The most interesting thing about this jewel of a house, situated on a breathtaking lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean, isn't that it's well appointed, or that it's faithful in its homage to Spanish architecture. It's that its luxury is expressed in such an understated, almost soft-spoken way. The emotion and drama of Plan 2, a 5,835-square-foot house at SeaCrest at Crystal Cove, comes not by way of grand volume spaces, but rather from its relaxed and humble scale.

Designed by Bob White of Forest-Studio, with the Ritner Group as architect of record, Plan 2 offers a decidedly casual form of luxury, marked by low-profile building forms, a palette of organic materials, and connections to the landscape at every turn. No doubt its generous open-air courtyards, patios, and covered loggias off both the first and second floors get plenty of use in this balmy, 29-home Laing Luxury Homes enclave. And inside, there's something for everybody: three to four bedrooms, a great room, a morning room, a “teen room,” and a butler's pantry to name just a few of the features that make this residence super livable.

All that, and the attention to detail is impeccable: handmade portico gates and shutters, antique French pavers, hand-rubbed clay tiles on the roof, and hand-forged hardware on all the doors and windows. As one judge observed, “The pacing of the architecture is inspired, and the craftsmanship is exquisite.” Award: Grand for best single-family detached home—over 5,000 square feet (conventional lot)

Builder/Developer: Laing Luxury Homes, Newport Beach, Calif.;

Designer: ForestStudio, Newport Beach

Architect of record: Ritner Group, Newport Beach

Land planner: Irvine Community Development Co., Newport Beach

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.