OVER AND OVER AGAIN, THE JUDGES kept coming back to this little beauty's floor plan, front elevation, and plot plan, marveling at how the architects managed to pull off such a successful design. In just 1,938 square feet, on a 2,328-square-foot lot, this detached row house manages to reflect its historical community, offer a street-friendly outlook, and provide plenty of room for family life.

The inspiration for the project was the rich historical fabric of the former naval station at Point Loma, which is being redeveloped into a mixed-use, waterfront community. The site is surrounded by homes from the 1920s and 1930s that reflect the Craftsman and Mediterranean styles known as “Loma Portal.” That vernacular most influenced the design of these single-family, alley-loaded homes.

Something as simple as a forward den location and a side-entry courtyard set up this multi-layered house for success. The open floor plan combines living areas in an extension of space that belies its small size. It's a plan that's packed with character and buckets of charm.

Lance Gordon

Award: Best single-family detached home—1,700 square feet and over (compact lot); Builder/ Developer: McMillin Cos., National City, Calif.; Architect: Starck Architecture + Planning, San Diego; Land planner: M.W. Steele Group, San Diego

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Diego, CA.