Building a new house in Palo Alto

Building a new house in Palo Alto

Monday, January 23, 2012

Prosperity & Palo Alto real estate (NPR's take)

If you have been in an Asian neighborhood or Chinese restaurant recently you may have seen a sign like this on doorways:

福倒 Fu Dao -- a wish for a prosperous year

Today is Chinese New Year and this sign features the character Fu () which means fortune.  It is traditionally hung upside down because the Chinese word for "upside down" is "Dao," which also happens to mean "arrives."  So an upside down "fortune" is a play on words meaning "fortune arrives" and is an auspicious symbol to put on one's door welcoming prosperity into your home.

Despite the warnings about a financing bubble, education bubble, tech bubble, and media calling everything a bubble bubble, the year of 2011 was a great one for our family and Silicon Valley.  Prosperity arrived to us in the form of a new job for Thomas, an IPO for Kay, a little brother for Cisco and a new home for all of us in one of the greatest places on earth.

A friend (who has the best personal blog ever) recently asked us why we decided to buy in Palo Alto.  That's the subject of a long complicated post on investing, resale values, and a personal history which I hope to get around to soon.  In the meantime, here's a segment from NPR that attempts to explain this crazy little thing called Palo Alto real estate: Silicon Valley Homebuilder Finds A Profitable Niche. 

For a behind the scenes look at the Palo Alto real estate market, here are a few bonus links to stars of the segment:

James Witt:
Before we decided to build our own, we considered buying a house by James Witt, the leading man of the NPR segment.  James is the Steve Jobs of Bay Area builders and designs practical yet beautiful homes chock-full of cool features and artistic touches.  Check out his homes for sale and projects if you want to buy a brand new home or are a remodeler in need of design ideas.

The $2 Million house that the buyer might want to remodel again:
Here's a link the $2 Million Eichler built in 1973 and featured in the NPR segment.  It's actually quite charming and located in Community Center -- a great part of Palo Alto near several parks.  There's an open house this weekend.  The real estate agent, Denise Simons was also the selling agent for the house that we bought and does a great job preparing older homes for sale.

Happy Chinese New Year!  May you be blessed with upside down Fu's in 2012!

Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year and upside down Fu's to you too. Thank you for the shout on your blog! I have a feeling we will come up with a lot of post-worthy discussions in the future.

  2. PS thanks for link to James Witt's site. Drooling.

    1. If you ever have a chance to go to one of his open houses, go meet him! He takes a lot of pride in his work so it's fun getting a guided tour and talking with him about the building process.

    2. P.S. I love how you always have a P.S. comment to boost my comment totals.

  3. Honestly it's because I am so quick on the trigger and then I have additional thoughts. Story of my life.