By Christina B. Farnsworth. Builder Bill Davidson has once again garnered a Builder's Choice award for a stunning Mediterranean-styled villa: This one at a robust 4,535 square feet. The home embodies more than half the trends seen in this year's awards: It includes outbuildings, showcases the use of honest materials, and proves that the cost of production housing just keeps going up.

This Tuscan farmhouse design started with the gathering and quarrying of local natural granite. "The stone wraps pillars, serves as the veneer of some walls, and is elemental in the fireplaces," Davidson says. It helps the house sit well in its environment. Built 8- to 10-inches thick, the stone walls also lend a sense of timelessness and permanence to the dwelling.

Classically styled shuttered openings make the two garages look like living space. The garages' back walls and a low stone wall enclose a terrace that leads through stone columns into the courtyard with its stunning exterior fireplace. French doors open onto a private courtyard from a secondary bedroom, which would be equally comfortable as a private guest apartment or a home office. The front entrance and foyer are to the back of the courtyard.

Photo: Lance Gordon

A long corridor forms the home's axis, terminating to the left at the library whose opening frames an inviting fireplace. To the right, the axis ends at the foyer of the owners' wing. The owners' suite, formal rooms, and the kitchen/family room all feature large classic picture windows with views to the pool and mountains in the background. Davidson is especially pleased with the burgundy-colored French stove that highlights the kitchen. Michael Martin, vice president of operations for Davidson Communities, points out the timbered ceilings: "Some are natural timbers recovered and recycled from bridges. Others are faux timbers patterned after the real thing and done in plaster." It is hard to tell the difference.

At the back of the house, a gracious casita also faces the pool and gives the owners' suite extra privacy by sheltering the suite from the pool. The houses ranges from $1 to $1.5 million plus. Hard costs are $80 a square foot. At build-out, 81 homes will grace the community's 130 acres.

Category: Single-Family Production, Over 3,000 Square Feet; Entrant/Builder/Developer: Davidson Communities, Del Mar, Calif.; Architect: R. Douglas Mansfield, Laguna Beach, Calif.; Land Planner: Latitude 33, San Diego; Landscape Architect: Burton Associates, San Diego; Interior Designer: Parisi Designs, Del Mar