Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You're in a Shady Neighborhood

Like the rest of Irvine, the guard gated community of Shady Canyon maintains a set of strict design guidelines. However, Shady Canyon allows owners the ability to build their own custom home in an architecturally consistent setting that is meant to allow for some freedom. The owner is allowed to choose from 5 distinct styles: 2 European farmhouse styles: Provence and Tuscany; and 3 Spanish Colonial Styles: Adobe Ranch, Andalusian Farmhouse, and Santa Barbara.
The home we will tour today has never been on the market and is a stunning example of George Washington Smith's Santa Barbara style.
Set down a long cobblestone driveway (concrete is not allowed), this house is brilliantly screened from the street by olive trees. I've always had a soft spot for houses set down long driveways! There is just something special about having to trek to your house after you leave the street that strikes me as, well, WEALTHY.
I love how the entrance is off center and allows for an informal setting for such a large, dignified home.
The darkness of the wood ceiling is tempered by the plethora of French doors.
The kitchen fits all of my needs; it is light, bright, and it's architecturally interesting! My favorite part of the composition is that the beams were carried throughout the house.
Each home in the community must conform to its lot. That goes against modern design techniques that demand the lot be moulded to fit the house. And I am more than pleased to hear these reversions are taking pace!
The pool is MAGNIFICENT. I mean how could you not swoon over an infinity edge pool that dead ends into Saddleback Mountain?
This luxury comes at a price. The last LOT in the community sold in September of 2009 for $1.9 million. This home would easily demand a price tag of $10+ million. Its location is INCOMPARABLE! The bones are great but the interiors could use a little tweaking here and there (new furniture and a more aged interior) and as always I'd love to be able to roam freely behind the gates of this community as well!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sandy at the Strand-y

Now let's venture down to Dana Point and its brand new The Strand at Headlands development. The Strand at Headlands is the LAST community to be built on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway EVER in Orange County. There has been a total of 6 homes available in the community and we shall take a peek at my favorite.
29 Strand Beach was recently withdrawn from the market, yet it is by far the gem of the community. Designed by John McMonigle's Monarch Estates, this home boasts 6,100 square feet of living space and it is located on the FRONT ROW of the community. This could have been all yours for $16,995,000.
Oh John McMonigle, you know me so well. Give me a natural shingle house with white trim, plenty of outdoor areas, and an azure pool and I will be a happy camper.
Lantern. period.
This is a kitchen for the ages. Just look at the backslash! I'm not too terribly crazy about the bar height island though. Oh well, I'll get over it (highly doubtful).
This TV room is full of texture and I think it all works together swimingly.
Even the laundry room offers laid back sophistication!
However, there is a slight drawback to this home as well. Notice how there is quite a lot of open space to the left of the house? That is where the community club house is being built. But is that a major concern for me? Never! Just get me behind that gate!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quaintness to the Max

As we make our way down PCH we'll make a stop at the Emerald Bay community in Laguna Beach. Known for its artsy-ness, Laguna has long been a favored vacation getaway. Can you get anymore picturesque than this? A small artists cottage draped in vines and surrounded by blooming white roses is beyond perfection!
This painted floor is seriously the first one I have ever liked, and of course it had to be lime green. I think it adds a totally new dimension to the cottage by making it light and airy from top to bottom. Also notice the steel doors and windows! There are two dueling dinning areas that both vie for attention, one indoors and the other is situated in its own outdoor room.
Stainless steel. White cabinets. White marble countertops. Subway tile. HALLELUJAH.
This house, just steps away from the private community beach, just sold this past January for a cool $4,100,000. It seems beauty has a price and those in the know are willing to pay for it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mine! Mine! MINE!

Now we'll head west on the 55, get off on Jamboree, turn left on Ford Road, and you'll arrive at the guard gated community of One Ford Road in Newport Beach. Located in the only custom cul-de-sac is a $23,000,000 knock out. Who doesn't love a brand new house made to look like a Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse thats been added on to over time?
Look! This is THE IDEAL.
This kitchen is the only part of the house that I can find fault in. It seems a tad busy and doesn't quite have the same level of sophistication the rest of the house exudes. Oh well, nothing a $100,000 cant fix.
$23,000,000 seems like a tad too much for a house that isn't even on a full acre and doesn't have a view of anything. Also what do you do with 12,000 square feet? However, the true mastermind of this home is the firm Scheurer Architects. Please sign me up for ANY house they design.

Insider Trading

Since you just heard me ramble on about this place called North Tustin, I thought you could use a little insider knowledge. North Tustin is an unincorporated community that borders the cities of Tustin, Orange, and Santa Ana. Traditionally, we have used Santa Ana as our mailing address due to the fact the the Grand Avenue post office in Santa Ana was considered closer than the First Street post office in Tustin (I highly doubt that).

North Tustin has always strived to maintain its semi-rural character. Most of the streets lack curbs, there are some gutters that are more like streams, horse trails meander through the area, and many houses grace lots of half an acre or more.

North Tustin is my stomping ground and I am dang proud of it. Also don't mess around with the North Tustin Advisory Committee, they're vicious (thank goodness).

To Infinity and Beyond

Alright, this blog stated out as a design/ blog of the things I like, however, this is now a blog about the Orange County real estate scene. First off I would like to share my biggest real estate pet peeve: when an agent lists the house BEFORE they have had pictures taken of the property. Can you talk about rude? Please don't tease me, just give me full on access. Also floor plans are always a plus!
To start off today I thought we might take a look at a prime piece of land in my neck of the woods, North Tustin. A prime 3.78 acre lot on Cowan Heights Drive is now pending sale for a cool $1,400,000. The seller is presenting the buyer a chance to build a new gated community with only 4 (thankfully!) houses behind the gates. The proposed name of the community is Bella Sonoma, a name which I find a little tired and out of character for the area, however what lies inside is truly spectacular (with a few tweaks)!

I like the lay of the land so far, but lets look at the two end properties for just a sec. They both have the same plan and this plan just happens to be recycled from the Tustin Ranch Estates. Specifically this is plan 2 of the Estates development.

Since this is North Tustin I would have like to see a little more originality, but this is just my opinion here. The two middle houses are of the most interest to me.

First, I would like to look at the second home (second from the left), it is to be designed in a Georgian Style, along the lines of Roland E. Coate's San Marino houses of the thirties. In a community known for sprawling ranch homes, a Georgian masterpiece would, in my mind, be a welcome addition.

The third house in the community (from the left) is a stunning craftsman home. I could move into that house is a heart beat. Even in the general layout it has a wonderful back yard. Personally I can't get enough of long and slim lap pools. I find them a breath of fresh air in a world of ugly rock pools.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good vs Bad

Since I seem to have taken up the task of saying what is right and wrong in the architectural world I would like to make a few comparisons.
For a mere $15,499,000 this crisp interpretation of a Wallace Neff home could be yours. As an added bonus it is located behind the prestigious gates of Shady Canyon. Needless to say, this is VERY good.

And then there is the bad, and when I say bad I mean atrocious.

And a big thank you to Ladera Ranch for its EXTREMELY lax architectural standards or else nouveaux riches wouldn't have a place to display their lack-luster style.

The Gamboge Colored Path

I wish to start this blog off with a bang and I hope this post will set the tone for those to follow. I am a nut for English Arts & Crafts houses and because of that I would like to present the house from Howards End.

It is a charming home complete with climbing wisteria and massive chimneys. I just can't get enough of it!

The understated elegance is undeniable and leaves me longing for a house like this one! Homes should be built for the ages. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to me this says one thing: MY opinion matters the most.