BELCARA AT PACIFIC RIDGE HAD THE goods when it came to location, location, location. But with the prime real estate came a steep challenge: how to engineer spectacular ocean views and privacy for all in a cluster development where villas ranging from 2,475 to 3,082 square feet were packed in at 5.8 units per acre. This was the not-so-small problem for Taylor Woodrow Homes and JZMK Partners in masterminding the picturesque enclave high above the surf in Newport Coast, Calif.
Conventional grading of lots for single-family development would have damaged the site's natural beauty and compromised vistas. An alternative solution brought the team to tiers: The 107 lots in the development are carved into the hillside, forming a flexible, descending mosaic of interlocking pads.
Resembling a Tuscan village in both style and setting, the cascading homes are engaging. Portico gates, loggias, and intimate courtyards beguile the senses, while spacious floor plans offer up to five bedrooms and four and a half baths, satisfying home buyers' cravings for space. Price tags started at $1.1 million and have since topped $2 million.
As one would expect in an architectural tribute to old Europe, there is delight in the details. Carved wooden shutters, deep-set windows, ornamental iron, weathered bronze finishes, and rustic tiles create surprises around every corner.
Awards: Residential project of the year/detached (tie) and grand award (Celano plan) for best single-family detached home—3,001 to 3,300 square feet (conventional lot); Builder/Developer: Taylor Woodrow Homes, Irvine, Calif.; Architect/Land planner: JZMK Partners, Irvine