Two of three production homes judged this year's "Best in the West" for their design in a competition among home builders are in Southern California.
And the condominiums deemed the "Best Affordable Housing" in the 14 Western states are in Pacoima, in the San Fernando Valley, at a starting price of $71,990.
But it was design--not price--that guided the panel of 14 home building and design experts who were judges in the "Gold Nugget" competition at the annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference, which ended last weekend in San Francisco. With 886 entries, the Gold Nugget is the biggest regional competition in the nation, said Pete Mayer, judging chairman and producer of the show.
The "Home of the Year" in the detached, small-lot category was a plan at Seadrift, a 93-detached-unit project in Laguna Niguel.
Designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects of Santa Ana, the home has four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, three fireplaces, a bonus room, about 3,200 square feet of interior space and a three-car garage.
Judges, who chose the plan over 137 competitors, applauded the home's "raised, angled entry" and "sense of interior spaciousness," particularly for a small site. The category in which Seadrift won was for homes built on lots 5,000 square feet or smaller.
Carol Dann, the marketing director for the builder, A-M Homes of Newport Beach, said, "We're reusing that plan a lot, because it has been so successful. It sold out in a matter of months."
The whole project sold out within six months of opening, at $50,000 more per house than when it opened in April, 1988, she said, but you can still find the winning model at two A-M developments.
At Summit Crest in the Orange County community of Dove Canyon, the model is selling for $408,000, and at Bellagio in Calabasas Park, it is priced from $580,000. "The (price) difference," she explained, "is the cost of the land."
The "Home of the Year" in the attached category is in Blackhorse, a 121-unit project in La Jolla.
Designed by architects Lorimer-Case of San Diego, the 2,685-square-foot plan has four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, French doors, 10-foot-high ceilings, arched floor-to-ceiling windows, a circular stairway, skylights and a designer kitchen.
Eve Hager, sales and marketing vice president for Davidson Communities of San Diego, said the plan has been popular because it is "so open and spacious." Judges, who selected the model over 121 other entries, remarked on the "use of custom features and attention to project streetscaping."
Las Vegas Home
There is only one of the winning homes remaining to be sold, she said, and it is priced at $594,000, on land leased from the University of California for 65 years.
The third "Home of the Year," in the detached, conventional lot category, is in Las Vegas.
Designed by McLarand, Vasquez & Partners of Costa Mesa, the house, one of several for the 120-unit Carmel Series at Spanish Trail, has three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths in 2,500 square feet.
A spokesman for its Las Vegas builder, Spanish Trail Associates, said the eye-catching feature is a stairway with a bridge overlooking the living room. Judges, who chose the plan over 184 other models, called the spiral stairway, which can be seen from the entry, "the centerpiece of this home."
There are still 90 units to build, and buyers' preference determines which plan is used, the spokesman said. So far, 45% of the units, not 35% as expected, have been constructed according to the winning plan. Price varies by lot choice from $285,000 to $385,000.
A 324-unit condo development in Pacoima, Glenoaks by Griffin Homes of Calabasas, was judged the "best affordable housing" in the West. Chosen from 21 entries, the honored design was by Paul Essick Architects of Los Angeles.
Prices range from $71,990 to $116,900 for units available in the second of four phases.
The design calls for two types of condos: some one story, stacked one on top of another; some two stories; all with attached garages. Size ranges from 650 to 1,157 square feet.
"The upstairs, one-story condos have loft areas with lots of light," said Paul Griffin III, who is proud of his condo development, but for reasons that go beyond its design.
"We do about 1,200 to 1,500 houses (and condos) a year . . . but this is different," he said. "It's in a tough neighborhood, and most of our work is not building, but working with the community, trying to get young men and women there to work on our job site and learn about opportunities in real estate development."
A complete list of Gold Nugget grand award winners follows:
COMMERCIAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR MurrayHill Marketplace, Beaverton, Ore.
Builder: Columbia Willamette Development
Architect: Fisher-Friedman Associates
ATTACHED HOME OF THE YEAR Blackhorse La Jolla, Plan 4, La Jolla
Builder: Davidson Communities
DETACHED (SMALL LOT) HOME OF THE YEAR
Over 2,500 Square Feet
Seadrift, Plan 2, Laguna Niguel
Builder: A-M Homes
Architect: Bassenian/Lagoni Architects
DETACHED HOME OF THE YEAR