Alara, a neighborhood centered on lofty contemporary design, reveals a transition in the construction and design of luxury homes in Orange County, California, a transition away from the long, lean, courtyard-focused semi-custom designs forwarded by the Irvine Company in neighborhoods such as Nautilus or the Tides in Crystal Cove and the Villas or the Sycamores of Shady Canyon towards large enclosed homes which play with height, volume, and the interplay between home levels in new and exciting ways never before imagined.
I first became enamored with the voluminous townhouses of New York City Society with a capital “S,” the four, five, six story behemoths built to include ballrooms, grand dining rooms, and two servants bedrooms for every one principle bedroom—homes designed for entertaining on a massive, and constant, scale, a scale which is very much embraced by certain segments of the Orange County population, a population which will very much enjoy these vivacious, glass-enclosed spaces to toast away the warm evening, jasmine and citrus scents wafting in from the out of doors. What an excellent combination of country and city, a sort of nonchalant, rustic contemporary vibe, an alluring atmosphere for today’s homebuyer. The coalescence of the world of Edith Wharton with contemporary Orange County.
Here, we will explore each of the three models of the community: Ariel, Calypso, and Soliel, each with its own Elite edition, which crowns the home with a third floor bonus room and rooftop terrace. Designed by Bassenian Lagoni Architects, one of Orange County’s premiere firms, these designs reflect a provenance and heritage many homes could only pine for.
Welcome to the Ariel home, the first of six variations within the Alara neighborhood, allowing its future owner to pick one of three distinct, yet cohesive, exterior façade styles: the Coastal Contemporary, the Modern, and the Transitional, each boasting extensive use of natural stone, glass, and exterior terraces. This 4,368 square foot home includes 4-5 bedrooms and 4.5-5.5 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $1,967,995.
The floor plan reveals a case study in the desires of the upwardly mobile and affluent in a tract home: a gracious entryway, seperate office and first floor guest suite, massive great room, a covered, “luxury” outdoor living space, upstairs bonus/family room, upstairs laundry, two bedroom suites for your two children, and an entire master bedroom wing including his and hers walk-in closets its own private balcony.
The Ariel Elite, our first model home, displays a relaxed, generous luxury, an innate luxury, a rarity for brand-new construction with its warm hues, inviting furnishings, and person-sized exterior spaces. This 4,881 square foot home includes 4-6 bedrooms and 4.5-7 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $2,109,995.
The Elite floor plan enables the interior volumes and entertaining spaces to extend up to the third floor, a unique vantage from which to enjoy the company of others and appreciate the out of doors with a cool bevvy at your elbow.
The Calypso, which also features three exterior options in the Coastal Contemporary, Modern, and Transitional vernaculars, reveals a similar light, bright, warm, woody model interior coupled with fantastically scaled interlocking, interlevel spaces. This 4,633 square foot home includes 5-6 bedrooms and 5.5-6.5 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $2,030,995.
The Calypso floor plan, an enlarged Ariel, similarly ticks all the needs and wants of the affluent, upwardly mobile Orange County family, with bedroom suites galore, two story interior spaces, and an optional two room first floor in-law suite, complete with bathroom and walk-in closet, located where the first floor bedroom and office are currently positioned, allowing for intergenerational living, as it truly does take a village.
Calypso Elite parallels the lines of the Calypso but instead dons a show-girl headpiece to take advantage of the light, air, and views from three floors up. This 5,212 square foot home includes 5-7 bedrooms and 6-8 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $2,223,995.
The three story dining room space enabled by this plan is a true luxury and privilege, requiring weekly dinner parties with menus printed on thick, gilt-edged cardstock, the twisting silver arms of candelabra shimmering in the candlelight, flowering bottles of Perrier-Jouët on ice. What a setting in which to host—noblesse oblige.
Soleil, the largest home modeled, continues the theme of grand entries, spacious staircases, vast great rooms, this one boasting a kitchen with two islands, one of my favorite design features, as it facilitates a plethora of gracious, seamless entertaining and serving options. This 4,627 square foot home includes 5-6 bedrooms and 5.5-6.5 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $ 2,095,995.
My favorite feature of the Soleil plan is the second floor gallery space which both separates the bedrooms for privacy while also allowing light and air to flow between the first and second floors, creating a truly Great House.
The Soleil Elite, even larger than the Soleil, boasts a three-story entrance gallery, enabling a truly dramatic entry into this magnificent home. This 5,247 square foot home includes 5-7 bedrooms and 6-8 bathrooms with pricing beginning at $2,249,995.
What a floor plan, what a home.
My once elusive dream of a cosmopolitan, multifaceted, multistory residential Orange County is finally beginning to take shape county-wide in many shapes, forms, and price ranges; from Irvine to Costa Mesa, Dana Point to Seal Beach, luxury, and more modest, multi-level residential projects are underway, forever altering the long, low, green-lawned vision of early Orange County developers. These options and opportunities allow for all types of taste and requirements, a welcome addition to Orange County real estate. One of the clearest examples of this neighborhood being a new breed of luxury, high-density single-family homes is that the homes range in size from 4,368 to 5,247 square feet while situated on a lot with an average of 6,000 square feet. And, yet, all the amenities, lawns, fields, pools, and trails of Altair are accessible just outside your front door.
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