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ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH / A SPECIAL REPORT: HOME CONSTRUCTION

October 03, 1994|Debora Vrana

FRAMED: This week, Freda Miller moves into her new house--the first in fire-ravaged Laguna Beach to be rebuilt with a frame and roof made of steel instead of wood. . . . The 2,200-square-foot home on Skyline Drive, which replaces the one Miller lost last Oct. 27, was built more quickly and cost 15% less than a wood-frame house, says contractor Dieter Himmler of Curtiss Development. "I wanted everything to be fireproof as much as possible," says Miller. But the contractor notes that if the same intensity of fires hit Laguna again, the house would still burn.

NEW MODELS: Home buyers shopping in new developments in Orange County might find themselves looking at a computer rather than parading through model homes. . . . In an attempt to save money and sell homes fast, some Orange County builders are delaying the construction of models and instead using computer renderings designed by Headrick Chase & Associates, a San Juan Capistrano company. "We just developed this and the response has been great," says spokesman Brent Chase.

"LOFICE": Increasing demand by buyers for home offices has prompted Mike Woodley of Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. to design a new room called a "lofice"--a combination loft-office space. . . . The small, airy rooms, centrally located on a home's second floor, are offered in the California Coventry project in Foothill Ranch. Woodley says he got the idea in Mexico, where many houses have upstairs TV rooms. "The nice thing is that it's not isolated from the rest of the house," he says.

PALATIAL: One of the largest homes under construction in the county is located at 13 Harbor Island Drive, Newport Beach, according to city building director Raimar Schuller. The 6,200-square-foot home, owned by Rusty and Carol McDonnell, is being designed by local architect Eric Mossman. . . . The house is located down the street from the biggest home in Newport Beach, a 12,000-square-foot house owned by investor George Yao. It's on the market for $13 million.

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