What is Your Ideal Community?

Before I moved to Santa Cruz County in 1997, I dabbled with the idea of moving to Half Moon Bay. At that time, I was working in Foster City and was just beginning to think about what would be a perfect community for me. Every chance I got, I would truck on over to Half Moon Bay, exploring beaches, neighborhoods, and the charming downtown area. What I liked about the area was it was historical – the downtown was charming, and the community had been preserved, not overdeveloped. The beaches were spectacular (Moss Beach, Mavericks, etc.) I spent a memorable birthday lying on Moss Beach – sun beating down, not a soul in site, waves rhytimically crashing – such peace!

I would say that I spent a year or so exploring the area before I decided it was too windy for my taste and it didn’t have the mental stimulation that I thought a university town might provide. So it was on to Santa Cruz.

I had spent much of my childhood and teen years in the Santa Cruz area, so I was already familiar with it, but as I began to explore it again, it was like discovering it anew.

It’s hard to say exactly what drew me to Santa Cruz, but it would have to be the combination of fun (via the Boardwalk, specifically the roller coaster), intellectual stimulation (bookstores, events, the influence of the university), the amazing natural beauty of beaches, hills, mountains and redwoods all converging in one geographic area, the vitality of the downtown (actually bustling with people, street artists, restaurants, funky shops and the basics: movies, bookstores, cafes). I was sold.

Now all that was left was finding a house. I called a few agents, and looking back, I wonder what their problem was – not many followed up. I finally found one fantastic agent who made it all happen for me and the rest is history.

I understand from my own experience that the buying curve can be quite long. It takes as long as it takes to know in your bones what is right for you and the timing has to be right, as well. I trusted my instincts and couldn’t be happier with where I ended up.

I love to play a part in other people’s journey to this magical place. debryman.com


What’s Your Architectural Style?

I love architecture and design. As a Girl Scout in 6th grade, I did interior design research (an exercise in career preparation). I was amazed (and at the time, overwhelmed) at all of the various and sundry historical influences.

As a Realtor, I find that as I engage with people about their dream homes, if I dig a little bit, virtually everyone has specific ideas about what they like and don’t like – some people crave open floor plans with elaborate kitchens with morning sunlight – others love Craftsman style details – some must be “steps to the sand,” others in the midst of old growth redwoods. It’s all about mood, lifestyle, identity, and every preference a person can have from paint color to flooring materials.

I bond most easily with buyers who appreciate “homes with character,” as that is a specific love of my own – but I have also come to appreciate styles I would not have thought I would like, through exposure to diverse style treatments and lifestyles.

I always appreciate thoughtful design, high-end materials, and innovation, but I wonder who doesn’t?

I have lived in ranch style homes (or ramblers, as they are referred to in other parts of the country), and even though this was the style in my formative teen years, it is not a favorite. But some people like the style and although it is difficult for me to fathom, I will do everything in my power to show the cream of the ranch style crop to people who crave a “ranch” home. Or, if representing sellers, I might suggest modest design changes that make the best of the design (for instance, if you happen to have a ranch home with a pink tiled bathroom, then my suggestion might be to vamp it up as much as possible – perhaps bright pink wall color complimented by a poodle motif toilet seat cover?) I like to insert humor into a home’s decor, especially when design elements are lacking. debryman.com

I Moved to My Vacation Destination & Have Never Looked Back

While in graduate school (after my children were launched) – (yes, I am old as dirt – one of those annoying Babyboomers who litter the landscape), I decided to move to the beach where I had the romantic notion I would finish my dissertation in peace and tranquility.

Well, after three years of writing, I threw in the towel, but I have never looked back from making the move, even though my course subsequently changed so dramatically. Previously, I had lived in suburbia – never my intention, but once there, it seemed important to raise my family in one neighborhood in an attempt to provide roots through continuity. I truly feel suburbia is a stiffling dead-end in more ways than one (the subject for another blog rant), but the wonderful thing about where I live now is there is no part of Santa Cruz County that is truly suburbia (well, there are a few neighborhoods that might count, but the preponderance of homes are very individual and unique). That is one of the key features I love about Santa Cruz.

It is very cool to live in what used to be your vacation destination. Santa Cruz County has so many wonders I’d have to be six people to do all of the interesting things there are to do. It’s so nice to be able to easily make every walk a walk on the beach. These days I favor East Cliff Drive, just above The Hook and Pleasure Point. On those days where life gets the best of you, seeing the vastness and beauty of the ocean puts everything into perspective. And the rhythm of the waves and salt air are not just cliches – the combination is just magic in terms of a relaxation elixer.

Living in such a beautiful place makes me wonder why anyone would settle for less or live in areas that are not aesthetically pleasing, if they have the means to live elsewhere. I am sure there are a million reasons ranging from family roots, to job accessibility to obliviousness to one’s environment. I could never go back to suburbia (never say never, but I MEAN it!). I love the diversity and beauty of Santa Cruz County. debryman.com