Housing being too expensive in San Diego, I set out to realize my lifelong dream of homeownership.

The first step was finding a suitable plot of land, the criteria being location, location, and location. I wanted great views, rural ambience, quick freeway access, and walking distance to UCSD and the beach.

Happily a solution quickly arose in the form of Rose Canyon, a rustic urban canyon which parallels Gilman Drive between I-5 and the UCSD campus. The canyon not only fulfilled all my critera — it possessed the coveted 92037 ZIP code, and its zoning as open space ensured that my views would be preserved in perpetuity.

Invoking the federal Homestead Act, I claimed 10 acres of canyonland as my own, and — with minimal investment and max sweat equity — constructed the modest micro-home seen in the photos.

I’ve lived here for two months now, and am happy to report that the joy of homeownership is everything I dreamed of. My kitchen window opens to a lush hillside of wild mustard and other native flora. The spring rains have my bean-field looking healthy, with the promise of a tidy crop. Hawks fly over daily, and the shrubbery along Gilman keeps my residence cozy and semi-private from the commuter traffic.

Life is good — I’m grateful.




Photos Maura Vazakas