So I ruined Paradise Cove.
Yeah, that's a self-important little sentence and my friends openly mock me for it but the truth is, before a certain story ran in the Home section of the LA Times, life was different here. Quieter. More modest. More, well, trailer-ish.
We bought our place 11 years ago. It was the only thing in Malibu we could afford. Paradise Cove had been through a series of bruising lawsuits about whether the park's owner could evict the trailers and develop the property (the law said no) and prices here were still pretty low. It was considered a risky buy.
Our new neighbors were a mix of retirees, young families, artists, professionals and a few eccentrics. They drove older cars. They didn't have a lot of visitors. Golf carts were few. Installing a berber carpet and painting the awful brown paneling white was considered a remodel. Sure, some brave souls put in drywall, hardwood floors and tiled their kitchens and baths but privately, that was considered money down the drain. Then the real estate boom began and, after a year or so, trickled down to the Cove.
Trailers that had languished on the market started to sell. Prices even rose a bit. New people with real money moved in and did complete shelter-magazine remodels. They'd strip a trailer down to the chassis and in its place would rise a Craftsman house with vintage wavy glass in the windows, or a Tuscan villa with plaster walls and a terra cotta tile roof. It was a good story and I pitched it. I got a deadline, wrote 2,000 words and sold the soul of my beloved trailer park for a freelance fee.
A week after my piece ran in the Times, a camera crew from "Good Morning America" arrived. They interviewed most of my sources, went on the air a few days later and that was that. Trailers started to sell as fast as they landed on the market. Prices doubled, then tripled. Within a year, a trailer in Paradise Cove sold for over a million dollars.