House Hunting: A Renovated 60’s Palace in Lake Elsinore

In our quest to find our dream house {Spanish style homes or houses built in the late 50’s-early 60’s}, which are millions of dollars in Los Angeles and under $400K everywhere else in between here and NYC, it seems, the husband and I have begun looking just outside LA to hopefully find something comparable. I think ideally, we don’t really want to move from our beloved home town of LA but are also not willing to spend all of our hard earned dollars on a tiny house that looks just like every other house we’ve lived in here since we were children.

So Palm Springs was our first option, just under two hours from LA, where we found gorgeous Spanish style homes on golf courses that looked dreamy, so we took a little trip to check it out. We returned from Palm Springs optimistic but realized quickly that we wouldn’t be able to stand the desert heat for longer than about a week. So we began looking at lake cities and beach towns about an hour or two outside of LA. We’ve actually found some potentially great places, but we always end up deciding to stay put and keep saving our pennies.

As soon as we decide to stay, however, we find something amazing and this house is just that. It’s in/on Lake Elsinore, which until my husband showed me the listing three days ago, I had never heard of. Apparently it’s only about and hour and 30 minutes from here and is sort of in between LA and San Diego and/or Palm Springs, if that makes any sense. This house is kind of amazing. And although they may have gone a bit blue tile crazy, I love the 60’s design, the colossal feel and pool and the lake view {it’s in the distance}. This kind of a house doesn’t really exist in LA, and if it did, it would most definitely NOT be in our price range. In Lake Elsinore however, it’s under what we had planned to spend if we stay here.

So, just like I did with my Palm Springs house hunting post, I want to reach out to any and all of you who have lived in or around Lake Elsinore or have anything to say good or bad about it. Because this house has me sold. There is so much potential and I LOVE the indoor/outdoor space and feel… What do you think?

See the lake in the distance in the photo below-in between the mountains & the lone palm tree.

The front door and backyard are kind of next to each other…

I mean seriously, this house is dreamy… has so much potential and a 60’s feel that we love. It’s also $200K LESS than we’d spend on a house here in LA and is 3 times bigger than we’d get here… not to mention the 36,155 Sq. Ft. lot size vs the 8sq. ft. lot size we’d get here. Oh and also, there’s a lake.

Thoughts… please. I have no idea about this area and would love your input!

Happy Saturday!


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Girl With A Pearl Earring

    August 25, 2012 |

    Ahh, this house is gorgeous. Houses in LA are definitely way overpriced. There’s so much room and so much light. And the lot is amazing.

  • josephine

    August 25, 2012 |

    You’re right – a little blue tile crazy. But begging for some mid-century modern furniture. I know you would do it justice! Growing up in LA, I always thought of Riverside County in general as kind of blah, but Lake Elsinore seems like a beautiful area! I think it would be perfect.

  • josephine

    August 25, 2012 |

    If you don’t want to leave LA as far, though – you should keep an eye on this website. Most of them are in Glendale and would probably be on the higher end of your budget, but some AMAZING spanish homes overall.

  • Jessica

    August 25, 2012 |

    The yard looks amazing! I’m sorry to say that my experiences with Lake Elsinore have not been positive. There is a lot of poverty and a bad drug problem in the community (and I’m not talking about drug use, I’m talking about drug manufacturing). I have many friends that live in Canyon Lake, which is a nearby gated lake community, and they have told me that much has been done to clean up Elsinore lately, so maybe it is better. It is also pretty hot there so if you didn’t think you could take the heat in Palm Springs, check the temperature charts there. Not as hot as PS, but hot! There also isn’t much to do there unless you’re into dirt bikes and wake boarding and its pretty far away from a lot. Spend a week in Elsinore and drive around the community before you set your dreams on that beautiful house. Happy House Hunting and don’t settle. xoxo

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    August 25, 2012 |

    Lake Elsinore stinks (literally) and is green. I’m a waterskiier and we just were there for a couple of hours earlier this summer. They’ve got an air pump to try and correct the problem, but it’s still considered Lake Smellsimore.

    This house is AMAZING, but WAY nicer than anything you’d see there. Frankly, the town is a little ghetto. You’d definitely need to go and drive all around the town…but I’m sure you’ll be super disappointed. It’s sad because the lake and community could be so great, but the town has made improvements VERY slowly. It’s better than it was even five years ago, but still…it’s okay for camping (GREAT new lakeside camp spot) and again, the lake smell isn’t as hellacious as it was before, but I wouldn’t live there.


  • Kathryn

    August 25, 2012 |

    My Dad and his wife live in neighboring Wildomar. My step-mom works for the lake elsinore schools. I never hear good things about the parents and unfortunately the children suffer as well. That is an awesome and HUGE house, but there us probably a reason why it is cheaper. I say keep looking. I know nobody likes to bear that when they really like a house. Househunting is gruelling. But, I think you must have an inkling tha the house isn’t right for you b/c you asked for input. When we bought our house 4 years ago I went through the same thing. Except, when I found our house-i knew! Good luck!

  • Jennifer

    August 25, 2012 |

    That house is beautiful!

    xo Jennifer

  • Amanda Rose

    August 25, 2012 |

    HOLY MOLY, Maeg! 🙂 So beee-yoot-iful!
    As much as I understand the need for other people’s input on an unknown area…I say, trust your own house-huntin’ heart…<3 <3 <3

  • luckylass

    August 25, 2012 |

    The house is beautiful, but remember it is all about location. It doesn’t matter how nice it is for living and entertaining if no one ever comes to visit.

  • Anonymous

    August 25, 2012 |

    I would spend a week/weekend there first. “Just to make sure” if this town is your type of town. JMO

  • Lauren Welsh

    August 25, 2012 |

    The house is amazing! Too bad its not somewhere else. I am not a fan of Lake Elsinore. It used to be great back in the Old Hollywood days, kind of a celebrity getaway/hotspot. Its kinda sad how gross it has become. And the lake is not worth going to, and everyone else is right – its unbearably hot in the summer.

  • Anonymous

    August 25, 2012 |

    Buy it quick, before I do…lol! No seriously it’s beautiful and a good price.

  • RebeccaGaskins

    August 26, 2012 |

    Lake Elsinore is a no-go. Check out Murrieta or Temecula. Much nicer/safer/cleaner areas. I live in Riverside, about 40 minutes from Lake Elsinore, and I only go there once a year to do a mud run at the minor league baseball stadium. Good luck!

  • Jessi

    August 26, 2012 |

    Holy shiz, that house is GORGEOUS. Of course, I can’t say anything to living there, as the longest I’ve ever been in Cali/LA was 3 days back in 2004 😉 But wow, I’m stunned by the beauty of the house and views. Wow.
    xoxo J

  • helen tilston

    August 26, 2012 |

    This is a beautiful house. I know nothing of the area. Your readers have offered sage advice.

    Speaking from experience, do not fall in love with a house, fall in love with the neighbourhood and the house will follow.
    Eight years agao I fell in love with a model home, about two hours from the city and we purchased it. There was nothing happening in the town and we put it on the market the following year, it took more than 2 yrs to sell. I like your reader who said rent a house in the town for a week to test.

    Wishing you good luck in your search
    Helen xx

  • Amy Stebbins

    August 26, 2012 |

    I lived in Elsinore once upon a time, and then moved after about 6 months. The lake itself is just nasty. I agree with the other posters who actually KNOW about the area. It is not the best of California, that is for sure! Temecula is much better if you are looking in that general area. the first thing to look at is crime rates, and schools in the area you look in for a home. I also look at sex offenders that live in the area. Another thing I have learned over the years, and having lived all over the USA is that “you get what you pay for”. Good luck to you in your house hunting. I will be looking for another house here in the near future as well!

  • meghan

    August 26, 2012 |

    There are some gorgeous homes and lake views in Lake Elsinore and I’ve heard they are cleaning up the area, but other than that it leaves a lot to be desired. It gets unbearably hot, the lake smells horrible in the summer, has several sketchy areas and it isn’t the prettiest of towns. I agree with some of the other readers … check out nearby Murrieta, Temecula or Fallbrook instead.

  • Mindy

    August 26, 2012 |

    Have you considered speaking/working with a realtor? This is a great market for foreclosures. We are also doing some preliminary house hunting in the LA/Valley area. There’s some hope out there … I see foreclosure listings with “reasonable” prices (by LA standards) although I haven’t checked any of them out. Not all foreclosures are run-down slums. If you don’t mind the stress of being at the mercy of the bank, a foreclosure could be your saving grace. Good luck! I know you’ll find the perfect place.

  • Higgenbottom

    August 26, 2012 |

    I was born and raised in the Inland Empire and I agree with the previous commentors who have personal experience with Lake Elsinore. When I read the this city’s words on your blog, I said “gross” out loud. It was so ghetto and gross and my family member who worked in customs was kept very busy with drug busts out there. I haven’t been there in about ten years, but as far as I’ve heard, their reputation hasn’t changed much. Murrieta and Temecula aren’t too bad, but personally, I think they’re the sticks (and would perhaps consider moving there in about 15 years when a little more develops). Try San Marino (Father of the Bride house is there), Sierra Madre (quaint, quiet, out of the way little town, San Dimas, Glendora, Claremont (just like Mayberry town), Upland (I can really see you here living along Eucild, north of Foothill St), and Rancho Cucamonga (my hometown with a great mall). I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I can see you being pleased with those cities. From here, you’re three hours drive from Vegas and a short trip to Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. I hope this helps.

  • gina

    August 26, 2012 |

    I agree with others that know the area. My aunt has lived there for 20ish years and we always go there to visit her….the town leaves little to nothing to be desired. Now someone above mentioned Lake Arrowed, which is where I currently reside. It’s not all mountain cabins up here, I’ve seen several 60’s houses like you’re looking for. Take a peek around my neck of the woods, you might just find what you’re looking for.up here.

  • Rene Braun

    August 26, 2012 |

    Hello Maegan! This house is so beautiful! My comment will not be helpfull for you but your post makes me get some proportions about real estate in the world. Here in Israel for 400K$ you can find regular flat, very small if if it located in center. Also private houses for at least 1M are small relatively…
    Good luck with the house and thanks for sharing!

  • Nicole

    August 26, 2012 |

    Wow! What a beautiful home! I cannot say I know the area but I will say no one is lying when they say “location,location,location”! We are currently stuck in a house in a less than desirable location with no chance of ever getting out what we’ve put in. Probably either have to stay here or rent it at some point. Something to consider when buying in a slow sell market…if you hate it after a year can you sell it? Also being so far away from family doesn’t seem so bad right now but it will be after a while. I’d say keep looking. There are a ton a good deals out there right now.

  • Marie-Eve

    August 26, 2012 |

    I don’t think this place could be more perfect !

  • laura

    August 26, 2012 |

    The house is beautiful, but Lake Elsinore is not the best place to live, I’m sorry to say. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, since so many others have relayed what the city & lake are like.

    I have a little (and I do mean little!) midecentury modest house in Upland. Our budget was a lot smaller than yours, and we found a cute little midcentury that is almost completely untouched and has little ‘remuddling.’ THere are many, many midcenturies, craftsmen, spanish and mediterranean houses here at all price points. Neighboring communties Claremont, San Dimas, and La Verne might have what you are looking for and all are close to Puddingstone Lake.

    Good luck in your search for homes! And YAY for vintage home love!

  • yogawithtrish

    August 26, 2012 |

    love it! could totally see you guys here!!! adore the blue tile and island in the kitchen. a little much still going in the bathroom but with those views and that pool it’s no biggie! oh the things you could do to it, i would love to see! xoxo

  • thankfifi

    August 26, 2012 |

    the house looks incredible – sorry I have no advice about the area

    ♥ ThankFifi

  • They Call Me Sunshine

    August 27, 2012 |

    Oh hunnie, NO.

    I grew up in Temecula (just down the way). Lake Elsinore is impoverished and notorious for drug offenders. If you like the area, maybe check out Canyon Lake which is on the other side of the 15, or Temecula, or Murrieta.

    Could you imagine yourself in the OC? I feel like I should tell you Temecula and Murrieta have a very OC/subrburban feel. Lacking in cultural diversity and filled with chain restaurants and churches! Not that there is anything wrong with that (I moved to the OC a year ago after living in LA for 7 years). Feel free to email me if you want any input on the I.E.

  • Anonymous

    August 27, 2012 |

    NO no no no….Bad bad part of town….There is a reason it is so cheap….remember that. You always get what you pay for. I live in the Valley and my husband and I keep looking for somewhere else to go that costs less, but honestly, we havent found it yet. We love coastal towns, and are looking at San Luis Obispo, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, San Diego and San Clemente. We have a huge house here in the valley and we cant wait to have something more manageable. So were willing to downsize to get a cozy house in a premier area.

  • Hendy

    August 28, 2012 |

    I live in Murrieta now and have lived within 10 miles of this area about all my 33 years of life. So I get to say I’m in the “trust me” side of this argument. 😉 And the positive thing I have to say about Lake Elsinore is that it is super close to A LOT of things!! The city itself? Ehhhh….
    I do have a few friends who live off the 15 freeway at the Lake Street exit up the Ortega Mountains in some really nice, brand new development’s and they LOVE it!! But that’s a different area of Elsinore than what you’re looking at.
    So my bottom line is. There are nice area’s of every city, and given this GORGEOUS house I’d be willing to bet this is probably a “nicer area” of Elsinore. However, I think you might have a bit of a culture shock once you actually see the city. There’s not much there. And what is there, isn’t the greatest.
    My suggestion is come check out the city/area. And if you do, don’t miss Canyon Lake, Murrieta & best of all Temecula! I’ve heard Redlands & Corona is super nice too?

  • Abdul

    August 30, 2012 |

    This house is absolutely breathtaking, and it looks like a brand new home. Living in this house is like staying in a luxurious resort, where you can completely relax and commune with nature. It would be a pleasant experience to wake up in the morning and stroll along the nearby lake. Then you arrive home and have a glass of champagne beside this gigantic pool. By the way, have you decided to buy this house, Megan?
    Abdul Jackson/

  • jenat

    September 4, 2012 |

    Oo. To beat a dead horse, the house is a-maz-ing, area around it, not so much. Canyon lake, lake Matthews, Santa Ana, old town orange, upland, Pomona – all places that will leave you dead center in so Cal. 35 mins from the beach, the mountains, and great local scenery/culture. I grew up in the OC and the inland empire and there is some beautiful old houses in those areas. Orange county and riverside you can definitely find old hacienda style 60s architecture for great deals.

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