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Stories by Dave Rice

Ken Ronchetti-designed luxury condo offers 180-degree view of downtown

The 400-square-foot master bedroom is part of a private “master wing”

If one luxury condo atop one of San Diego’s most desirable downtown towers just isn’t enough, why not go for two? Enjoy “exquisite living on the entire 38th floor of the Harbor Club,” invite materials, ...

Rancho Pacifica’s “work of art” in Rancho Santa Fe

“The finest in craftsmanship, materials and design”

Tucked into the private gated community of Rancho Pacifica, just south of the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club and the exclusive neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe, sits this home at 5131 Rancho Del Mar Trail. Listing ...

Spanish Mediterranean design of Richard Requa in Mission Hills

The master suite is accessed by “a whimsical staircase”

The 4300-square-foot Spanish Mediterranean mansion at 4334 Avalon Drive, “located in the sought out neighborhood of Avalon Heights” hasn’t seen the public market in more than 25 years, according to listing information retrieved from Realtor.com. ...

Rancho Santa Fe – the most luxury homes in California

San Diego Polo Club, Heaven's Gate, camouflaged bridges, Doug Manchester, Whispering Palms, John Moores,

San Diego Polo Club site developed by Heaven's Gate Exclusiveness breeds itself, so it’s little wonder that when the San Diego Polo Club in Rancho Santa Fe needed a Web page designed, they turned to ...

Unwind with Carrara marble in Torrey Pines

King Palms offer yet another dramatic layer to the beautifully manicured grounds

This week, prospective buyers have an opportunity to “fall in love with timeless Spanish architecture” at 1640 Torrey Pines Road, a 3095-square-foot residence “minutes from the vibrant Village of La Jolla” and located among “luxury ...

San Diego Reader's holiday guide 2019

Christmas Card Lane in Penasquitos, Santa run in Pacific Beach, helicopter Christmas lights ride in Oceanside, ugly sweaters in Vista, rescued bears in Alpine

There’s a war on Christmas. You can see it right on your TV; in fact, it’s your TV that’s the aggressor in this particular conflict. Lifetime has 20, count ’em, 20 new movies to go ...

Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell’s La Jolla Cove seacliff estate

Ocean and coastline views, spanning from La Jolla to Dana Point

The Seacliff Estate — that’s what listing materials from realtor.com call the 12,000-square-foot home found at 1369 Coast Walk in La Jolla — is billed as an “iconic gated Hamptons-style estate that has been meticulously ...

Prime ocean frontage above Moonlight Beach

“White water views from every single room in the house”

This 2005-built blufftop estate home at 806 4th Street in Encinitas features five bedrooms, seven baths, and 100 feet of prime ocean frontage above Moonlight Beach. According to promotional materials from Realtor.com, the 5300-square-foot home ...

Lionsgate Estate: includes equestrian and hiking trails along Sandia Creek and the Santa Margarita River

“Enjoy breathtaking views of your own swimming lake”

Lionsgate Estate comprises 17 acres in northeastern Fallbrook, including the 6400-square-foot main residence located at 40935 Via Ranchitos, a 4800-square foot lake house, and a third guest cottage, bringing the total living area under roof ...

Coronado’s Spreckels Mansion: a national controversy for Rebecca Zahau and Max Shacknai

The deaths were respectively ruled an accident and a suicide

By the late 1890s, John Spreckels had become well-established as one of San Diego’s most powerful men. He’d acquired control of the Coronado Beach Company, the Hotel Del Coronado, and the San Diego streetcar system, ...

Qualcomm exec’s Georgian style Coronado home back on the market

The backyard’s lower level leads to a grass-lined pool and spa with a partial rock wall for privacy and waterfall.

This week, we’re visiting 731 Adella Avenue, a 5100-square-foot mansion in central Coronado sited on grounds spanning nearly two-fifths of an acre. It’s said to be one of the island’s largest residential lots. “This elegant ...

Bucolic Bonita

Boredom, Sweetwater Trail, Canary Island palms, Welcome to Bonita sign

Not so pretty: Bonita’s sign replacement cost Though Bonita's welcome mat has been pulled, the South Bay community is hardly discouraging people from coming by. The “Welcome to Bonita” sign, designed to convey a warm ...

Artisan inspired finishes on Encinitas’ Crest Drive

Hand-painted tiles and mural work “bring the walls to life.”

The luxury estate at 1864 Crest Drive in the hills of Encinitas, just east of Cardiff, promises “California coastal living at its finest” surrounded by “stunning whitewater ocean views.” The main home includes five en-suite ...

Rancho Peñasquitos, barely suburban

Anti-migrant white boys, Adam Lambert returns, riparian zone, pedestrian crossing signs, Evergreen Nursery, Lennar Homes

Beaner bashers They identify themselves as the border patrol. They demand money. The Mexican stranger drops the grocery bag and sprints into the valley. The teen-age boys shout taunts as the shadow disappears around a ...

Pacific Gate’s largest available floor plan

Smart home features include automation for lighting, climate control, and touchless operation of the window coverings

Following nearly a decade of dormancy resulting from the housing crash of the late 2000s, the Downtown San Diego luxury condo market is booming once again. Pacific Gate, a 40-story tower at 888 West E ...

San Diego's weird backcountry real estate

No traffic, but you need septic tank, well, propane

Bad foundations. Leaky pipes. Illegal garage conversions. Death (owner or otherwise) on a property. These are all things that have at least once derailed the sale of a piece of real estate during my 20 ...

Spanish Colonial Revival architecture courtesy Richard Requa

The primary architect overseeing construction in Balboa Park for the California Pacific International Exposition

The historic Bowman-Cotton House, billed as “one of Point Loma’s most iconic waterfront homes,” was constructed in 1929 under the supervision of master architect Richard Requa. Requa, who studied under one of Southern California’s most ...

Wallace E. Cunningham’s Razor House

The home was one of several projects explored by author Joseph Giovannini in “Materializing the Immaterial,” a book about Cunningham’s career.

The “Razor House” at 9826 La Jolla Farms Road is so named for its location on a three-quarter-acre lot near Razor Point. The house is perched along the cliffs just south of Black’s Beach; in ...

CEO of Relyonus Medical Group’s French Country Castle

The residence boasts five kitchens and 11 baths

“Rancho Santa Fe meets French Country Castle” is how listing materials describe Chateau Enchante, the mega-mansion located at 16902 Via Cuesta Verde in Fairbanks Ranch, a neighborhood composed entirely of two private gated communities just ...

Bonsall – suburbia's edge

San Luis Rey Downs track and golf course, fossilized bison, Highway 76 widened, Vessels Ranch, the Hank Show

Lilac fire survivor comes to the races On December 7, 2017, horse trainer Joe Herrick said, “Hell came to town.” Herrick was was involved in trying to rescue 450 thoroughbred horses caught in the raging ...

Building on the bluffs of Black's Beach

Several firepit-equipped outdoor entertaining pavilions on both the ground and upstairs level

Just west of the UC San Diego campus, perched on the bluffs above Black’s Beach lies a newly-constructed 7777-square-foot estate occupying more than three quarters of an acre at 9811 Blackgold Road. Featuring “vast scale ...

CBS, NBC, ESPN and San Diego Padres Sportscaster Dick Enberg’s French Colonial Revival

Be prepared to spend at least an hour touring the property to appreciate the attention to detail

Built in 2004, the 8576-square-foot estate home at 1275 Virginia Way in La Jolla is described as “an authentic example of French Colonial Revival” architecture. Though recently constructed, the home features “countless architectural elements and ...

Scripps Ranch – starter homes

Scripps Trail, bus service, nay-sayers, fight against WalMart, secret missile testing, view from Mira Mesa, USIU, a mooning incident

Good intentions behind paving of Scripps Trail Claudia Walker's family bought a home on the 10400 block of the street, a quiet, neatly manicured tract in Scripps Ranch near where the northeastern edge of the ...

Fallbrook mansion resembles a quaint European chapel

Including “car barns” with parking for a full fleet of vehicles

The luxury estate at 5147 Morro Hills Place, spanning nearly ten acres in southern Fallbrook, might be better described as a compound than as a residence. “Welcome to your future ranch, resort, spa, or estate,” ...

UCSD Extension starts income share agreements with web design, digital marketing

A Milton Friedman idea from 1955

Aside from home mortgages, student loans are the most pervasive form of debt in the United States today, surpassing even credit card and auto loan borrowing. In 2018, roughly 44 million borrowers collectively owed more ...

Oldest Encinitas blufftop mansion once owned by Charlie Chaplin

Various tales say it was purchased either as a residence for his mother or as a place to hide his pregnant 16-year-old mistress

The “iconic waterfront masterpiece” at 1448 Neptune Avenue in Encinitas was reportedly just the second or third blufftop mansion constructed in the area, and after nearly 100 years, is the oldest one still standing. Built ...

Former mayor of Del Mar Albert Corti puts modern mansion up for sale

“A sanctuary of style offering natural light and airy views throughout.”

The newly constructed home at 2811 Heather Lane is perched on a hillside just south of San Dieguito Lagoon, the slim body of water separating a neighborhood of high-end luxury estates from the adjacent Del ...

Recall Coronado’s historic allure owned by Bayfront Candela’s restauranteur Tomas Braniff

Over 100 year-old-home was “meticulously restored” in 2017

The Spanish white stucco house at 475 A Avenue in the “Crown City” of Coronado may have originally been constructed more than 100 years ago in 1914, but marketing materials promise it was “meticulously restored” ...

Modern Muirlands masterpiece titled in investment company controlled by founders of Luna Grill

Designed by Edinger Architects of Solana Beach and Mark. V. Agee Construction of Rancho Santa Fe

Listing materials promise “the ultimate Southern California luxury lifestyle” at 715 Muirlands Vista Way in La Jolla, a newly-constructed “modern masterpiece in the Muirlands.” With six bedrooms and six baths spread across nearly 7000 square ...

San Diego's least affordable housing

Unreal estate

"Luxury living” is a term that eludes simple definition. For some, it may be a beachfront home occupying a slice of Southern California’s most coveted coastline. Others might prefer a penthouse condo equipped with the ...

Lower Hermosa La Jolla home sports Frank Lloyd Wright inspired architecture and ocean views of Windansea Beach

Wright student Frederick Liebhardt constructed it for his parents

Listing materials promise this week’s property “is pure California real estate gold” — “sited prominently on over one acre of oceanfront land.” On a promontory point that pushes closer to the waves below than surrounding ...

Award winning restoration of Escondido house once subject of the PBS TV show Restore America

House “boasts one of the most intricate collections of hand-printed Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper in the country.”

Escondido’s Beach House may be more than 15 miles from the coast, but it’s filled with historical charm and old-world craftsmanship you won’t find in a modern oceanfront mega-mansion. Built in 1896 for real estate ...

Former spouse of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens offers Ocean Front home in Del Mar

Constructed in 1999 by “world renowned architect-designer” Ken Ronchetti

Listing materials for the beachside estate at 2808 Ocean Front in Del Mar describe a property that “has long been considered one of the most prominent coastal contemporary beach homes on the West Coast and ...

Three stories of seaside lounging in Oceanside

“Let’s start with the reason to own this perfect home, the beach!”

Oceanside, San Diego’s northernmost city, is often overlooked in discussions about the region’s most exclusive real estate, which tend to focus on coastal North County cities such as Carlsbad, Encinitas, or Del Mar. But while ...

Virgin villa on Rutgers Road

No one has lived in this modern Mediterranean manse

Listing materials for a recently-constructed southern La Jolla mansion pose a question they’re more than happy to answer. “What would you call a residence of high style, beauty, and sophistication, intelligent design and refined in ...

Point Loma’s largest Italian Renaissance mansion

Portion of Point Loma Nazarine once known as Lomaland on the peninsula

Rosecroft is a historically-designated estate occupying nearly two-and-a-half acres atop Point Loma. Built in 1912 by architect Emmor Brooke Weaver, who oversaw the design of dozens of local residences between 1904 and 1945, the Italian ...

The “permanent vacation” feel

This house is made to be shown off

The newly-constructed estate at 7430 Hillside Drive in La Jolla includes five separate elevator-accessed levels of living area totaling nearly 6300 square feet of living space carved out of the side of Mount Soledad. “A ...

Studs-out remodel in Coronado

With an eye toward retaining the home’s historic character

This week we visit a “forgotten historic Coronado home” that’s been “brought back to life!” The 2400-square-foot craftsman at 1302 8th Street in Coronado was originally constructed in 1901 but has undergone extensive renovation since ...

A “striking contemporary classic”

Once home to founder of online music store MP3tunes

This week we present you with an opportunity to “reside in one of the largest homes on the breathtaking Del Mar beach.” “Take pleasure in the ultimate seaside lifestyle,” invite listing materials for the residence ...

Frontal attack on gig economy

Suit against Lime to end freelance scooter work?

A Northern California man working as a "Juicer" for electric scooter-share operator Lime has filed suit against the company, claiming it improperly classifies thousands of workers as independent contractors in a system designed to skirt ...

The epitome of California canyon living

Architect also designed San Diego Zoo structures and enclosures

“Hidden behind beautiful hedges,” this 1924 Bankers Hill estate at 3372 Front Street “is truly unique in downtown San Diego and the epitome of California canyon living.” So promise the listing materials. The residence, which ...

Marine Lair

Oceanfront hideout is home to “SD’s 29-year-old wunderkind”

Occupying a prime oceanfront plot in La Jolla’s esteemed Barber Tract is a mansion the owner has dubbed “Marine Lair,” a home the listing promises is “built entirely different than any other home in San ...

San Diego's last ocean front lots

32 empty spaces left – from Oceanside to Imperial Beach

Thirty-six years ago, the Reader surveyed the San Diego County coastline in search of any remaining vacant, buildable land along the coast. In January of 1982, we found a scant 79 parcels of land remaining, ...

Dignity through showers

East and North County welcome them, but not so much central San Diego

"Choice is something a lot of service providers and volunteers trying to provide help to others don't often consider," Think Dignity director Anne Rios tells me when we sit down at her group's North Park ...

A west coast Statue of Liberty

40-foot monument to Virgin Mary in San Ysidro

A cross-denominational faith group on Friday (October 5) announced their plans to construct what they're describing as a West Coast Statue of Liberty on a San Ysidro hilltop overlooking Tijuana. Modeled after the Virgin Mary ...

Bankers Hill Mansion exemplifies both Roaring Twenties exuberance and refined European design

Explore the neo-classical symmetry and grandeur of Andrea Palladio’s 16th-century architecture

From its perch atop Bankers Hill, the mansion at 435 West Thorn Street sits as an example of both Roaring Twenties exuberance and refined European design. “This one of a kind 1926 Italian Palladian home ...

A simple fix-and-flip can go horribly wrong

Will this part of Ebers Street ever be the same?

A long-derided construction project at 2269 Ebers Street in Ocean Beach, spearheaded by Curtis Nelson of Nelco Properties, officially suffered its death blow this spring; after failing to attract a buyer at a foreclosure auction, ...

Electric shock

East County residents fuming over four-figure power bills

San Diegans have been shocked by skyrocketing electric bills over the last two months, with many customers being told by San Diego Gas & Electric they owe two or even three times as much as ...

La Jolla luxury high rise

With a view “encompassing the La Jolla hills, the village, and the famous cove”

Let’s have a peek at “the only luxury high rise in the village of La Jolla,” 939 Coast. Eponymously named for its oceanfront location along Coast Boulevard, the building is currently comprised of 153 units ...

Veterans for Peace hit roadblocks in third year

But claim some victories against Miramar Air Show

The Miramar Air Show, gearing up for its 65th year next weekend, is billed as the largest military-themed air show in the United States. For the last three years, a group of anti-war military veterans ...