Pacifica, CA

House Hunt part 8: The lure of the new builds

Kristen Philipkoski

This is a weekly series documenting a real family's quest to find a home in their beloved California coastal town, Pacifica, CA.

(A "new build" in Marina, CA)

After two months of searching, our quest to find a home in Pacifica looks to have failed. We think we’ve found our future home, but it’s not in Pacifica.

Instead, we’re looking to the land of Big Little Lies. Yes, Monterey, OK Monterey County in a suburb called Marina and we’re pretty OK with it. In the end we could not stomach (nor in most cases could we afford) the high price per square foot in Pacifica and most of the nearby areas.

When we initially found out we were losing the lease on the house we’d been renting for a decade, my husband and I were quite devastated. I especially mourned having to pull our 8-year-old daughter out of the elementary school she loves, and that we felt lucky to have gotten into via lottery—especially since she wasn’t even able to attend for the past year plus thanks to the pandemic.

And our friends—I couldn’t even imagine losing the possibility of spontaneous bike rides or gatherings on the deck for a glass of wine at sunset with our pandemic pod of friends who thankfully still seem to like us after a year of hanging almost exclusively with our faces.

I lamented losing the the view of the Pacifica Ocean that we never took for granted. My iPhone photo app just identified 1,392 sunset photographs and believe that’s an underestimate.

(Photo on the deck of our current home by Theresa Gonzalez for Apartment Therapy)

And I felt so down-in-the-dumps about leaving this house with the 70s vibe that seemed so “us,” (the SF Chronicle and Apartment Therapy even wrote about it) and with so much space for our family, which expanded to fit over that 10 years. Despite the old shag carpet and disintegrating kitchen cabinets, we love this house.

I know, bring on the tiny violins. We are beyond lucky in so many ways and I’m not looking for a pity party. It’s just, I suppose, that human aversion to change even though they also say change is good. Anyway, after two months of emotion wrangling, I’m surprised to feel almost excited about moving.

We’re pre-approved to buy a new home in Monterey County that will be built over the next eight months or so, and excuse my bourgeois tendencies but a brand new house sounds dreamy. New cabinets, countertops, a double sink in the owner’s bathroom and a walk-in closet? I will finally have a closet which is better than my current no-closet status. As the kids say, I’m here for all of that.

If we found something amazing in Pacifica that we could afford, I’d love not to move away from friends and our daughter’s school. In lieu of that, I’m looking forward to a new build (my friends have deservedly started mocking me for saying “new build”). We’ll have room for friends and family to come visit. And we can start fresh with a home designed the way we want it. Well, mostly—it is a tract home after all. But we will have quite a few choices.

And that brings me to the next phase of the House Hunt Series. Since we believe we’ve figured out where we’re moving, the series will likely be on hold for the next several weeks until we start building, unless something crazy happens. But I’m planning to come back with details about the building and design process once that gets started. Even though it’s part of a tract, I’m hoping we can personalize the home to make it very “us” and I’m not so sure how possible that is, so, fingers crossed. I hope to have an update in two to three weeks so please follow me on News Break for updates!

Check out the rest of my House Hunt series: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Comments / 1

Published by

I'm a veteran writer and editor and founder of Mean Magazine and The Mean Podcast for GenX women. I write about everything from fashion to science and everything in between. I’ve written for Racked, Refinery 29, 7x7, SF Chronicle, Wired, Gizmodo and many others.

Pacifica, CA

More from Kristen Philipkoski

Comments / 0