Gold Coast – La Jolla Diamond in the Rough

As many of my readers know, I recently relocated to San Diego, California. I thought I’d take the opportunity this week to introduce you to one of the region’s best neighborhoods for a new Gold Coast feature. La Jolla fittingly translates from Spanish as The Jewel. And it truly is!

This neighborhood of rugged bluffs overlooks the sparkling Pacific. Luxury boutiques and fashionable restaurants dot its charming byways. White sails and whitecaps punctuate the blue waves below. Torrey Pines’ fabled greens unfurl nearby.

Homes in this enclave cost millions of dollars, with added digits for ocean views. Many of the older, simpler residences were torn down years ago to make way for Mediterranean and modernist behemoths. Here are a couple of examples of the McMansions that replaced them in this Gold Coast neighborhood…

This 11,000 SF modern sells for $25M

This 5600 SF Mediterranean costs $6.7M and change

The Property

So why, you may wonder, did I choose a humble 1,656 square foot ranch that many would consider a tear-down as my La Jolla Gold Coast pick?

Quite simply, because I consider it to be a mid-century diamond in the rough begging to be tastefully updated. This home reminds me of many that we saw on a 1973 family trip along the California coast. This, of course, was before the huge real estate boom that exploded a few years later.

According to the property’s listing agent, Linda Marrone, this listing (MLS #090053723) is part of the Scripps Estates neighborhood that the then-young University of California San Diego made available to its faculty on very advantageous terms. Nearby UCSD is now on most top college ranking lists. Not surprising, the K-12 schools in the area are also top-rated.

This particular California modern ranch was built circa 1961 and is showing its age. Marrone also told me that it’s had a tenant for a while. You can see the lack of upkeep in the tattered lawn. A new owner could — if HOA and local permits allow — create a comfortable outdoor kitchen, pool and even possibly a pool house connected to the main house and detached garage in that large open space. These more contemporary improvements would fit right in and take advantage of the climate that inspired the indoor-outdoor lifestyle of this architectural movement.

This home is also eligible for a second story, which would maximize the rooftop’s ocean view. Only eight of the 42 Scripps Estates homes are eligible, according to Marrone. I would add a master suite on that floor, with a spa bath, office/library, sitting room and private balcony. I would also update the kitchen to take advantage of new storage and appliance capabilities, and to bring more of the spectacular outdoor sunlight into the space. Chances are, there are also terrific energy and water savings to be gained in such a project.

With the outdoor kitchen, pool, pool house, kitchen remodel and a new second story, this home could potentially double in value, don’t you think? It would certainly double in living potential, don’t you think?

Details, Details

Here is the listing description: California Modern Ranch style home, circa 1961, is being offered for sale for the first time since it was designed & built by its original owner/architect. Designed with organic simplicity, the redwood single-level home features an open floor plan with stained concrete flooring & ample windows that bring the outdoors in. Located on a cul-de-sac in Scripps Estates, the 16,000 SF lot is one of only 8 in the 42 lot subdivision that allows a 2nd story, per By Laws

Year Built: 1961
Approx. 1656 SF
3 Bedrooms
2 Total Baths
1 Fireplace
Detached 2-Car Garage plus 3 additional open spots

The Pricetag


La Jolla Bonus

Here are some ready resources for visiting La Jolla:

Fodors – La Jolla Travel Guide
Design Sponge – San Diego Design Guide
La Jolla Historical Society
La Jolla Mom Blog


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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS,  MCCWC

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC
San Diego, CA

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