After 15 years in Palo Alto, Stephanie is helping Bay Area families make the leap
Suburban Jungle Strategist Stephanie Kelmar lived in San Francisco for 15 years before meeting her now-husband. At the time, he was living in Palo Alto and raising two little girls. So, after the couple married in 2006, Stephanie left the city for suburbia.
Today, Stephanie and her family — 11-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old son — still call Palo Alto “home.” Her oldest stepdaughter is now in LA, and the youngest is in college in Oregon.
“We love it here,” she says. “The community, great weather, friendly people, and fun restaurants — Palo Alto has it all, and it’s so kid-friendly. My kids have tried every activity — dance, swimming, art, softball, basketball — it’s just a great lifestyle.”
In 2017, Stephanie and a team of Emmy Award-winning professionals launched KidNuz, a podcast for young listeners. The show is anchored in a host of topics including nonpartisan news, current events, entertainment, health, science, and sports.
“We have nine Emmys and 14 kids between us,” Stephanie says, “and we are dedicated to raising a generation of children who are well-informed and knowledgeable.” Living in the heart of Silicon Valley, she notes, has been an inspiring entrepreneurial boost.
Supporting future suburbanites on their journey
In 2020, Stephanie joined the Suburban Jungle team as a San Francisco Strategist.
“I love sharing my experiences with clients,” she says. “Living under the bright city lights can be exciting, but it wasn’t until I moved to the suburbs that I found a community that’s been warm, welcoming, and supportive during life’s transitions, both expected and unexpected.”
A key part of Stephanie’s process is helping clients understand what life’s really like in the ‘burbs, and helping them get below the surface and so she can dig into the “intangibles” — the characteristics of a community beyond just schools and commutes.
“It’s important to think about what matters to their families and their long-term plans,” Stephanie says. “Many times people haven’t thought about those aspects. So I’ll ask related questions — what do they like most about where they live now? Do they still want that urban hustle and bustle, or are they picturing a quiet town? Do they drive — and will they be a one-car family or two? Where is their office — and do they have to go in every day? Those are the kinds of questions that can reveal a lot about what towns could be a good fit.”
She also focuses on real-time trends — which, she says, tend to revolve around having extra living space, especially outdoors.
“More and more people are working from home right now, and expect to for the long term,” Stephanie says. “Having that basement or extra bedroom is key — and because families haven’t been able to get out like they used to, having a great backyard is almost always top-of-the-list.”
Many families, she adds, are also willing to expand their suburban search, going beyond just communities with quick commutes.
“While there’s still some uncertainty which, I think, is keeping people relatively near business and technology hubs, we’re seeing more and more people searching in hidden gems like Pleasanton, Novato, Petaluma, and other suburbs a bit further out. They were always great options for families but, again, with a boom in remote work, there’s greater interest. It’s close enough that commuting is an option, but far enough that you have the distance — and, in many cases, more affordable options.”
Exploring the San Francisco suburbs like a pro
While Stephanie strives to give her clients the insights and intel they need to find their perfect suburb, she always reminds her clients that nothing tops touring towns themselves.
“It’s such a fun process!” she says. “It’s great to have agents tour you around and share more, but make sure you’re taking things a step further — hitting a park or playground, grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting outside, having a picnic, walking around downtown. This is what your life could be like — so…how does it feel?”
Start exploring the San Francisco suburbs like a pro! Get in touch and schedule your Suburbs Strategy session now.