Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village – Garden Grove

The Garden Grove Historical Society owns and maintains an impressive museum snugly tucked in amongst modern track housing communities. The Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village consists of a 2-acre plot packed with 17 historic buildings, some replicas and others original. Each building is uniquely themed with accompanying artifacts. Many of these structures and relics date back to the 19th century.

1 Ware-Stanley House  - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The city of Garden Grove is home to a fair amount of early 20th century dwellings, not to mention the many historic homes throughout the rest of Orange County.

2 Dining Room in Stanley Ware House - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Grant, a local history teacher and volunteer for the museum, led the tour during my recent visit. His extensive knowledge of historical practices and artifacts is truly singular.

The tour started in the beautiful Ware-Stanley house, which was built in 1891 by Edward G. Ware. The porch was restored to its original state, complete with its charming gingerbread trim, after having been a bathroom for much of the 1900s. The house was passed on through the generations. It’s most noted occupant and owner was Agnes Ware Stanley. Agnes was well known for being a highly educated woman for the times. The home is filled with many of the family’s belongings.

Grant led us through the home, describing the daily activities and hobbies of the former residents. He would periodically present the tour group with guessing games in which he would introduce an object and ask us to guess its function. For example, Grant showed off a hot-coal-heated foot warmer and a vacuum cleaner in which the user pumps the handle to produce suction at the base. Grant also showed us a nifty “refrigerator” with lazy Susan shelving. The antique fridge even features a spigot on its side to pour cold water melted from the ice blocks in the icebox. My favorite part of the tour had to be when Grant played a Beatles song on the pump organ in the dining room for us. I was so impressed with not only Grant’s excellent playing, but also that the 124-year-old organ can still play, and so beautifully, too.

Another impressive building is the Fire Station, a replica of the station originally located on Garden Grove Boulevard. The station is a one-story building with a garage, office, and accommodations for the firemen. The building displays old firemen suits, outmoded fire control artifacts, and an original fire hose, which is slung within a small tower, as it would have been for drying.

3 Fire Truck - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Fire Station provides shelter for a magnificent 1926 La France fire truck. The Garden Grove Fireman’s Association maintains the truck, which is still drivable to this day. Grant explained that since the fire truck is still registered as such, only firemen may drive the vehicle. We did get the pleasure of hearing its horn, which Grant demonstrated for the group.

4 Disney Garage - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Disney Garage is likely the most famous structure on the property, particularly with Disney fans. The one-car garage sat behind the home of Walt Disney’s uncle and was the first workplace where Disney practiced animation starting back in 1923. A group called the “Friends of Walt Disney” donated the garage to the Garden Grove Historical Society in 1984. The society was the only group contacted by the Friends of Walt Disney that would accept the garage and keep it permanently on display. The Garage was delivered to the site and assembled there. It came with nothing but it’s boards and beams but is now filled with a collection of Disney memorabilia and animation-related apparatuses, including an antique film projector. Grant did show us one discovery – etched writing on an inner door with a list of quantities of various fruits and preserves.

5 Film Projector Inside the Disney Garage - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

The Barber Shop and Electric Shoe Shop structure features a collection of barber tools and electric shoe manufacturing machinery used by the former owners of the building. The building also displays the dental equipment and medical devices, including a few items belonging to Garden Grove’s long time physician Dr. Violette.

6 Barber Shop and Electric Shoe Shop - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Other buildings visited along a tour include the General Store, Schoolhouse, Post Office, Schnitger House and Emerson Hall.

7 General Store - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village

Touring the Stanley Ranch Museum and Historical Village was a fun learning experience. A special thank you to Grant for an exceptional tour of the grounds and to the Garden Grove Historical Society for maintaining such a great collection of historical artifacts and structures. It never ceases to amaze me how much Orange County cherishes its historical sites and neighborhoods.

8 School House - Stanley Ranch Museum & Historic Village


The Stanley Ranch Museum & Historical Village
12174 Euclid St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Tours are held at 1:30pm every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. The tour lasts 1-2 hours. The suggested donation is $5 per adult and $1 per student (up to the age of 18). For more information, visit the Stanley Ranch Museum website or call the Garden Grove Historical Society at 714.530.8871.


Anaheim Packing District – Celebrating the Past with Community

Downtown Anaheim is a treasure trove of history and culture. The Anaheim Packing District, a newly renovated historical site, is nestled in the heart of the downtown area and features dining, and event space. The Packing District was at the heart of the county’s citrus production during the height of the area’s agricultural era. The district has been reinvented and is now poised to be a popular community-gathering place for food, education and fun. The Packing District houses the Packard Building, the Farmers Park and the Packing House.

01 Packard Building Street View - Anaheim Packing District

The Packard Building, also called the Packard Showroom, was constructed in 1925. The building initially showcased the Packard luxury car. The structure underwent many changes over the years. The mission revival style building has been renovated to reflect its original state. Lush landscaping and antique lighting fixtures line the building. Its extensive patio dining space is the perfect space for large parties with broad views of the Farmers Park.

Two trendy restaurants, Umami Burger and Anaheim Brewery now occupy the renovated Packard Building. Foodies flock to Umami Burger for delectable gourmet hamburgers, including the Welsh Rarebit, for which the recipe dates back to 1919. Anaheim Brewery has a legacy of its own to lend to the historic district. The brewery was originally established in 1870. In 1920 Prohibition forced Anaheim Brewery to cease production. 90 years later in 2010, the brewery was re-established in the Packard Building and offers its original brews, such as Anaheim 1888, as well as new recipes.02 Packard Building Dining - Anaheim Packing District

The Farmers Park connects the Packard Building with the Packing House. It features beautiful landscaping and wide-open spaces ideal for large gatherings. The two-acre plot comprises an olive grove, redwood boardwalk, grassy knoll and community gardens where visitors can find many grow beds containing tomatoes, artichokes, lettuce and more plants. The park also has an outdoor Ping-Pong table ready for use – just bring your own ball and paddles!

03 Farmers Park - Anaheim Packing District

The park has a packed schedule with unique events occurring each month. For example, in March the park hosted “Firkfest”, Orange County’s first Cask Ale Festival. Starting June 1st, the Farmers Park Market, a California Certified Farmers’ Market, will take place every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. More exciting events to be held at the site include the summertime Farm Folk Festival, Annual Halloween Parade Float viewing, German Christmas Market and Farmers Park Flicks outdoor movies.

04 Artichoke at the Farmers Park - Anaheim Packing District

The Packing House was constructed in 1919 along the Southern Pacific Rail Line. It was a center of commerce for area farmers who came to the building to sell their citrus harvest.

05 Packing House Grand Opening - Anaheim Packing District


The Packing House is now set to be a go-to space for chowing down. The former Sunkist packing facility has been renovated to accommodate as many as 25 restaurants. Cafes and kiosks will serve food and beverages. The two level building features a large central atrium with food court-style dining. Patrons can also enjoy outdoor picnic gardens and a building-length dining porch looking out to the Farmers Park. The Packing House will have its Grand Opening celebration on May 31st from noon to 10pm.

06 Packing House Rail Car - Anaheim Packing District

The Anaheim Packing District in Downtown Anaheim is a great example of Orange County’s emphasis on community celebration of the past. In addition to these historic hubs, Orange County features many beautiful historic homes. These houses frequently come on the market but disappear fast. If you are looking to get into your own historic dream home, then Better Living SoCal is your go-to resource. Contact us today to take the first step towards owning your perfect home.

Extra Packard Building Dining Area - Anaheim Packing District

Visit the Anaheim Packing District website for event information, directions and more details on the historic significance of the area.

Touring Downtown Anaheim – Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair

Center Street Promenade in Downtown Anaheim bustles with excitement every Thursday afternoon and early evening during the certified farmers’ market and craft fair. The two blocks between Anaheim Boulevard and Clementine Street fill with smiling vendors and their colorful booths offering assorted crafted goods, garment collections, gourmet condiments, produce, snacks, meals, plants, flowers, and more during the Downtown Anaheim Farmers’ Market.

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to explore the event. The farmers’ market was especially exciting to us as we are new Anaheim residents. We parked in the adjacent parking structure and entered through the craft fair.

1 Walking up to Downtown Anaheim's Certified Farmers' Market and Craft Fair

We immediately noticed the Park & Read, a mid-century aluminum trailer home surrounded by a wood deck, potted pine trees, chairs and tables. The trailer, outfitted with bookshelves, offers a plethora of literature. The set-up created such a peaceful, whimsical vignette. How could you not stop in your tracks and admire the scene? Imagine walking out of one of the two coffee shops lining the Park & Read, plucking a story from the shelves and settling into a chair to soak up the sun and sip on an iced coffee.

2 Park & Read at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We continued on through the craft fair where we saw hand-made jewelry and soaps, antique knick-knacks, vintage clothing, accessories, artwork, amongst other interesting finds.

Next up was the food area where you could find anything from humus, tamales and pupusas, to honey, roasted corn and assorted gourmet teas. The air was filled with mouthwatering aromas.

3 Delifornia in Food Court at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We ended up grabbing some yummy dollar tacos and a delectable sandwich at the food court. The dollar tacos at Cervantes Mexican Kitchen were delicious. You could definitely get a great lunch without spending more than $5. We had the al pastor, beef and chicken tacos. The seasoning on the tacos was perfect. The meat, onions and cilantro were all extremely fresh. The tacos came with perfectly fried flour tortilla chips.

4 Food Court at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

We also visited Delifornia where we picked up a Sourdough Club from the winter menu, which has crispy prosciutto, roasted turkey, tomato, avocado, wintergreens with garlic dijonnaise. The sandwich was gone in seconds it was so scrumptious. For our side we got the very tasty potato salad. We will definitely head back to both Cervantes and Delifornia to try out more of their menu.

5 Delifornia sandwhich from the Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

Our next initiative was to stock up on fruit and vegetables. The selection was ample. All the fruit we sampled was so sweet and fresh. We decided to shop at the stand offering organic produce and picked up some ripe strawberries, celery, cilantro and broccolini for a great price.

6 Organic Produce Available at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

At the far end of the farmers’ market we found a hidden gem of a booth, “The Cactus and Succulents Fat-Plant Man” stand. There, Cliff sells an impressive collection of beautiful plants. He grows his plants with care and can tell you anything about the many species he raises. His booth’s banner states in bold lettering “The Fat-Plant Man.” Cliff will explain the meaning behind his nickname is that his plants are so plump and that it doesn’t refer to his round shape whatsoever. He smiles when one chuckles in response. Cliff’s character is big and very sweet. He will give anyone a hug as soon as he or she walks under the canopy. Stop by and say “hi” to him for me.

7 Cactus and Succulents for Sale at Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market

Downtown Anaheim’s Farmers’ Market may be a little difficult to find on your first visit. I got a bit lost on the way over myself. If you habitually use Apple Maps or Google Maps on your smartphone to get around like I do, then keep in mind the following tips, as using a map app may get you close but not there.

The Farmers’ Market is on Center Street and Lemon Street. The best place to park is in the parking structure on the north corner of Center Street and Anaheim Boulevard. My advice is to take the I-5 to Lincoln Avenue. Head East on W Lincoln Avenue and turn right onto Anaheim Boulevard. You will see the parking structure on your right – turn in and park. More directions can be found here.

More information on the Downtown Anaheim Certified Farmers’ Market and Craft Fair can be found here.

Neighborhood Spotlight : Old Towne Orange

South Carolina has Savannah, Louisiana has the French Quarter in New Orleans, and Massachusetts has the preserved whaling community of New Bedford, but to experience the essence of California, there’s no better location than Old Towne Orange. Just six miles from Disneyland, Old Towne Orange emulates Main Street, USA in a way that would make even Walt Disney nostalgic.

Centered on the historic Orange Plaza, Old Towne Orange encompasses one square mile of land, in which sit over 1,300 homes and buildings that are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Beyond this area are countless other homes that are maintained in such a way that they complement the nationally registered homes, making a walk through Old Towne Orange really something to experience.

The largest number of homes in Old Towne Orange were built between 1911 and 1920, but another significant percentage of them were built between 1921 and 1930. Some of the oldest buildings date back to 1874, and together these structures make up the second largest collection of historic buildings in California. Overseen by the Old Towne Preservation Association, all of the buildings in the historic district are held to strict standards for renovation and restoration, much to the delight of all who visit.

Locals and visitors love stopping into Watson’s Drugs & Soda Fountain, which has been in operation since 1899. Watson’s has the distinction of being the oldest drugstore in Orange County as well as the oldest on-going business in the city of Orange.


Everything about Watson’s is delightfully old school, from its ice cream sundaes at the soda fountain counter to its “house calls.” Can’t make it into the pharmacy to pick up your prescription? A member of the pharmacy staff will deliver it to your home. Stop by to ask questions of pharmacist and owner, Scott Parker, who prides himself on the individualized service provided to each and every customer.

Swing into Orange Circle Antique Mall, the largest antique shopping spot among the countless boutiques, malls, and outlets in Old Towne Orange. It’s been in business for nearly 40 years and boasts a loyal following of locals and tourists alike. At the various booths that line the two story space you can find handcrafted 1800s-era furniture, vinyl records from the ‘60s, Mid-Century Modern Danish furniture, jadeite glassware, antique books, and retro clothing.

Orange Circle Antique Mall

Not everything in Old Towne Orange is from a bygone era though. The district is home to a wide variety of restaurants that offer cuisine from around the world. Ways & Means Oyster House features sustainably-caught fresh seafood and a menu that showcases seasonal ingredients. The restaurant pays homage to the classic oyster bars located around the world, with a complementing wine list to satisfy even the most discerning palates.

For a modern take on traditional Mexican cuisine, Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen is an unparalleled eatery. Adopting an eco-gastronomic approach in an interpretation of classic Old World dishes, Chef Gabbi Patrick wows diners with truly unique offerings. Start your meal with the tlacoyo de aguacate: a toasted masa cake covered with grilled avocado, cara cara oranges, blood oranges, pickled cucumbers, and pea tendrils. The Azteca tortilla soup is the perfect complement to the spinach and shrimp enchiladas de camarones or the carnitas norteñas made from braised Berkshire pork, pico de gallo, guacamole, and served on handmade tortillas.


Gabbi’s is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach; rustic exposed beams create a cathedral ceiling above the brick-walled dining room, and the bar is awash in hot pink indirect lighting. It’s the perfect place to meet that special someone for a night out.

In the summer months, Hart Park hosts live entertainment for the whole family. Acquired by the city in 1934, the park spans over 40 acres and features two structured playgrounds that are suitable for children five years old and up. Reserve a picnic area to host your next family reunion, where 57 tables can accommodate up to 700 guests. Public use, non-reservable tables are also available for spur of the moment Saturday afternoon picnics.

Old Towne Orange

Since 1973, the Orange International Street Fair has been held in the center of Old Towne Orange on Labor Day Weekend. The unique event features 42 food and alcohol booths on 15 streets. Run by local non-profit organizations, the booths’ proceeds go directly to their individual organization. Shop for handmade arts and crafts from local artisans, and find your new favorite charity to support at one of the many community booths at the fair. Local companies are given the opportunity to promote their business there, and eight stages are scattered throughout the fair, showcasing local musicians. An added bonus for families is the entire street dedicated to crafts and games for the kids.

Neighborhood Spotlight – Anaheim Colony

When you think of Anaheim, your first thought is probably about Disneyland. But Anaheim has more fun to offer than just Disneyland. Why not visit a place that can be “the happiest place on earth” for both you and the kids? Winter is the time to check out the Anaheim Colony, a quaint historic district located in Anaheim, California.

Anah lkg E on W Ctr across Lemon 4-2-1946The Anaheim Historical Society hosts events throughout the year. These events highlight a variety of historical subjects. In addition, the Anaheim Historical Society hosts the occasional Historic Home Tour in order to showcase existing architectural buildings throughout Anaheim. They are definitely worth a visit to see what’s going on in Anaheim during your stay.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat, the Anaheim White House Restaurant is not only beautiful, but is also a restaurant with a heart. This restaurant serves 600 free dinners to homeless motel children each night and is the only restaurant in the world to do so. It specializes in Italian steak and seafood and is located at 887 S. Anaheim Boulevard in the Anaheim Colony. Many celebrities have eaten here, including Jimmy Carter, Danny DeVito, and Andrea Bocelli.

Tandoori Garden is a relatively new restaurant, started in 2009, that is also in the Anaheim Colony. This restaurant serves fine Indian cuisine and is also located on S. Anaheim Boulevard, at 30 S. Anaheim Boulevard. Tandoori Garden features an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $8.95 Monday through Friday and a Weekend Champagne Brunch for just $10.95.

Ember ClubA classy place to listen to music and have a few drinks is the Ember Café and Music Club located at 401 N. Anaheim Boulevard. On Tuesdays, the Ember Café and Music Club features salsa music and dancing. If you’d rather keep it more low-key, The Juke Joint at 735 N. Anaheim Boulevard features 5 pool tables and 20 beer taps. The Juke Joint also serves cocktails. Friday night is Ladies’ Night at The Juke Joint and there is free pool Sundays from 7 PM to close.

A fun event to do in the Anaheim Colony is its weekly Farmers’ Market on Thursdays. This market is held year-round, but will be closed December 26th and January 2nd for the holidays. The Farmers’ Market is held from noon until 7 PM. It features international foods, certified farmers, live music, and a craft fair. This event is great for both kids and adults.

visitor_imageTo get a bit of culture from the Anaheim Colony, visit the Muzeo, an art museum located at 241 S. Anaheim Boulevard. The Muzeo hosts three traveling exhibitions yearly which are otherwise not seen in the region. The current exhibition is “Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket,” which will be going on until January 12, 2014. The Muzeo is open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily and costs just $6 for children and $10 for adults. Perhaps you would like to see the ballet. The Anaheim Ballet, at 280 E. Lincoln Ave in the Anaheim Colony, is currently performing The Nutcracker for its 27th season.

As you can see, there is much to discover in the Anaheim Colony. The next time you visit, make sure to explore the many activities, events, and restaurants available. This beautiful historic area is not to be missed!

Article written by our contributing writer: Tabitha Jean Naylor

Historic Holiday Memories in Orange County

Winter is the perfect season to discover historic homes in Orange County. Why not explore historic homes as a low-cost (and sometimes free) holiday activity? Here are several suggestions of historic homes in Orange County to visit.

Historic George Key Ranch is a historic home, garden, museum, and orange grove located in Placentia, CA. Tours can be reserved Tuesday through Friday by calling (714) 973-3191. Built in 1898, the George Key Home is part of the 2.2 acre site that also contains a ¾ acre garden and one acre orange grove. Free tours are available by reservation at 2 PM on the first Saturday of each month. You can visit the George Key Ranch website.



The Kellogg House in Santa Ana, CA is a historic home that was also built in 1898. This house is an example of Queen Anne-style Victorian architecture and displays Kellogg’s avid interest in ships by a mast in the center of the home stretching from floor to ceiling. Public tours are available on Fridays from 1 – 5 PM and Sundays from 11 AM – 3 PM at a cost of $5 for adults and $4 for children. Santa Ana residents receive free admission the first Sunday of each month. Visit the Heritage Museum website for more info



The San Juan Capistrano Historical Society gives walking tours of the historic town of San Juan Capistrano, CA. This tour includes walking by historic adobes as well as the Pryor House Victorian home built between 1870 and 1880. The Pryor House is the Historical Society’s headquarters and is now known as the O’Neill Museum. A $2 donation for adults and a $1 donation for children are accepted for the tour. These tours are every Sunday at 1 PM and are 1.5 hours long. For more walking tour information visit their website



front-wThe Dr. Howe-Waffle House located in Santa Ana, CA was built in 1889. It is a Queen Anne-style Victorian home. The Dr. Howe-Waffle House is open for tours the first Saturday of every even month from 12 PM until 4 PM at a cost of $5 for adults and $3 for students.  Visit the Howe-Waffle House website

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The Stanley House was built as a two-story Victorian-style farmhouse in 1892. Just next door is a strawberry patch. The Stanley House is located in Garden Grove, CA. There are other homes on site dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Call the Garden Grove Historical Society to arrange a tour at (714) 530-8871. For more information, visit their website.

The Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens was the home of Helena Modjeska, world-renowned Shakespearean actress, from 1888 until 1906. It is an adorable white cottage located in Lake Forest, CA. Docent led tours are available four times a month by reservation and cost $5 per person. Call (949) 923-2230 to make a tour reservation. For more information on the Modjeska Home and Gardens, visit their site.


To learn more about some of the great historical neighborhoods in Orange County, feel free to email us ( ), visit our contact page, or give us a call! (949) 280-6481


Article written by our contributing writer: Tabitha Jean Naylor

Near-Downtown Value in Santa Ana Home

Don’t be “spooked” this Halloween by the location. This near-downtown Santa Ana home checks a lot of the right boxes at an eye-popping sub-$350k price point. It’s a fairly walkable location with great access to freeways. A point that I like to make (and one that I don’t think I’ve made in a while) is how a home like this compares to a condo, in terms of payment. Remember, a condo usually has an HOA fee of $200+. Assuming a $300/mo HOA fee, this home at $319,900 (the present list price), will equate to a condo costing about $250,000. In light of that, this home seems like a bargain, and it is.

Obviously, in this price point you’re not buying a Floral Park mansion, but this home does have a lot of great qualities. My favorite are the built-ins in the dining room and the window plan. Very fortunately, these elements have been expertly preserved on this home, along with most of the original wood floors and trim.

With a house like this, the real discussion is what are you compromising on and what will need to be changed. With this home, these are actually intertwined. This home sits along First Street, which is Santa Ana is a pretty busy thoroughfare. Whenever clients are considering such a home, I’m always thinking of mitigation strategies. Which brings me to my second point, the landscaping. The chain link fence is not doing anybody any favors and the house feels unfinished on the outside. It doesn’t look like a home. Whenever there is a house that borders on a major street, the best thing you can do is create some psychological separation. The picket fence is a good start, but given the size of the street, I think it needs a hedge and some other elements. A single family historic home with good details under $350k is a deal, though, no matter what tweaks need to be made.

This home is listed by Antonio Delgado of California Team Realty, but we’d love to represent your interests as a buyer. If you’d like to schedule a private showing of this property, don’t hesitate to contact us


19th Century Mansion

19th Century Mansion

This home is located just North of Downtown and just South of Floral Park and is a 19th Century Mansion. In most parts of the country, the presence of a 19th century home isn’t too big of a deal. But when you realize that Los Angeles was a city of just about 100,000 people in 1900 — you begin to realize there weren’t that many houses around before the turn of the century and few of them survive today. In 1900,  Santa Ana was the largest city in Orange County, but with only 4500 residents. As a two-story home, this was most likely the home of a large landowner and it is built in the farmhouse style. Due to it’s more urban setting (it isn’t too far from the original downtown), it seems to have some more ornate trim than would have been found in a midwestern or prairie farmhouse.

I have a feeling that at one point this home would have had a full front porch — I think the area you see on the front was enclosed. There is definitely a lot of good, and some bad on this house. I like to start with the positive, and it appears that most of the floors, windows, and the rather ornate moldings and trims are intact. To me, one of the coolest parts is the upstairs, with the unique transom windows located above some of the doors. It’s a unique touch that you won’t found in many Southern California historic homes. As far as the not-so-good…the original kitchens and baths are long-gone. While the replacements aren’t terrible, they aren’t exactly period correct, either.

While the Tudors and bungalows are common in Orange County — authentic farmhouses are not. This is a unique area and one of the oldest homes still around in Santa Ana. It’s on a larger-than-usual ~8400 square foot lot and offers a lot more square footage. It does come at a price and while it’s not in a bad area, it’s also not within the other old neighborhood near downtown: French Park.

This home is listed by Alysha Ommen of Port Street Realty Corporation, but we’d love to represent your interests as a buyer. If you’d like to schedule a private showing of this property, don’t hesitate to contact us


Laguna Canyon Fairytale – Historic Home of the Week 9/5/2013

Laguna Canyon Fairytale

September 5th, 2013

We’re doing something a little different this week. This home has been very extensively renovated, and most of the time, we tend to gravitate towards the properties that preserve as much of the original fabric as possible. However, the reality is that doing so isn’t always possible. While we always think of beautiful tree-lined streets and older, established neighborhoods — things change. In no city is that more true than Laguna Beach and especially Laguna Canyon.

Many of these homes were built as part-time, hastily-constructed, vacation spaces and many were built in ways that predate any codes or municipal oversight. This is in great contrast to Old Towne Orange, for example, where the city was involved in the home building process early in the 20th century. And that brings us to the home here, located within Laguna Canyon — once a no man’s land and now an affordable gateway to one of Orange County’s priciest cities and collections of historic property.

What this home lacked in modern construction, it makes up for in charm. And with a complete “down to the studs” renovation you no longer have to make compromises on modern livability. But I think what I like the most is the things they did keep are super cool. The cathedral window in the master bedroom sitting area is my 2nd favorite item. My first favorite? The stained glass window with the coat of arms in one of the secondary bedrooms. Don’t let the small lot size scare you, either. This home has the outdoor space where it counts: concentrated in a long outdoor patio that runs along side the house and is easily accessible from the main living spaces.

A home like this isn’t for everybody — in fact, it’s a bad idea for most people. But it’s one of the those charmingly unique places that certainly warrants the designation: one-of-a-kind. Add in that it’s a turn-key proposition and located with a Laguna Beach address and the asking price doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

This home is listed by Julie Kuntz with Prudential California Realty, but we’d love to represent your interests as a buyer. If you’d like to schedule a private showing of this property, don’t hesitate to contact us


Prime Anaheim Colony

Sometimes you run into a home that really has a little bit of everything .Right location in Anaheim Colony. Right price. Right size. Two baths. Great paint scheme. A home like this is hard to fault and at below $500k, we can actually call it an affordable home. It’s even more affordable that the price would suggest due to the Mills Act contract on the property, which puts the property taxes at about $2100/yr. Normally, a property like this would have taxes that were approximately $5600/yr — that’s a savings of $200/mo.

There’s always a careful balance between preservation and updating for a more modern lifestyle. In the 1990s owners added a master suite. The addition is well-done and integrates well on the back side of the house. For many families, the #1 wish list item we hear about is having a 2nd bath and this home does. The French doors leading outside the master bedroom have the same mullion pattern as the original windows. That, along with a porch on the back, really ties everything together.

Inside, the original hardwood floors have be refinished and while this home is a bit “simpler” in detailing that many, it has a very clean, but still charming vibe. The kitchen isn’t my favorite, but I’ve certainly seen much much much worse. The glass display-cabinet upper cabinets (including some that dip down to the counter) really up the vintage ante. I think with some better colors, accessories, and maybe lighting the kitchen could go from “okay” to pretty cool.

Similar homes in Old Towne Orange are over $100,000 more expensive. This is a good opportunity for someone who wants a great home at a very reasonable price and doesn’t want to give up some modern conveniences.

This home is listed by Barbara Gonzalez with Re/Max Metro R.E., but we’d love to represent your interests as a buyer. If you’d like to schedule a private showing of this property, don’t hesitate to contact us