At Home in Portola Springs

Each night, Sarah and Joe Frabasile gaze over the city of Irvine and watch the sunset – from their living room.

“It’s breathtaking,” says Sarah, standing in the Great Room of their new Highland neighborhood home in Portola Springs. “Up here in the mountains, it feels like we’re in a whole different world, but we’re 10 minutes from Spectrum Center.”

Joe grew up in the Bronx. Sarah grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Two years ago, after seeing videos of Irvine online, they packed up and moved to an apartment near Spectrum Center.

They enjoyed it so much, they decided to buy in Irvine. Last month, they moved into their new home with daughters Ava, 5, and Mia, just 1 month old.

“It’s surreal how family-oriented and beautiful everything is here,” says Sarah, an executive in the LUXE division of L’Oreal in Los Angeles. “That’s what drew us to this place.”

The Frabasiles say they enjoy hiking Portola Springs’ trails with ocean views.

Master-planned village

There’s a youthful energy in Portola Springs, spurred by new neighborhoods that bring a breezy, open-air California lifestyle to these hills.

In 2019, the village added a new high-tech elementary school, a new 32-acre hilltop sports park, a new community center, three new neighborhoods overlooking the city and new trails that lead to Irvine’s Northern Open Space Preserve.

All of these create a sense of community that the couple calls “one of our core values.”

“We’re excited because we can walk Ava to school. That gives me the same sense of community I felt when I lived in Kansas.”

– Sarah Frabasile

They’ve already met Irvine neighbors who feel like family, and they expect those bonds to strengthen when Ava starts school this fall.

“We’re excited because we can walk Ava to school,” Sarah says. “That gives me the same sense of community I felt when I lived in Kansas.”

Forever home

The Frabasiles also have been exploring the nearby parks and trails, including a hike to Red Rocks, which looks like a national park.

“We have all these trails right here in our backyard,” says Joe, who is in pharmaceutical sales. “I hate to be repetitive, but every place we’ve been to is just so beautiful.”

The couple is aware of the investment value of an Irvine home, but they say it didn’t factor into their decision to buy.

“We’re never moving away from here,” says Joe, pointing at the vista beyond their sliding glass doors.

“Yeah, that’s what’s really exciting,” Sarah adds. “We’ve found our forever home.”