Local residential projects win ‘Oscars’


Fairbrook Estates, Alta Del Mar top winners

By: Roher Showley-JUNE 5, 2013
  • The residential project of the year was Pardee Homes' Alta Del Mar in Carmel Valley. Its plan 3, seen here, won the grand award for best single-family home over 4,000 square feet.
The residential project of the year was Pardee Homes’ Alta Del Mar in Carmel Valley. Its plan 3, seen here, won the grand award for best single-family home over 4,000 square feet. – Jeffrey Aron Photography

San Diego housing, for luxury buyers as well as the homeless, met the gold standard this week as local projects nabbed nine gold nugget grand awards in the annual competition sponsored by Builder magazine and announced at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference.

PCBC, meeting in San Diego for the first time in its 54-year history, showcases the latest in housing as well as commercial design and development trends.

The Gold Nugget contest, marking its 50 anniversary, drew 533 entries in 49 categories – from custom homes to international ventures planned, designed, developed or built in the U.S. or other countries. Western state projects historically dominate the field of grand and merit awards.

“Our merits and grands represent an amazing diversity of locales, projects and design/planning firms,” said San Diego home builder Bill Davidson, cochairman of this year’s PCBC with his wife and interior design executive Dawn Davidson.

Don Jacobs, principal of JZMK Architects and one of seven judges, said the entries typically introduce new “talent” to the industry.

“Many of the merit and grand winners were by new and lesser known firms who now very deservedly take their place in the spotlight,” Jacobs said.

The panel of judges included Tim McGowan, principal of La Jolla-based Ashbrook McGowan, a development company in partnership with developer Chris McKellar. They are the winners of the recently approved sale by the San Diego school district of the Mission Beach Elementary School site.

McGowan said one trend he saw among the entries was the inclusion of a downstairs bedroom at the expense of the kitchen, family room and living room – a nod to the growing habit of multiple generations under the same roof.

“Where 10 years ago we would never think of doing it, now it’s very common to have grandparents there, particularly in Orange County with its very heavy Asian influence,” he said.

Another new trend was inclusion of a kitchenettes in homes of as little as 2,600 square feet, something luxury homes had offered before the recession.

Infill played a big role in numerous entries, McGowan said, and many projects touted their environmental and sustainable building practices.

“There were some spectacular projects, a lot of net-zero energy use stuff,” he said.

Two of the top awards went to San Diego projects – Ryland’s the house of the year at Fairbrook Estates in Scripps Ranch and Pardee Homes’ residential project of the year at Alta Del Mar in Carmel.

“It was so unique,” McGowan said of the 3,156-square-foot, million-dollar Ryland home off Pomerado Road. “They had a wedge home that depending on the lot, you could one part of the house. The interior space had some creative wood feelings. It just stood out…as a really cool design.” The project architect was Woodley Architectural Group.

Pardee’s 136-lot subdivision includes homes up to 6,235 square feet and prices up to $2.2 million.

“It stood out as one of the most well-rounded of the projects,” McGowan said. “It was nicely done and hard to fault it.”

Other judges were architect Donald Jacobs, president of JZMK Partners in Costa Mesa; architect Jerry Gloss, principal of KGA Studio Architects in Louisville, Colo.; Amy Albert, editor of Custom Home Magazine in Washington, D.C.; architect Sanford P. Steinberg, principal of Steinberg Design Collaborative in Houston; architect Curtis Gelotte, senior principal of Gelotte Hommas- The Art of Architecture, in Bellevue, Wash.; and David Steinke, general manager of Ininite Home Collection in Denver.

The nine grands in San Diego include multiple wins for Ryland Homes’ Fairbrook Estates in Scripps Ranch and Pardee’s Alta Del Mar


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