The family also planted 400 avocado trees in an intimate grove on their land. Being the avocado capital of the world, Fallbrook’s coastal environment is especially conducive to growing these lush trees. Plus, Bill grew up on a nursery that sold plants and avocadoes, so he knows the ins and outs of growing the fruit.
“This is the second year we’ve had the trees, and Bill says we might be able to harvest them this year,” says Lori. “We might get up to 10,000 avocadoes this season.” The family plans to sell the avocadoes to a packing company for wholesale re-selling.
Another unique feature of the house is a deluxe, 2,000-square-foot dog house, designed exclusively for the family’s two American Bulldogs. Featuring a concrete floor and its own spacious dirt-and-gravel backyard, this plush pet home is enclosed with a chain link fence and topped with Quick Covers to keep the dogs dry in inclement weather. “It’s built like a house; it’s a great place for them to live, and is very safe. They’re great guard dogs, and also good family dogs.” Lori plans to breed the dogs later this summer.
The Atkinses thoroughly enjoy their home with its beautiful views, and take full advantage of the sunny, southern California weather by spending most of their time outdoors. “We really enjoy being outside. Our home is high on the hill and very tranquil. Before every dance, the kids always come here to take pictures. We often have our friends over in the spa, and I recently threw a 50th birthday party for my husband, at sunset.”
Overall, Lori reflects back on the building process with fondness. She concedes that “everything was overboard because of the property,” noting that the family was charged extra fees to accomplish many tasks. For instance, “the trucks carrying concrete for the house’s foundation had to drive backwards up the last mile of the driveway to avoid slipping down the hill.”
Also, many building materials were simply dropped off at the bottom of the hill and hauled up by hand, or with the help of heavy equipment. It was feared some heavy equipment would topple over, and the extremely steep grade presented danger from falling rocks. But through all the hardships, Lori agrees it was well worth it.
She advises, “Don’t be surprised if building takes longer than you think, but enjoy the process – when it’s all over, even through many headaches, you will love your home.”
At the end of building, the Atkinses went on vacation. Brand worked hard to finalize the home so they could move in immediately upon return. The day they were due back, Brand turned all the lights on in the home to create a sparkling effect.
“It felt like one of the greatest moments in our life. From the bottom of the hill, the house looked spectacular – we couldn’t believe we were going to go live in it.”
As for furnishing the new home, Lori says it’s an exciting process, and one that’s ongoing. Most of their old furniture was sold with the previous house, so she got to work with an almost-clean slate. She planned a new color scheme and picked a few pieces for specific rooms in the new house, and says there are still some ideas she’s working on. She says this house has “a different feel all together” from their previous home.
And now that the Atkinses are living in their custom-built home, they appreciate all they have on a daily basis. “Laying in bed at night, we can see the twinkling lights of Fallbrook,” says Lori. “It’s a beautiful way to end each day.”