Thursday, May 27, 2010

La Suvera

Based on the design of the La Suvera Estate in Tuscany, this Shady Canyon home is truly a one of a kind home. This home was listed with Orange County's super agent John McMonigle yet I cannot find a record of this home ever selling. This home had an original price tag of $15,000,000 but was incrementally lowered to $9,995,000 before being removed from the market.
Let's just marvel at this homes perfect location, shall we? It's situated above the entire community and a wonderful infinity pool completes that view. I am one of the biggest view proponents out there but I think that once you own a view you get tired of it; it's like a trampoline or a pool, you get used to it and can only truly appreciate it when someone new walks through your front door and marvels at it.
The true stars of this home are the superiors materials and details!
Isn't this such a nice and substantial island? I love islands that seem to go on for days because they are perfect for prep work and all types of gatherings.
The HUGE great room is quite expansive. I am enamored with the wrought iron chandeliers but I feel the color palette has room for improvement.
All the small details are what make this very large home! The attention to how each and every little detail commingle throughout the house is what strikes a cord with me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Tower

While not exactly located in Orange County, I couldn't resist my myself! This magnificent home was originally designed by the famous Chicago architect David Adler as a coach house in 1928. This home's location in the exclusive town of Lake Forrest, Illinois, which is one of the fabled towns along Chicago's North Shore.
My favorite part of the composition is the melding between the medieval-esque tower and the smooth stucco of the main building. the faded blue shutters add just the right amount of color to this home and the creeping vines make this house seem to be a fixture of the land. PERFECT.
Sadly, the interiors could use a little sprucing up and under the right person this house could be a true showplace! I do like the rough brick wall in the kitchen and the original tower room with its intricate black tiles, many arched windows, and ornate frescoes speaks to me. This "handyman's delight" can be all yours for a mere $2,800,000. I true steal if you ask me since this home has such a hallowed architectural provenance and is mere steps from Lake Michigan.

Monday, May 17, 2010

On the Cliff

Located in North Laguna this home has a wonderful interplay between its traditional construction and modern interiors.
I have always been a major advocate of an entry hall where guests can drop their coats and can get a subtle introduction to your house. The lack of a foyer seems to fit this house and I like it, it emphasizes the easy living and organic flow of this house.
The kitchen is wonderful! I love the sleek lines, the natural colors, and the hanging lights; the only thing I find a little wonky are the louvered, mechanic inspired upper cabinets.
I love Dutch doors and I find it very inspiring when they are used other places besides the front door.
The most striking feature of this home is its location; perched on a cliff overlooking Crescent Bay this home has it all and you can call yourself the owner if you have an extra $7,995,000. There is only one major draw back in the location of this house, you might be kept up by the sound of the waves hitting the base of the cliff at night, oh darn.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scheurer Architects

The Newport Beach based architecture firm Scheurer Architects is a very talented firm. They are not strict historical purists but they have developed new syntheses that truly reflect the various architectural influences that make Orange County what it is today.
Who would have ever thought you could find a Pennsylvania Dutch farm house in the middle of Newport Beach? I love this home; its floor plan allows the whole house to be useful, not a single room could be deemed unnecessary (except the basement level). Bu could you imagine heating and cooling this behemoth? This home is currently on the market and a post about it can be found here.
This home, located in Shady Canyon, is based on Tuscan farmhouses. My favorite design aspect of this plan is how the plan is very strung out while retaining a compact plan. The entire house is only one room wide and I applaud the architects for that. Instead of building a box the architects built a home that light and air can easily commingle with all family activities. Also, check out the massive pool!
The exterior of this house is simple perfection! The gleaming white board and batten nicely compliments the natural shingles and provides a very homey appearance. Also, the wall of glass in the kitchen blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors.
I seem to have a small tower obsession. I feel that this home is very reminiscent of George Washington Smith's Andalusian farmhouses in Santa Barbara and Pasadena. I love the low slung appearance and how the home melds with the site (the garage court is located under the house since the site required this). While the facade is perfect I question the position of the master suite, is it really necessary to have it next to the kitchen?

Scheurer Architects is a brilliant firm and I cannot wait to see what they produce in the future!

Monday, May 10, 2010

San Juan Capistrano

Located in the Del Obispo neighborhood in historic San Juan Capistrano, this home breaks with traditional American landscaping and architectural covenants.
Decomposed granite is my favorite feature of the front yard! Not only is gravel more economical and less invasive than concrete or asphalt but it provides a very sophisticated entrance to any house. One acquaintance of Kate Middleton (Prince William's girlfriend) once pointed out that her parents country house has "a tarmac drive, for God's sake." Ouch. If I ever had a long driveway it would be covered in decomposed granite!
The small details are what make this kitchen! Notice the rounded countertop, the center island with not only a different counter top but different cabinets as well. I have never really been a fan the built-in, hiding refrigerator look, but here it works! I love how it seems to be an antique armoire!
The shape of this tub is perfect! However, I'm not sure the like the little extra stenciling that has been added...
The backyard is where it all comes together! The complete absence of sod (except for a narrow strip by the pool) is a breath of fresh air. The stone paths, gravel planters, plethora of fruit trees, and the detached garage make this home a truly unique home. The loggia comes complete with a fireplace! I don't think you could even drag me inside during the summer!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bay Island

Smack dab in the middle of Newport Beach's harbor sits Bay Island. This small island is the most exclusive ex-sandbar in all of Orange County. Cars are not allowed on the island as it is only accessible by a narrow footbridge. The island is basically a co-op because all the owners collectively own and maintain the community gardens, tennis court, and the private parking parking structure located on the peninsula. This Polynesian style masterpiece sits on enviable corner lot that commands a view of the entire harbor.
Past that sail boat are the towers of Newport Center and Fashion Island. Saddleback Mountain presides over the entire county; its two peaks just have a sense of home for me.
I think this house is VERY interesting. I don't know if I could live in such a theme house; the Polynesian influence is carried out splendidly but that is its Achilles heel. There is a very limited number of people who would be willing to spend around $30 million for a house like this, but I would gladly spend a week or two in this house!