YouTuber Doug DeMuro Buys Landmarked San Diego House
By James McClainNovember 24, 2019
[B]LOCATION: San Diego, Calif.
PRICE: $1.72 million
SIZE: 2,504 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
What sort of house does a car-reviewing YouTuber best-known for highlighting “quirks and features” buy? Well, it’s quirky. Over the last few years, Doug DeMuro has risen to become arguably YouTube’s most successful and famous automotive reviewer, known for his obsessive attention to minute details and his appreciation for offbeat autos — he once said that the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet “looks like an angry clothing iron … and I love it!” and opined that the rare-as-a-pod-of-enraged-narwhals Mercedes R63 AMG minivan “is the closest you can come to actually driving a private plane.”
31-year-old DeMuro now has more than 3.2 million YouTube subscribers, and his videos on the platform routinely rack up millions of views. Those sorts of gangbusters numbers, of course, have allowed him to amass a quirky car collection of his own, one that he’s frequently highlighted on his channel. He owns a rare 2005 Ford GT, an also-rare Mercedes E63 AMG wagon, a ’97 Land Rover Defender and his “Barbie dream car,” an Mercedes G500 Cabriolet. And then there’s his infamously problem-prone Range Rover.
And DeMuro’s channel success has also bought him residential bliss. Last year, DeMuro and his longtime wife Joanna relocated from Philadelphia to San Diego, Calif., where they rented for a few months before recently buying their very first West Coast home. Property records show the couple paid just over $1.7 million for a decidedly unconventional, century-old house in the affluent Mission Hills neighborhood.
Set on a peaceful corner lot and charmingly overrun by a riotous cacophony of vines and vinelettes, the prairie-style structure was originally built in 1913 and is now a designated historic landmark. Behind a locked gate, the boxy three-level structure sports pale yellow walls with lime green accents for contrast.
Quirks and features abound: the front door opens directly into the home’s great room, where there are lustrous hardwood floors, a fireplace with whitewashed tile surround, and a coffered ceiling with a large chandelier. (For some unknown reason, there’s a second crystal chandelier just sitting on a Louis XV-influenced table in the same room.) Light floods the open space, thanks to the original prairie style windows.
Two-tone lime green and peridot green walls line the formal dining room, which is visually overpowered by a gold chandelier and a massive dark brown dining set with vaguely gothic decorative flourishes. The adjacent kitchen, meanwhile, keeps things calmer with its clean lines and upgraded stainless appliances, plus a new farm-style sink and cabinetry painted a delicate grey-green color.
[B]One of the home’s three bedrooms lies on the main floor and is suitable for live-in staff or overnight guests — it has a private entrance and an upgraded bathroom with pleasantly generic cabinetry and dual vanities. The master suite, meanwhile, lies upstairs and boasts a private balcony. It’s also got an admittedly rather cramped ensuite bathroom with a soaking tub, dual vanities and — rather bizarrely — a shower with rainfall showerhead that’s completely open to the rest of the room, meaning water is liable to splash just about everywhere. Watch your step.
There’s also a second guest/family bedroom on the second level, this one done up with baby blue walls. But best of all, the third floor is comprised of one wee loft-style room with a dozen windows and a 360-degree views of the surrounding neighborhood. That space would likely make a perfect office, and it’s also got direct access to a relatively spacious rooftop deck.
The lush grounds include wraparound lawns, a gigantic canary palm tree, Italian cypresses, towering hedges and numerous rose bushes. Tucked into a corner of the lot is a dark-bottomed plunge pool watched over by a giant Buddha, and there’s also a detached two-car garage, one that DeMuro has — naturally — already shown off in a video.
Records show DeMuro purchased the idiosyncratic house from well-known tetrachromatic artist Concetta Antico. But more importantly, the .14-acre property benefits from the Mills Act, a California state law that essentially grants homeowners of historic homes lower property taxes in exchange for preserving the property. That means DeMuro will pay less than $5,000 in annual property taxes, a huge reduction over the $20,000 that a $1.7 million home would typically command. With that $15,000 in savings, he could buy a 2019 Ford Fiesta or maybe a partial interest in a manatee, something that surely gave this place a few extra points on the infamous DougScore.