By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Why it worked: San Marino gave local residents a chance to move up without moving out of a neighborhood they loved. Homes with very flexible plans bring historic California architectural styles reminiscent of Pasadena and old San Marino to the semi-rural community.

* Heritage architecture pays homage to historic luxury communities such as Pasadena.

* Courtyards, balconies, and verandas emphasize indoor/outdoor relationships.

* Long axis orchestrates entry experience and view through foyer, hall, rotunda, and out French doors to the swimming pool.

* Teen balcony and veranda overlook "secret" garden courtyard with fountain.

* Flexible rooms can become guest suites, multiple offices, caretaker suites, or reading rooms.

* Home office features separate entry: French doors sheltered by a porch.

* Butler's pantry expands kitchen and catering space for formal entertaining.

Project Credits

Project: San Marino, Coto de Caza, Calif.; Sales started: March 2001; Sales through May 2002: 45; Units planned: 45; Price: $889,000 to $969,000, plus average lot premium of $95,000; Unit size: 4,709 to 5,989 square feet; Builder: Western Pacific Housing, Irvine, Calif.; Architect: Dawson, Hannouche, Pate, Irvine; Interior merchandiser: Klang and Associates, San Diego; Landscape architect: SJA Inc., Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.