The San Fernando Valley always gets a bad rap. People say it’s too far, it’s too hot, it’s too suburban, but maybe those people haven’t given the Valley a fair shake—or maybe they haven’t seen this house.
There are a surprising number of people jogging, biking, and walking at noon on a weekday on a path near James and Dalene’s house along the northwest border of Lake Balboa Park. But around 6 p.m., once everyone is out of work for the day, James says the outdoor enthusiasts really come out in droves.
The park was a big reason why James, an environmental engineer and a lifelong Valleyite, and his wife Dalene, who co-owns a home health agency and who was raised in the San Gabriel Valley, love the neighborhood. Dalene admits she never thought she’d be hearing herself saying that, but she’s a full-on convert.
Prior to buying their 1950s ranch house, the couple had been living together in a townhouse just minutes away—a “bachelor pad,”James called it. They bought the house wanting to make it a more family-oriented space they could enjoy with their young daughter, Romy.
The result is cool, neutral tones and lots of fluid family space, and neither of them sees the family moving any time soon.
Besides the perk of having a huge recreation space close by and a roomy backyard with space for a jungle gym, the Valley’s more-relaxed-than-LA vibe, economic diversity, and increasingly cool food options top the list of their favorite things about the area. “As soon as Ludo