Design Trends: Going Green

Design Trends: Going Green

Going green is nothing new. But what is new, is the level of interest homeowners are taking in incorporating this movement into their homes.

A recent article in the Huffington Post tells of a couple whose home is so energy efficient, it actually creates more energy than the family uses, leading them to get paid by the electric company. While still a novelty in the US, it’s possible in coming years that these so-called “passive homes” will get picked up as a trend.

In sunny Southern California, many homeowners are taking the initiative by installing solar panels on their rooftops. These panels come in many designs and especially on the flat or low-pitched roofs, aren’t particularly obtrusive. Not only are solar panels great for the environment and the conservation of natural resources, they actually save you money in the long run.

We’ve featured Mr. Sandless before on this blog, but it really is a great company that is environmentally friendly. Traditional methods of refinishing floors involve sanding them, which releases carcinogenic dust. Mr. Sandless does it sand-free and mess-free. No dust, no carcinogens, and it’s guaranteed green.

There are a variety of household products on the market that are free of harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals. Many of the additives used in household products, while not dangerous if used correctly, can poison our oceans and waterways through incorrect disposal. Whether you’re looking for paint, sealants, cleaners, solvents, or other fluids, there are plenty of alternative options on the market.

While not a new concept, energy efficient lighting is getting more affordable. A variety of different light bulbs can help your existing light fixtures use less energy and save you money. Motion sensors in rooms can help prevent lights from accidentally being left on in empty rooms for hours.

No matter your gardening skill or space limitations, you can grow something at home. Most herbs need very little space and minimal care. Check out our article on gardening for some ideas about how you can get started with a garden at your house or apartment.

All kinds of energy efficient appliances have entered the market. Sometimes you can even get a rebate or other monetary reward for switching to a more efficient water heater or other household appliance. SDG&E offers one such program. Beyond that, everything from refrigerators to microwaves to fans have been improved to use less energy, ultimately saving you money on your home electricity costs.

A green, well-tended lawn is often seen as a point of pride for home-owners. But not so in areas like Arizona or Palm Springs, where the sheer cost to keep such a lawn looking that great borders on exorbitant. If you must have a lawn, do some research on the best types of grass that thrive in your area. Pick a grass that requires minimal watering beyond what is naturally provided by the weather. If you’re not particularly attached to the idea of having a lawn or don’t want to deal with the upkeep, consider decorating your front and back yard spaces with native plants. In arid regions, this might take the form of cacti, scrub brush, and other hardy plants, like succulents. In rainier places, like Oregon, you’ll have more choice about the type of plants you want to grow. In more diverse weather conditions, look to the vegetation that naturally thrives in the area. You’ll need plants that can survive extreme cold and extreme heat, preferably ones that go through a renewal period during the winter.

From the big to the small, “green” changes can make a world of difference in the health of the planet. Many of these changes can ultimately save you money or even increase the health of you and your family.

Restaurant of the Moment: Hane Sushi

Hane Sushi

Bankers Hill

2760 5th Ave.

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 260-1411

Want the best sushi this side of Japan? Then you absolutely must try Hane Sushi. Located in beautiful Banker’s Hill, this tiny shop truly has the most extraordinary sushi in San Diego. Often busy and perhaps a little pricier than some of San Diego’s other sushi joints, Hane manages to outshine the rest for Best in Show. Boasting an impressive 4.5 star average on Yelp, out of more than 400 reviews, read on for Neal Akin’s (a CPP agent) take.

“Can you say Miso Glazed Sea bass??? This little appetizer was PHENOMENAL, 5 stars for sure!! The delicate edges of the fish were seared golden brown, and the flesh was a brilliant white. The meat was cooked to flaky perfection, not too soft nor too hard. Each layer was juicy, tender and the flavor was oh so savory with a contradictory hint of sweetness! I could have ordered 3 more and been totally satisfied with just that as my dinner. Fortunate for me, I had a delectable assortment of nigiri on the way!

To the Nigiri….

Amaebi – Live sweet shrimp, served with the heads deep fried on the side. The flesh of the shrimp was wonderful, very slightly cloudy, almost transparent, a sure sign of its freshness. The crunch and sweetness of the fresh shrimp really stood out and exemplified what this should be. The heads, traditionally deep fried were prepared to perfection and the delicious complex flavor of the shrimp head was able to shine. The sauce that the heads are served on was rather tasty with a little tang, a really nice touch.

Uni – Ohh delicious little vibrantly yellow pillows of buttery sea urchin goodness! This Uni is actually locally farmed and is as good as I have ever experienced. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you may actually like it! Just don’t tell your wallet cause it will hate you!

Mirugai – Also known as Geoduck or Giant Clam. If you don’t know what it is, google it and you will either laugh or be grossed out, either way it will be fun. I really like mirugai, unfortunately it was not the best I had ever had, but it was good.

Hamache Belly and Sake Belly- Yellow tail belly and Salmon belly – the cuts were really good, the flavor was perfect, simply damn good nigiri.

Tamago – Egg Omelet, sounds weird but really good. The preparation and the consistency of this tamago was really nice, they really take pride in their tamago, and actually stamp each piece that comes out to the table with their logo! The flavor was not quite there for me, as I like my tamago a little sweeter, but it was still nice. ”

Whether you’re a sushi aficionado or just really dig it, give Hane a try. Open for lunch and dinner, the fish is always the freshest of the fresh.

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Favorite Neighborhoods: University City

Also known as UTC and the Golden Triangle, University City lies nestled between the intersections of I-5, I-805, and CA-52. It is a hidden jewel of single-stories at affordable prices.

Divided into North and South by the popular Rose Canyon, South University City is much more residential, while North University City is home to the Westfield UTC mall and a vast assortment of apartments, townhomes, and condos, populated by young families, UCSD students, and college grads.

Map of University City

Buildings and Institutions:

University City is home to several public schools, included University City High, Marie Curie Elementary,  Doyle Elementary, Spreckles Elementary, and Standley Middle. There are also several private schools in the area.

Most notably, University City is home to the iconic, white-steepled San Diego California Temple, an LDS church. Several other churches operate in the area, including another LDS church on the south side of University City, a Catholic Church, and and Episcopalian church, among others.

The newly renovated UTC mall is a major hub for activity, featuring many stories, restaurants, and even a new movie theater, the Arclight.

There are several office parks and hotels on the North Side of University City.

Two libraries serve the area, one on the north side and one on the south.


The largest point of recreation in the area is the wide swath of open space that makes up Rose Canyon, effectively separating North and South University City. The walking trails in Rose Canyon are wide, sandy, and fairly flat. Entrances from Genessee and the northern side of Regents Road provide the most accessibility. For the more adventurous walker of jogger, there is an entrance located at the base of Regents Road on the south side, which is rather more hilly and difficult. Additional points of entry can be found in the scattered neighborhoods on this Western-most tip of University City.

University City is home to many parks, including several dog parks.

Well-maintained sidewalks and neighborhood areas provide plenty of safe, recreational walking space.

University City High houses a full track that is open to recreational use when not in use by the school.

Numerous gyms are available in the area, along with a couple community recreation centers.

Rose Canyon

Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants:


Sushi Ki

La Jolla Strip Club

Seasons 52 (UTC mall)

Eureka! Burger (UTC mall)

Aloha Sushi (UTC mall parking lot)

Star Anise Thai

Fleming’s Steakhouse

Donovan’s Steakhouse

Apollonia Greek



Mitsugawa Sushi

Bite of Boston

Lorna’s Italian Kitchen

If you would like more information on University City or any other neighborhood, please contact us!

Charity: Senior Wish “Wish of a Lifetime”

Wish of a Lifetime

Wish of a Lifetime
1821 Blake Street Suite 200
Denver, CO 80202


Last weekend at the real estate conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Amy Green and Susan Meyers-Pyke got to hear some of the inspiring stories of the seniors who have benefited from the Wish of a Lifetime program.

After the presentation, they had a chance to speak more with Jesse Boyd, one of the spokesmen for seniors, pictured below. Jesse posing with Susan Meyers-Pyke, is a three-time war vet. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Jesse is pictured in his original WWII uniform, from 1942.


Founded by Jeremy Bloom, the organization strives to provide deserving seniors with their “Wish of a Lifetime”, whether that be dancing with the Radio City Rockettes, going skydiving, or finding a child that was given up for adoption. The stories are inspiring, both in their simplicity and passion. Much like the children’s organization, Make A Wish, the wishes of Wish of a Lifetime are filled with the sum total of hope and yearning of one single life, singular, but so large in scope.

From the WOL website:

“WOL Foundation is built on the premise that senior citizens should be respected, honored and aided in our society.  They have given a lifetime of service, wisdom and most of all love to their community and families.”

All of us have dreams. Not all of us get to achieve them. Wish of a Lifetime helps deserving seniors live theirs.

To learn about volunteering, helping, or donating, visit the website.

Restaurant of the Moment: Kitchen 4140

Kitchen 4140

4140 Morena Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92117


Tucked in an office park, just past the Costco on Morena Boulevard, you’ll the romantic and decidedly chic Kitchen 4140. Reminiscent of the industrial, craftsman interiors of farm-to-table restaurants down in Hillcrest and North Park, Kitchen 4140 is quite the hidden treasure.

As you walk up to the restaurant at night, you’ll be greeted by twinkling, white party lights and an exterior herb garden. Take a moment to take in the decadent scents of plants sprouting from the moist earth. Inside, you’ll love the small and intimate atmosphere.

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 3.31.09 PM

Both lunch and dinner menus boast an adventurous array of flavors, bringing you an upscale New American menu for less than the average price. The food is cooked to order and absolutely delicious. For dinner, try the Sweet Chili Salmon. The fish is moist and flavorful and the sauce is just the right balance of sweet and spicy. Coconut cashew basmati rice provides the perfect compliment. The meal is just the right size; not too small, or too heavy. You’ll leave feeling comfortably full.

On the more masculine side, the Kitchen burger is not to be missed. Definitely for the more robust appetite, the burger is large, juicy, and flavorful. Truffle fries keep the dish updated rather than down-home.

Perhaps best known for their Sunday brunch, don’t forget, you can bring your own bottle of wine or champagne.

On a Wednesday night they weren’t too busy and the staff was friendly and attentive. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, make a stop at Kitchen 4140.

San Diego News: Home Prices Rising

San Diego News: Homes Prices Rising

Good news for San Diego county homeowners! Housing prices are rising! As reported by CBS-8:
“Rising housing prices are reinvigorating the move-up market for San Diego County homeowners, the head of the San Diego Association of Realtors said Friday.
The trade group reported this week that the price of a single-family home increased 14 percent — from $360,000 to $410,000 — between February 2012 and last month. It’s the first time in two years that the median price of a house in the San Diego region crossed the $400,000 level.
“Prices have risen enough that many people who put off selling their home are listing it because they know they’re going to be able to move up into that nicer home, or down into a more affordable one, without leaving money on the table,” SDAR board President Linda Lee said.
Prices of condominiums and townhomes also shot up over the same time period, from $198,500 to $250,000, a 26 percent increase, the SDAR reported.
The association reported the cost for both attached and detached residences combined climbed 18 percent.”
This is a drastically different market from 2012, it almost feels like 2005 again with multiple offers on nice homes and many buyers needing to go over list price. We are also seeing many sellers testing the water by listing their homes at prices well over anything that has sold in the last 6 months which makes it all the more important for sellers and buyers to work with experienced agents as appraisals can and will be an issue if not handled properly.  With that said, it’s a more positive real estate outlook and market than we have had in years so if you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling we would love the opportunity to help!
Amy and Susan