Dave and Candace Chen with daughters Autumn, 4, and Astrid, 1, enjoy their new community of Bluffs at Portola Springs.

Finding a forever community

by Ada Madigan

For the Chen family, settling into the Bluffs community in Portola Springs came easy after moving from Santa Clarita in April. Like many, the pandemic spurred their relocation and is what Candace and Dave refer to as their pandemic silver lining. “It gave us a chance to really prioritize what we want to prioritize – a pleasant lifestyle and our kids,” Dave says.

While proximity to quality schools ranked highest on their list, Candace says what sold them further were the views and natural beauty. Fond of new-builds, the sleek and minimal design called to them, and with panoramic windows that allow for an abundance of natural light, they said yes without hesitation. “Choosing a new-build allowed us to customize and made this house feel like home before we even moved in,” Candace says.

With remote work his new norm, Dave, an aerospace engineer, said that having a proper office to close off at the end of the day was a huge selling point. “I love this house so much, I don’t want to taint it with work,” he says.

Next up, says Candace, is a garden, and a plan for their dream backyard is in the works. The goal? A modern and minimalistic space complete with a fire pit and outdoor dining room, which they will access through the home’s sliding glass walls that take indoor-outdoor living to the next level.

Perhaps best of all is how at home the Chens say they already feel. “The sense of community was automatic for us,” Dave explains. “We feel so comfortable here, and it feels like our girls discover a new park every day. It’s like a park buffet.”

Glass sliders open the main living space to the outdoors.


Create your own backyard paradise with these modern features

GET GROWING - Options are endless; grasses, fruit trees or flowers are all suitable for these sculptural acacia wood planters. $129 - $199, World Market, The Market Place.
REST EASY - GatherCraft’s resort-worthy Palm Cay Daybed transports you back to your favorite vacation spot. $1,982, Mathis Brothers, The Market Place.
PIZZA PIZZAZZ - The Nano One Pizza Oven is portable and perfect for delivering authentic wood-fired pizza. $2,400, Barbeques Galore, The Market Place.

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