also diverge quite a bit, so that's why our collection has expanded. Every once in a while he buys something that will be for the both of us but most of time one of us will come home with a bag of CDs that the other has no interest in. I like country and jazz.

Dave: I like the current contemporary stuff -- Dido and Sarah McLachlan, Sade…

Mark: Soccer mom music. [In the hallway] We had a commitment ceremony in 1997 right after we moved. My mother wrote a poem that she read out at the ceremony. As gift she had a friend who does calligraphy [recreate it] and she had it mounted. It was so emotional -- the whole ceremony was unbelievable. We had people who you never thought would cry that were just bawling, reaching for tissues. Only my mother could upstage me at my commitment ceremony.

Dave: And she did, she just did a beautiful job.

Mark: [In the living room] Well, of course, being gay men you have to have a big tree. We have the routine down from previous years, I put on the lights and Dave does the rest of the decorating. It's a pain to put the lights on because I'm very meticulous. They always have to be white and the more the merrier -- there are fifteen hundred lights on the tree. I was painstakingly putting them all on and it seemed that when I get another hundred on they would all go out. So it took hours and hours. After hour four they all went out and the tree started to move and almost fell on me. Dave gets home and we try and reposition the tree and finally we just had to go and get another stand. So he ran out while I just stood there hugging the tree for twenty minutes. We finally got that fixed and all the lights went out again. I told him, "You better enjoy this tree. You're not getting another one for ten years."

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