finding the site


As  some of you can tell, my blog has been lagging in posts lately. That's because for the past couple of months my time has been consumed by one of my biggest projects yet... designing and building our own house.

Let's rewind back several months, Gary and I were looking at a house to buy here in Los Angeles. We narrowed down our search to a few locations due to commutes, schools, conveniences, and amenities. The house hunt was bleak, the good ones got snatched up in bidding wars and the bad ones were still $300+/sf for a little shack that we would have to put some more money and sweat into before it is livable.

We then took a little break but it wasn't really a break because it was still on my mind. I was obsessed with this one particular town. It had everything we wanted: good schools, walkability, Metro, quaint main street, a weekly farmer's market, great parks, and so close to Pasadena with all the shops and restaurants. I started to study the satellite maps of this area, going down street by street. That was when I discovered a few parcels that didn't have any structures on it. I noted those addresses and when I drove to the first location I found a sign that read "For Sale by Owner" with some stats of the parcel and a phone number. When I called the number, an older lady answered, she told me her asking price and if we were interested to meet her with an offer. I then checked with my amazingly wonderful real estate lawyer (who dropped everything on his plate to put together our letter), who confirmed that this was a great off-market deal. Basically, I called on a Saturday, I was at her house by Tuesday with a letter of intent, and we closed 2 weeks later.

The story is this lady had owned a house on this piece of land and it had burnt down 40 years ago. She's held onto it since; for whatever reason I'm not sure but I have a few guesses. I do really believe in things-are-meant-to-be. She said she had put up the sign only a few weeks before I found it. The timing was perfect, the land is perfect. It's walking distance to the Metro, elementary school, park, the main street where all the restaurants and shops are, farmer's market, and even Trader Joe's. It's also flat and large enough for a house and a generous yard. Check. Check. Check.

This is every architect's dream come true and I am extremely blessed to have this opportunity and the support of all my husband, family and friends on this big endeavor. My architectural background is mainly in commercial buildings on the east coast, so designing this house has been a huge learning curve. I'll be posting more about the whole process: design, city review, permitting, bidding, construction, and down to the interiors. So, please check in when you can.


  1. This is so exciting! It's going to be a great house, no doubt :)

  2. Can't wait to watch the experience unfold!

  3. Congrats, can't wait to see the house! -Roger


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