The Magical House and Fairy Garden
After a long search of hundreds of houses across San Diego Tu finally found her dream house and moved into the beautiful home this week. Tu knew the instant that she walked into the fairy tale backyard of the house that it was her dream home. She called me to come over and take a look at the house. She never told me why. The minute I walked into the backyard I was instantly overcome by a sense of calm serenity and peacefulness. The backyard reminded me of a Japanese Tea Garden and at the center of the garden stood a Banzai Tree which was planted over 50 years ago. The garden was a complete masterpiece – a work of art and something that evoked emotion and feeling from the instant you stood in it.
Well, the backyard was not the only incredible thing about the house. The entire interior of this beautiful property was painstakingly remodeled from floor to ceiling. Hardwood floors, completely new kitchen, new appliances and entirely renovated bathrooms were the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the cake of this place.
While the garden was magical and the house beautiful, the real energy and soul of the place was the history of the family that lived there and grew up together there. In 1961, 50 years ago a young couple Del and Grace purchased the small home in Clairemont with the vision of raising a family in the beautiful town on San Diego. Over the next 50 years they did have the family they dreamed of having 3 boys and 2 girls – Christopher, Geary, Michael Leslie, Lisa and Denise.
I had the chance to meet with Lisa on various occasions and she filled me in on the history of the house and shared with me many stories about what happened there as they grew up. As she told me the stories, I thought back to my own childhood home and realized that selling the home must have been a very emotional experience. It was not just a house to them, but a place where almost all of their best memories happened. I felt honored that they would entrust us with something so special. Having viewed many of the homes that Tu was interested in, I had a chance to view lots of homes with very little soul or character – flips where sometimes unscrupulous buyers would buy properties cheap from distressed homeowners, do a few cosmetic changes and then try to sell the property for tens and thousands more than they bought it for. I think that is what made this house incrementally more special to me. It was a diamond amidst the rough housing market. Lisa told me the story of the garden and how her father came home from work each night and trimmed the trees and roses, how her mother had carefully selected clippings of special plants from places she had visited and planted them in their garden. Each plant held special meaning in this garden and things that would not grow anywhere else in San Diego defied the odds and grew in this backyard. Maybe the plants and tree’s grew not only on sun, soil and water but on love. Lisa mentioned to me that she began the renovations over 6 months ago and that it was an outlet for her after she lost her partner. I realized that this renovation on her families property was not about money but love. It was a labor of love for her father, her mother, her family and loved ones and for the memory of her childhood. This was about bringing the home to its most beautiful state before saying goodbye. Well it was quite touching and made me realize that this home must be taken care of and protected to protect the legacy of so much that has happened before.
The day before the closing – Lisa’s father came by the house to drop off a gift for Tu. It was a Buddha statue from a ruined temple in Vietnam. The statue was beautiful and we placed it in the center of the garden. It was the perfect place for the statue. The whole garden seemed to come together after this perfect and thoughtful gift. Later that day, I looked out in the garden and saw two hummingbirds playing and flying from tree to tree. As I watched outside, I thought to myself that this truly was a magical house.