San Diego County has some pretty remarkable properties. We’ve had the opportunity to visit many of them. From a Hobbit House to a spaceship home, a beautiful Victorian that was once owned by a world renowned, eccentric musician and SO much more. Nani Pua Farms is right up there with the rest of them, with the property being the entire mountain!
I guess that’s how you know you’ve really made it, when you can say the whole mountain is yours! It takes a special owner to really put in the efforts to properly care for the land though and owners Van and Laurie Miller have proven to be the perfect couple for that responsibility.
I actually found out about Nani Pua Farms the same time I discovered Laurie’s skincare line, Nani Pua. It was then that I learned that the property was the headquarters for her skincare line as well as their home. I was intrigued to know more about this woman and the incredible life her and her husband have built for themselves.
Situated on 157 acres, it was an absolute maze getting to the top where their home is. With so many forks in the road, we first ended up at one tip that lead us to a dead end filled with bee boxes. We finally called Laurie and her and her husband headed down the hill in their golf cart to lead us in the right direction. What an adventure!
When we finally arrived I immediately felt a kinship to Laurie. She has a very kind, warm energy which immediately makes you feel welcome. She gave us a tour of the property in her golf cart where we learned all about Nani Pua Farm’s story.
When they purchased the property in 2005 it was in a great state of disrepair. They put in hundreds of hours into removing invasive plants and replacing them with natives throughout the mountain. They rehabilitated a dry pond and 4 wells which are scattered throughout the property to provide water for the wildlife.
The coolest thing on the property in my opinion is their treehouse. Laurie mentioned that they built it before the treehouse trend and television shows.
They had their treehouse up on AirBnb and it was a hit for many years. She told us it even made a list for the top 10 treehouses in the nation. Today it is used as a guesthouse when friends and family visit. They also were on Hip Camp before it was really popular.
Laurie says they’re getting too old to manage those types enterprises though which is why she has entered a new chapter in her life: skincare. Her skincare line didn’t sprout out of nowhere. She told me she’s been making her own products for fun since she was an early teen.
She comes from a family of herbalists and scientists and grew up on a farm in Buffalo, NY giving her plenty of opportunities to practice her craft and get professional insight.
Right now she has only one product, an ethnobotanical oil serum, but that was largely due to Covid halting the project. When Covid hit, all factories around the world were closing down, making it impossible for her to gather the needed ingredients for her line.
At the time, her and her husband shifted their focus and began distilling hand sanitizer as there was obviously a great need for it. For every bottle they sold they donated a bottle as well to shelters and other places in great need. Now that Covid seems to have more or less lifted, she has gone back to focusing on her Nani Pua skincare line again.
Let me tell you, her oil serum is amazing. You can tell a lot of time has gone into formulating it. It smells like a blend of vanilla and sandalwood. I’m using it not only on my face but a little in my hair. I am obsessed! My skin feels dewy and supple all day and my hair gets a little more life to it. Not to mention it doubles as a perfume with such a soft yet powerful fragrance.
Her dream is to eventually have her line in high end hotels and spas, which I feel it would be a perfect fit. I cannot wait to try out more of her products when they come out!
For many years, Laurie told me this property was their excursion from their regular home in Rancho Sante Fe. On the weekends they would come up here and sleep in their safari tent cabin. I can only imagine what it was like sleeping here during a rainstorm. So romantic!
They now have a larger home they are staying in which is filled with cute touches, some I have shown below. Eventually this home will turn into another guest house as their dream home is planned to be built soon! Even with these few structures being built, Over 95% of the property remains in its natural state, just how they plan to keep it.