Emerson Ranch vs DeNova Homes

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve mentioned DeNova Homes and my social media campaign, #DONTBUYDENOVA on this website. While many problems continue to exist, the frontline fight is over. Contacted a few years ago by a few law firms, one decided to pursue, chasing down the developer on behalf of the frustrated homeowners. On August 16, 2019 I received an email from the law firm, Shinnick & Ryan, LLP, located in San Diego, California. This was to be the first homeowners meeting with Lucas Edwards from the law firm regarding steps going forward in a case against DeNova Homes.

Along with some literature received and time to air grievances from homeowners involved, I did bring to light my social media campaign, which received a rousing response from those in attendance. I had come prepared with hundreds of documents and images to share, along with my red and white campaign banner that reads: “BUYER BEWARE #DONTBUYDENOVA” that was created, more out of frustration then actual use. It might get some play when DeNova Homes opens their models of their upcoming development, Delaney Park, located next to the Emerson Ranch development.

Earlier this month, nearly five years after we made a bad decision to buy a DeNova Homes structure, we received a positive letter from Shinnick & Ryan, LLP. In the past the saga continued with random letters updating homeowners on the progress of the case. Prior to this early April email, the most promising letter I read stated that DeNova Homes would not pay to correct problems still remaining in their Emerson Ranch development, nor would they let their people inspect the homes for open claims.

I’ve spent the better part of two days, using the posts on this website, along with hundreds of emails between myself and DeNova Homes to recreate the buffoonery I’ve dealt with since purchasing this home. I know this post won’t please my realtor (now in Texas), as I will need to disclose all this to the next owner who buys this home, but right now that is of little consequence to me. It’s more important to continue to promote #DONTBUYDENOVA and keep others prospect homeowners from dropping their hard earned money on a home built by a company that doesn’t give a shit about “commitment to quality and integrity.” Rest assured their new development will be priced well above what I paid for our Emerson Ranch home. Sadly, the quality will be no better.

Pulling together documents, I am looking over a 6-page index listing 49 emails or chains between myself and the developer, which equates to a stack of paper almost two inches thick and well over 100 individual emails! I’ve also got over 250 images to print and include in a package, along with 18 posts from this website. I will be sending all this information to the law firm, at their request. This, along with other required documents related to the sale and maintenance of the home, they are asking for, as this class action lawsuit continues to move forward.

It still begs the question, “have you actually enjoyed your home?” Words echoed by my realtor after more complaining about the developer on the Internet. Sadly, no there has been no joy in home ownership. The evidence is overwhelming when it comes to the poor craftsmanship and attention to detail put into this home. I’ve have many people on social media comment on my cause, citing similar frustrations or swaying them away from a DeNova built home.

As I walk out the front door, I am reminded daily, as I step on the cracked entryway patio and look up and down the street. in my immediate area (8 homes), just one set of neighbors are original owners, everyone else has since departed. Looking to the south, down the end of the street, I know there are even more who have more recently moved into Emerson Ranch, probably happy with their purchase as a second (or third) owner. However, I will continue to fight the good fight and support Shinnick & Ryan in documentation they are requesting to keep this lawsuit moving forward.

Confidence is high there will be some resolution and while I am not doing this for the money, I do hope potential homeowners will read what my experience has been and seriously think about looking for another home than to give your money away to DeNova Homes.

If you want to play catchup, here are all the posts going back to January, 2016.

48-Hour Fast: Complete!

48 Hours over white background

It’s been nearly three weeks when I decided to re-commitment myself. First, spiritually, as I willing attended a local church for the first time in 49 years. Better late then never, right? At the start of the month I signed my son and self up to the local gym, the same one I attended when I lost in excess of 40 pounds following Dr. McDougall and more importantly, Julie Christensen’s Protective Diet. The results? Nothing short of amazing! While I had dabbled in intermittent fasting (IF), I had never accomplished a fast over 16 hours. This was to be a new experience, a new beginning.

I have never followed a Ketogenic Diet, nor do I have any intentions with all the success I’ve experienced since 2011 since changing to a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. Yet fasting is part of this the keto way, Julie even touches on day fasting in her Premium Class Archives. Fasting is a very personal thing but can be accomplished for many different reasons. I chose 48-hours to give me a new beginning, so to speak. Over the last month I’ve made some big changes personally and felt like I needed to kick-start my commitment to myself with future goals in mind.

Why did I fast?

After completing two 50-mile endurance races, I wanted to prove to myself I had the discipline necessary to accomplish this period of time without eating. Running races of this distance takes a trained discipline, especially the later it gets in the race. I continually reinforced my decision, while running, as with fasting I had that “I can do this” mentality and not quit. Hopefully this exercise in discipline will help me in other aspects of my life.

Much of our daily routine revolves around food; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Julie talks about being satiated, as does Dr. McDougall when it comes to our eating habits. However, over the last few years, I’ve fell into a bad habit of eating because it’s there. Fasting isn’t starvation, at any point through my 48-hour journey if I felt any adverse or negative effects, I would have stopped early, in order to come out of my fast. Just three times over the fast did I have a rumble in my stomach. Was I really hungry? Did I really need to answer that rumble? It subsided, as I kept busy and continued to drink fluids.

Since finding God, I felt a need to fast to increase my spirituality, in order to strength prayer. If there is one aspect in my life I need to work on, it’s prayer, as well as seeking God’s guidance in life. There are many passages cited in the Bible, Matthew 4:1-11 tells of Jesus fasting for “forty days and forty nights.” This reason, like all for fasting are very personal, seek your own reasons.

Weight loss was not one of the main reasons for partaking on a 48-hour fast. While that was a side effect it wasn’t a driving factor for my decision, but there are health benefits that come with fasting. After 24-hours, your body begins to use glycogen, which reduces insulin levels. Fasting as shown an to increase metabolism rate increases by a rate of 3.6 to 14 percent. For me, it allowed me to reset and give myself a definitive starting point.

So what happened over 48 hours?

I began fasting last Wednesday, after dinner about 6PM. This seemed to be a good way to start, eat a full dinner followed by sleep a few hours later. This would allow me to get 12 hours into the fast without much effort on my part. Many people have missed a meal or done the better part of a day without eating.

I did supplement my fast with lots of water, as well as black tea and carbonated water. I try to drink two liters of water daily when I am not fasting, as it helps curb hunger. Since I no longer drink coffee, tea is my choice through out the day, while at work. However for this duration of time, water isn’t enough and I supplemented with Nuun Life, these are tablets I use to keep electrolyte levels up when running.

Thursday wouldn’t be much of a challenge but I did have a few activities planned. While at work I waled 4.01 miles around downtown Oakland. This is an activity I have got back to doing in order to help promote an “active” lifestyle while getting 10,000 steps (minimum) in a day. This is also my third weight lifting day. I went to the gym about 23 hours after starting my fast and had a great workout. I did not deviate from my lifting schedule, nor did I increase the amount of weight I was lifting. Once I was done I decided to do 30 minutes of cardio and rode 6.31 miles on a stationary bike, averaging 12.5 mph.

Dinner and breakfast the following morning were a bit more challenging then the previous day. Dinner Thursday evening consisted of two cans of Bubly, flavored water. Thankfully I had to go to bed by 6PM, as I had to get up by 1245AM to start a 12-hour work day. While the evening was relatively “easy” getting up that early is something I won’t adjust to. Getting to work, I started right in on my morning, made an early cup of tea and got my days going. It wasn’t until about 100PM that I had the first rumbling in my abdomen. It was short lived, so I decided to go for a walk to get my mind off food, eating and the rumblings.

I was excited as 6AM Friday morning rolled around, just passing 36 hours as I had an eye on 6PM. One concern I carried was how to safely and effectively to come out of an extended fast. I had done some reading and knew I didn’t want to gorge myself. Much of the information I was finding centered around keto and remaining in that state. While I used what information I could, I decided to mix some apple cider vinegar with lemon, cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. The citric acid helps to promote good enzymes for digestion.

As Friday rolled on, I went through a period, where I did get a bit irritable, as hunger started to creep in again. Water and tea just weren’t cutting it, so I decided to go for another walk that lasted about 34 minutes. It got my mind off food, again but didn’t curb the hunger. I never got to a point where I felt I should stop and never experienced any dizziness. Fatigue had set in, I was tired, but some of that was getting up really early for work, but combined with no food I was feeling sluggish. It was interesting to read that after 24 hours, you body is done burning carbohydrates and starts to burn fat for energy.

The final stretch

As I left work at 130PM, I had picked up a second wind and excited to see the finish line on the horizon. Thankfully I was able to keep busy on the way home, running errands, which kept my mind off food and on what I needed to get done. Opening the front door, I had about 90 minutes left in my fast, so I decided to mix up the ingredients to give myself a bit of time to digest the drink. When choose foods, I ignored the keto foods and looked for foods that were low on the glycemic index. I settled on a simple tostada with shredded lettuce, roasted corn and red pepper, tomato, black beans and some salsa. Overall, I ate less then 500 calories out of the 48-hour fast.

It’s no surprise the most notable statistic was the lose of 3.7 pounds. An interesting figure I found, “48-hour fast once or twice per month will reduce your calorie intake by up to 8,000 calories per month, which can promote weight loss.” As I cited earlier in my experience, weight loss was the primary reason for the 48-hour fast.

Breaking the fast I felt great! Introducing food back into my routine was welcomed but it didn’t take much to feel satiated. Going forward this 48-hour fast has helped to kick-start a 16/8 IF schedule. That means, for 16-hours I fast and have an 8-hour “feeding” window. For me that window opens at 200PM and closes at 1000PM. Those hours may be adjusted going forward. Much of what I learned about IF came from The Leangains Guide. This is a document I used when I started and changed IF to work with my lifestyle.

Overall, I feel this experience was very successful. I feel I achieved goals I set out when I gave some thought to going 48 hours without food. It might not be for everyone, do your own research and draw your own conclusion. Now it’s over to Protective Diet in order to get my eating habits back in line with a healthy lifestyle, one that saw me make unbelievable changes. My PD Testimonial is all I need to see what I can achieve.


I’ve been looking for something that’s been missing in my life/ Now 49 years old, I am struggling with an “unhealthy heart” looking to make external changes instead of looking inside to improve myself. May 15 at 4:15am I had the revelation I needed to recommit to change, in order to make myself better, from the inside out.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s a series of challenges we must face and overcome. I’ve done it in the past, making that commitment and the change was amazing! Kent Sparks has been quite an inspiration in the few weeks I’ve listened to him speak. His words and more importantly, his message has opened my eyes to many shortcomings in the time I’ve been alive. His most recent talk about Keystone Habits: Learning the why behind the what” has given me some excellent guidance but know I face an uphill battle that requires a lot of work.

Three years ago, this past April I ran my third 50-mile race, finishing in 13:40:39, knocking off over 15-minutes from the previous year. The feeling of accomplishment, determination, hard work, perseverance culminated in the last :35 seconds of the race, coming down the chute, people cheering and clapping, to hear your name and city called out as you cross the finish line. It’s a feel I will never forgot but want to recapture.

While there is much work to be done, I’ve started setting goals. In the last few years I’ve become lost and become unrecognizable in my personal life, work life and most important, home life. While much of the change will take from within, there are external goals I’ve set. Talking to co-worker and friend, Brian, we are setting a goal to run the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run in April 2020. This would be our third time participating, both races I’ve finished, but my running buddy has unfortunately dropped out both time. He wants to get the monkey off his back and we will cross that finish line together next year.

I’ve recommitted to physical change by heading back to the gym, getting back on the Stronglifts 5×5 program that put me in the best shape of my life and allowed me to push my limits and run 50 miles! While I’ve yet to resolve the foot issue, I’ve started running again, 30 minutes, which will increase over the next few weeks.

This journey wouldn’t be complete without the support and involved of Julie and Jerry and those who follow a Protective Diet, a lifestyle change I am followed since 2011, when the site was known as “Plant Purity,” when I made Julie’s, Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes! Still one of my favorites to this day! The success I had changing my eating habits was nothing short of amazing. You can read my testimonial on the PD site!

I am excited at the prospects, having set the race goal, as well as dropping some weight to get back into better physical shape. More important all the physical changes, the change that occurs from within. Having listened to Kent speak has really inspired me to fix my heart and make a commitment and have faith in the words he speaks as the truth. It’s an exciting time and hopefully I can share some of the journey as I move forward.

DeNova Woes

First, apologies to my realtor, I know he wanted me to drop this nonsense against DeNova Homes, as much of what I have written about will need to be disclosed when we sell. However, I can’t sit on my hands and let them just run over us, our house and their issues. Sadly, Facebook reminded me it was three years, March 14 when we the keys were in my hands to a big money pit, located in the Emerson Ranch development of Oakley.

Based on appearance, this was a development I would drive by on the way to my in-laws and think, “sure would be nice to own a new home.” Unfortunately, luck came through and we purchased a new home from DeNova. While I won’t recant all the problems we’ve had since we’ve taken ownership, as they are all on my site, just type in ‘DeNova’ in the search bar.

Last week, it was discovered there was a leak in the upstairs bathroom. How long it had been leaking is unknown, venturing a guess I would say a few weeks, but it can’t really be determined, nor does it matter. It wasn’t caught, as it was leaking from the supply line, under the toilet and not on a regular basis. The only way I found it was cleaning the bathroom and I noticed the grout in the tile was a dark shade of brown. That and the comment from my wife and son about a wet area just inside his room. Having had water damage in the previous two houses in Oakley, you would think we would be experts in knowing if we had a leak.

In hindsight, that wet spot was the water leaking in the bathroom. I put a call into the emergency line for DeNova, as I figured this is their problem and not the first we’ve had. I also contacted my insurance company, opened a claim just to cover my ass. DeNova got a plumber there within a few hours and come to find out, the supply line wasn’t not even finger tight. Why after three years had it started leaking? Who knows? Honestly, who cares, but it goes to show the poor craftsmanship and effort put forth by DeNova Homes and their subcontractors.

Water damage is not fun, thankfully it was caught earlier enough that major problems, like we experienced in our first house, didn’t occur. The following day, the remediation company, selected by DeNova Homes came over to start the drying and dehumidifying process. Never fun, they displaced my son, with the carpet pulled back and a blower going, nonstop for five days.

A DeNova customer service representative stopped by early last week, as my wife discussion varies problems still experienced, along with the water leak. It took approximately two weeks for DeNova to get the personnel to resolve the problem. This required drying out all the areas that were wet, which included carpet, tile and drywall, while removing baseboard and wood unable to be dried. In the end, the tile was not able to be dried to the satisfaction of the remediation company and a week later it was all removed to the sub flooring.

DeNova also cut into some custom closet shelving that still hasn’t been resolved. It’s my guess that if we don’t push the issue they will continue to get away with poor customer service, something they are becoming quite known for. There also seems to be a disconnect between the manager, who my wife and I have dealt with and the customer service representative. We were told to send an email of ALL unresolved issues, but surprise! The manager said all the problems were resolved and DeNova wouldn’t address them. Not that I am surprised, again POOR customer service on the part of this home builder.

In the end the bathroom was repaired, but the lack of care and quality craftsmanship remains. DO NOT be talked into buying a home from this company. They will show you one thing and sell you another. You are buying a very poorly constructed home that will have MANY problems. Just look at all the problems we cited that they decided not to address that are now bigger problems.



Not sure how my inspiration went out the door, as I started the new year very strong in working to get back to my “happy place” after making healthy changes in my life. While conditions and circumstances are different now than they were in 2011 when I took control, one things still remains. EXCUSES! We all have many, but don’t let any of them hold you back when it comes to achieving your goals.

While some will see my transformation impressive, which I have showcased in the past and is featured on the Protective Diet Testimonial page. Managing our health using food and exercise is easier than managing doctor appointments and a pill schedule, in an attempt to remedy what ails us. It didn’t take me long to realize that drugs and pharmaceutical comes are not a key to good health.

When I look to getting inspired, there are countless articles we can turn to on the Internet about a stranger going from “zero to hero” and gaining control of their health. Then, there are those individuals we know personally, who end up being a “superhero” because of their accomplishments. Meet Aaron, we refer to him as “AAA” at work. I met him approximately 10 years ago, sitting on an interview panel, as he was looking to secure a promotion in the office I work.

The first thing I noticed about AAA, his size, he was a big guy, in an comfortable looking grey suit with his hair in a ponytail and an energy drink in his hand. For a first impression, he didn’t make a good one. Eventually Aaron was hired, a few years later and as I got to know him, he was a great guy! Personable, funny, knowledgeable and good at what he did. There is more to a person, than just how they look, big or small, but Aaron knew his size was unhealhty.

We connected on a few levels and the day I ran my first (and only) half marathon in San Leandro, he and his wife were there, at the finishing cheering me on. Aaron had run a 5k earlier and decided to hang around. Eventually, we joined a company running team and because more than just co-workers, sharing the passion of running together.

The image above represents where AAA was a few years back how he has done an absolutely amazing job of transforming himself in a completely new person, physically. He is MY motivation to get back to a point I was at, running 50 mile races and being happy with my health. While not plant based, he does what works for him. No longer do I push my lifestyle on anyone. What works for some, might not work for others. So I have nothing but accolades for AAA and all his effort and work when it comes to gaining control of his health and excelling as a runner.

As I look to shed a few pounds and attempt to get back into running (bad feet and all), I remember this picture of AAA and refer back to a similar, before and after image that really made me feel good about myself. Nothing is impossible! As the Nike slogan does, “Just do it!” I’ve started June strong, dropped a few pounds as we approach summer. While my approach has been altered just a bit, I am taking steps in the right direction to regain control of my health, as I have struggled (again) to start the year, with the inspiration I have, change is coming.