The search for our first house took us over a year. At first we were flying down from the bay area every month or two which would take over an entire weekend. Imagine 2 days of looking at no less than a dozen houses each day. Finally we got to a point where we were able to move down here and look locally. Our initial neighborhoods that we were interested in were not working out for both apartment and house hunting and we ended up living in an area we were told by the suburban living locals was "spotty" "sketchy" "ghetto". They were half right. Certain spots were, "visually spotty" but not ghetto by any means. Some run down apartments, a liquor store here and there but what they didn’t see was there was a lot going on in the area. Lots of people who'd grown tired of living in suburbia had moved back to what our realtor so eloquently put as an "urban village". It’s a funny term but actually really true. Here, but up next to downtown was a community of real people, not afraid of social interaction of all income scales. I haven’t lived here long enough to know if it’s a "happy" mix but it seems alright so far.
What drew us here was a house down the street. It was a mix of Victorian/craftsman. An absolutely beautiful house that needed loads and loads of work. The block it was on sucked ass. Think of this, the nicest house on the block was the one for sale which was bank owned and falling apart. But this house got us looking more in the neighborhood in which we lived in. The neighborhood for the most part had kept most of the original architecture. Each block has its share of craftsman/victorian/spanish style homes built in the late teens and throughout the twenties.
I grew up in an old house. I think it made a real impression on me. The house had some built-ins which were cool and more importantly it had character. It was in a neighborhood where most of the houses had character and they weren’t being mansionized. I absolutely cannot stand the man mansionization of neighborhoods. It’s in poor taste and they always use the ugliest looking architecture style. To top it off, they're cheap, made very, "temporary". I reject this.
So the neighborhood here has restaurants, bars, a few shops, some markets and parks. We were looking for an area that had all these and more importantly, it was all accessible by walking. This was a huge deal for us. I've been in areas where if you run out of beer or are hungry you have to get in a car and drive through miles of boring beige tract homes in order to get something. Here I'm close to what I like, I can walk to what I like, I can walk to downtown and I can take my dogs everywhere.
The neighborhood is not all peaches and cream though, There does seem to be a dog shit problem here. Especially around some of the open space preservers (i.e. canyons) and apartment buildings. There is an over abundance of pit bulls in the neighborhood as well. Everyone has a pitbull! White, Brown, Black, Yellow...etc. I dunno, maybe they fight them off the freeway, who knows, but I'm not much for them. People drive fast here. No idea why. Maybe cuz the streets are wide, but I've seen some accidents cuz some fool thought he'd haul his hooptie's ass up the hill pretending to be an f1 driver. There are also some busted up apartment complexes. Really shitty ones that look like they should be condemned. Finally, the shittiest thing about the neighborhood, there was some girl murdered by who knows who in an abandoned house not long ago.
We like it though for the most part. The house is a total work in progress and I'll be half ass documenting that and the shit related to it.