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Letter from the Editor: Right at Home in San Diego

Senior editor Archana Ram dishes on the March issue of San Diego Magazine


South Coast Highway in Oceanside | Photo: Becca Batista

We all have our nonnegotiables. For me, two small bedrooms and one bathroom are enough. But an outdoor space to accommodate gardening, my 65-pound golden retriever, and the occasional small dinner party is a must. I’d like one indie coffee shop within walking distance. One parking space is ideal, and if I could really have my “all,” this future San Diego home of mine would be a Spanish-style cottage in Hillcrest, North Park, or South Park, the kind this East Coast–bred editor had thought was so California, like outdoor malls and French fries in burritos.

It’s hardly a coincidence that I caught the real estate bug while editing this month’s cover story, “Best Places to Live.” In it, we profile five types of homeowners at various stages of the game—move-up buyers, downsizers, investors, etc.—and how they closed the deal. Their stories delve into the how and why, giving us the comfort of Hey, I could do that, too.

Since I’m a newbie who now scans Redfin and Zillow on the daily, the story of first-time buyers Ryan and Siera Beal resonated with me the most. As Siera tells writer Jennifer Davies, “Quite honestly, we weren’t sure how we could buy a house, because it’s so friggin’ expensive.” Same, Siera, same. They ended up buying in Allied Gardens because the home had a great view and there were good schools and parks for their daughter. For our move-up buyers, outdoor space was crucial. The granny-flat builders? They literally wanted space for visiting grandparents. Everyone has a set of musts—the key is finding what’s important to you and maybe letting go of the rest, whether that means exploring a new-to-you neighborhood or buying a fixer-upper. But there are choices. This feature includes 31 neighborhoods, with median home prices, year over year price changes, and the need-to-know about each one.

The story also digs into bigger issues in real estate, like the county’s current stance on Airbnb, whether the housing bubble will actually burst, and how to build with climate change in mind. And renters, we haven’t forgotten about you. We’re rounding up 11 neighborhoods primed for the non-buyer.

Thinking about homes as personal sanctuaries leads us right into this month’s other feature, “My Favorite Space Is… ,” spearheaded by associate editor Sarah Pfledderer. We ask eight San Diegans to take us inside their “happy place,” and the results vary from a downtown loft with a 1931 Steinway piano to a 64-square-foot kitchen.

More eye candy abounds elsewhere in these pages—like Troy Johnson’s review of Born & Raised, the photogenic $6.5 million steakhouse in Little Italy, and the style section’s spring denim special.

Whether you exercise your dollar on jeans, a fancy steakhouse, or a new home, we hope this issue brings you inspiration from every corner. As for me, taking the reins during Editor-in-Chief Erin Meanley Glenny’s maternity leave has given me a renewed perspective on covering this city, its people, and the stories they have to share. Erin will be back in action next month. So, until then!

Archana Ram, Senior Editor
archana@sdmag.com archanapramarchanapram

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