Author Archives: Karen

Open House Review: 29 Belcanto

This week, I visited 29 Belcanto in Westpark’s Promenade neighborhood. The home, listed at $1,048,000 is currently accepting backup offers.

The Basics:
Asking Price: $1,048,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 2,341
Price per Sq. Ft: $448
Lot Size: 4,050
Property Type: Single family home
Year Built: 1988
Community: Westpark – Promenade
HOA: $43 per month / Mello Roos: Yes (approx. $55/month; expected to end in 2 – 3 years)
Days on Market 20
Schools: Westpark or Culverdale Elementary, South Lake Middle School, Woodbridge High (Irvine Unified)

The home has a small front yard with numerous plants and garden boxes. Inside, there is a small foyer with marble flooring and the stairs just ahead on the left. A hallway on the right leads to the family room while a doorway on the left leads to the powder room, a large closet, and garage access. The powder room has a large vanity with updated cabinets and marble flooring.

The living room is just beyond the foyer. It has vaulted ceilings with windows going all the way up one wall. A sliding door leads to a wide side yard. Across from the sliders, there is a fireplace with a white cast surround and decorative wall panels. The stairs form the third wall, while the fourth side is open to the dining room. The placement of the door and fireplace make the room somewhat difficult to furnish, and I heard another family express the same feeling.

 

The dining room can hold a large table and china cabinet. Windows and a sliding door to the backyard line two of the walls. A narrow window looks through to the kitchen. The room has plantation shutters, wainscoting, and crown molding.

A doorway from the dining room leads into the kitchen. There is a breakfast nook when you first enter the room, with pantry-height cabinets on one side and a slider to the backyard on the other. The island has cabinets on one side, open shelving at two corners, and cabinets and drawers on the far side. The five-burner stove is also in the island. The rest of the kitchen forms an L around the island, with the sink and dishwasher facing the backyard, and the fridge, built-in oven, and built-in microwave are on the side. There are granite counters, plantation-style cabinets, and new stainless steel appliances. Large windows above the sink face the backyard. The room doesn’t make great space of the corner cabinets, but has a lot of storage overall, including open space above the cabinets.

The family room is on the other side of the kitchen. It has French doors leading to the front yard. One wall has built-in cabinets with space for a TV and a fireplace, which is a two-way fireplace shared with the living room. The room is long and somewhat narrow, with crown molding and recessed lighting.

The backyard has a built-in grill at one end and an in-ground jacuzzi at the other. The spa has a new heater, filter, and system. It is mostly hardscaped, with some space for a garden along the back wall. It is very shady, with a large pergola and several trees.

All four bedrooms are on the second floor, off a long hallway that overlooks the living room. There are linen cabinets in the hall.

The first bedroom is a good size, with a single window and a chandelier. One corner juts out a little and another is angled. There is a two-door, mirrored closet.

The second bedroom is comparable in size but has a much smaller window. The mirrored closet lines a full wall and has built-in shelves and drawers throughout.

 

The third bedroom is toward the back of the house, but juts out farther, so it overlooks the front yard. It is also a good size, with two windows, recessed lights, and a light fixture. The walk-in closet also has a full organizer system. There is a cutout in the wall that is open both to the bedroom and the closet.

All three secondary bedrooms share a bathroom in the hallway. The vanity matches the one downstairs, with solid-surface counters and navy, plantation-style cabinets. The tile floors are old and the tile along the shower wall is old and bath hardware in the shower/tub combo appear to be original.

The master suite runs along the back of the house. It has angled, high ceilings and windows facing the backyard. There is not a door between the bedroom and bathroom.

In the bathroom, there is a walk-in closet with mirrored, sliding doors on the right. It has some built-in shelving, but also several hanging rods. The shower and tub are along the left wall. The shower is a good size, but has only a soap dish and no other shelf or seat. The sunken tub is adjacent and they share a deck. All of the tile is old and it looks outdated. The vanity has two sinks and matches the vanities from the other bathrooms. It has two sets of cabinets and three drawers.

This home has many upgrades, but could still use additional work. The windows haven’t been replaced and both bathrooms upstairs could use new showers and tubs. The hardwood and marble flooring downstairs are in good condition and the carpet upstairs is new.

Open House Review: 6 Cetinale Aisle

This week, I toured a townhome at 6 Cetinale Aisle in Westpark’s gated Corte Bella neighborhood. The home has been on the market since December and had a recent price drop of $9,000. The price is in line with recent sales and other comparable homes currently on the market.

The Basics:
Asking Price: $610,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Square Footage: 1,443
Price per Sq. Ft: $423
Lot Size: N/A
Property Type: Condominium (end unit)
Year Built: 1970
Community: College Park
HOA: $388 ($346 + $42) per month / Mello Roos: Yes (expected to end in 2 – 3 years)
Days on Market 105
Schools: Westpark or Culverdale Elementary, South Lake Middle School, University High (Irvine Unified)

Families living in this part of Westpark have the option to attend either Westpark Elementary, which operates on a year-round schedule, or Culverdale Elementary, which follows a traditional calendar. The middle and high schools both follow a traditional calendar.

This home is located in a gated community that has ample guest parking throughout the complex. It is located toward the back of the neighborhood and I passed a community pool along the way with a large pool, spa, grill, and fountain.

The condo is down a short walkway and is an end unit. There is a small patio out front and several of the neighbors had dining tables. The garage is accessed from a shared motor court and is tucked into a back corner. Several of the homes have a private entry door from the motor court, but this one doesn’t have a door in the back.

When I entered the home, I was in the living room. There are a couple of places where you could put a small table or bench, but no true foyer. The stairs are just to the left of the door. There are hardwood floors throughout the house. The living room has several windows facing the front walkway. There is a two-sided fireplace and a cutout window between the living and dining rooms. It doesn’t have an ideal layout for furnishing. The room has recessed lights and crown molding.

The dining room is a good size and has windows overlooking the motor court. The fireplace is a nice touch and the cutout window could be a nice place for display items. There is also an open, recessed area beneath the cutout.

Across from the dining room, there is an extra space that adds a little flexibility to the layout. It could easily hold a desk and make a good work area, but could also be a small sitting room or play area for small kids. The stairs leading down to the garage and powder room are off this area.

The powder room is off a landing three steps below the main floor. It is a small room with an older vanity and tile floors. The garage is at the bottom of the stairs. The washer and dryer are in the garage and there is a storage closet tucked next to them beneath the stairs. There aren’t any closets on the main floor, so this is the closest the house has to a traditional coat closet.

The kitchen is at the back of the house. It has dark granite countertops and white cupboards that look to be original. There is a stainless steel, four-burner range, built-in white microwave, and a white dishwasher. The end of one counter has several open shelves and the other side has a glass-fronted cabinet on the end. There are three pantry-height cupboards and sliding doors that lead to a Juliet balcony.

 

All three bedrooms are on the second floor. The master is on the right, facing the front walkway. It has two windows and vaulted ceilings with recessed lights and fan. It has a small closet with built-in shelves in one corner and a walk-in closet in another.

 

The master bathroom is through an open doorway. It has tile floors and a vanity that matches the counters and cabinetry in the kitchen. There are two sinks each with one set of cabinets, and three drawers in between them.  There is a shower/tub combo that needs a really good scrubbing.

There is a linen/utility cabinet in the hall outside the two secondary bedrooms.

The first secondary room has a double door entry and vaulted ceilings with recessed lights. It has one window facing the motor court. There is a narrow closet with mirrored doors and a recessed area on one wall with a shelf in the middle. The room is very small and felt more like a den than a bedroom. There isn’t much space to put furniture.

The other bedroom is a little bigger and has a better layout. This one also has a window facing the back and recessed lights, but it doesn’t have vaulted ceilings. The closet is bigger and also has mirrored doors.

The secondary bedrooms share a Jack and Jill bathroom. It has a pedestal sink and no medicine cabinet, so there isn’t anywhere to put a toothbrush or other basic toiletries. There is a standard shower/tub combo.

This condo is in good condition, but is in need of a deep cleaning and fresh paint. Though the owners did recently drop the price, they have passed on a couple of offers that were deemed too low, so I don’t know how much room there is to negotiate. The most recent sale price was $590,000, so I imagine they owners won’t accept anything below that.

 

Stonegate – Chelsea X (Auburn Collection) Review

Last September, I posted a review of the Auburn Collection in the village of Stonegate (you can view that review here). At the time, their largest model hadn’t opened. Chelsea X finally reopened about a month ago, and I was able to visit it this week. This is the largest home in the collection, measuring approximately 5,250 square feet, which includes a full basement. Auburn, built by Richmond American Homes, is in the northern section of Stonegate and will have approximately 75 homes. One model (Cherie) is already sold out and there are only four Chelsea X homes still available. The other two models, Seabrook and Seneca are still selling.

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Orchard Hills – The Vistas Overview

In January, Orchard Hills held a grand opening for The Vistas, their newest enclave. Built by Toll Brothers, Bella Vista and Alta Vista are high-end luxury residences located in the hills high above the existing Orchard Hills homes.  While some homes will have views of the surrounding avocado orchards, others will have views that stretch all the way to Catalina, which was even visible on the hazy day when I visited. Residents will be part of the Orchard Hills Neighborhood Association, with full access to all of its amenities.

The back of the future Bella Vista models, as seen from the community lawn below:

The Vistas are part of the Tustin Unified School District. Students in grades K – 4 will attend Hicks Canyon Elementary School, located approximately three miles from the neighborhood. Students in grades 5 – 8 will attend Orchard Hills School, located at the entrance to Orchard Hills, approximately one mile below the Vistas. Eventually, Orchard Hills School should accommodate grades K – 8, though I don’t believe there is a timeline set for the expansion. Beckman High School will serve students in grades 9 – 12.

There are two home collections in the Vistas, both featuring very large homes and generous lots. Although the homes are already selling, construction on the models won’t be complete until this summer. Potential homeowners can visit the sales offices for more information and to schedule a hard hat tour of the framework. Once the models open this summer, I will review them in detail.

Collection Square Feet Beds Baths Garages Base Price
Bella Vista 4,698 – 5,508 5 – 6 5.5 – 6.5 2 – 4 cars Low 2,000,000s
Alta Vista 4,558 – 7,197 4 – 9 4.5 – 9.5 3 – 4 cars Mid 2,000,000s

 

Bella Vista Overview
Bella Vista will have five unique floorplans, but only three will have models.  The first several phases of homes will have views of the avocado orchards, giving them a very private and secluded feeling. Future phases will have city views, with Catalina visible in the distance. Those phases are expected to be built in about four years and will have lot premiums estimated around $1,000,000. By then, the base price will likely have risen as well. Homeowners dues is $280 per month. The current tax rate is approximately 1.4% including Mello Roos.

Plan Sq. Ft. Beds Baths Garages Base Price Modeled/Similar To:
Altura 4,698 5 – 6 5.5 – 6.5 2 – 3 $2,029,995 Modeled
Similar to Redondo at Capri (Hidden Canyon)
Bellino 4,849 5 5.5 3 (tandem) $2,099,995 N/A
Cielo 5,038 5 5.5 3 (tandem) $2,109,995 – $2,229,995 Modeled
Similar to Capri at Capri (Hidden Canyon)
Lusso 5,282 5 – 6 5.5 – 6.5 4 $2,264,995 – $2,334,995 Modeled
Similar to Cassis at Marbella (Hidden Canyon)
Tacara 5.508 5 5.5 4 $2,359,995 Similar to Santa Monica at Marbella
(Hidden Canyon)

Additional features include huge master bedrooms (some with retreats), outdoor living rooms, high ceilings, expansive kitchens, and a separate casita in the backyard of Bellino homes. Lot sizes in the first few phases of Bella Vista range from 7,235 – 15,270 square feet.

Alta Vista Overview
Alta Vista will have six different floorplans, though again, only three will have models, which are projected to open in late June. These homes are carved into the hills, stretching above and around the Bella Vista homes. As in Bella Vista, the HOA dues will be $280 per month and the current tax rate is approximately 1.4% including Mello Roos.

Plan Sq. Ft. Beds Baths Garages Base Price Modeled/Similar To:
Lucido
(single story)
4,558 – 5,824 4 – 6 4.5 – 6.5 4 $2,414,995 – $2,434,995 Modeled
Similar to La Morra (Masters at Moorpark)
Acacia 5,578 – 7,134 5 – 7 5.5 – 7.5 3 $2,459,995 – $2,669,995 N/A
Castello 5,795 – 6,813 5 – 6 5.5 – 6.5 4 $2,759,995 Similar to Cassero (Enclave at Yorba Linda)
Savona 5,939 – 7,129 5 – 7 5.5 – 7.5 4 $2,664,995 Modeled
Similar to Santa Rosa (Enclave at Yorba Linda)
Collina 5,883 – 6,901 5 – 7 5.5 – 7.5 4 $2,584,995 – $2,594,995 Similar to Capistrano (Enclave at Yorba Linda)
Oceano 6,213 – 7,197 5 – 9 55 – 9.5 4 $2,679,995 Modeled
Similar to Santa Barbara (Masters at Moorpark)

There will be a total of 168 homes in Alta Vista with an average lot size of 11,400 square feet.  Like Bella Vista, these homes have bonus rooms on the second floor, large bedrooms, expansive kitchens, and high ceilings. Some plans also include offices on the first floor and/or a private a casita.

Meadow at the Groves

In addition to the existing amenities in Orchard Hills, there is a new resort at the base of the Vistas.  Meadow at the Groves features a lap pool, spa, fireplace terrace, community lawn, view terrace, shade structures, tot lot, barbecues, and picnic areas.

The entrance to the pool area has a patio and drought-friendly landscaping. Inside, palm trees and numerous umbrellas offer shade. There is also a shade structure running the length of one side with tables and barbecues underneath. One end of the pool deck has a large fireplace with chairs and small tables for socializing, as well as picnic tables for bigger groups. The opposite end has the spa, with a fountain flowing into it.

    

The community lawn is huge and would be a great spot for community events.

 

The playground has two sand areas, each with diggers.  The play structures are made of wood, so they blend in nicely with the surrounding hills and don’t stand out like the brightly colored structures found at many other parks. There are two sets of climbing blocks with varying heights.

The larger play structure has monkey bars a few different ladders and climbing walls and one twisty slide coming down. A map on the side highlights Orange County’s former ranches and key landmarks.

The smaller structure also has various ways to climb up and a single, slightly curved slide coming down.

There is a swing set with two bucket swings and four regular swings.

Throughout the park, there are signs showing silhouettes and footprints of different animals that live (or lived) in the foothills.

Finally, there is a shade structure with two picnic tables and four small barbecues. While this area is shaded, the play areas and surrounding benches are not.

The Vistas is an exclusive community for homeowners seeking luxurious homes, amazing views, and some seclusion from the busier parts of the city. The homes are customizable to suit each owner’s needs. While the models won’t open for a few months, you can buy a home now or get on the VIP wait list, which will give you priority in selecting your home site as future phases are released. There will be a high demand for the sites with the best views and the largest lots, so visit soon if you think the Vistas is the place for you.

Parasol Park – Celadon Collection Review

Celadon is the last collection that is currently open in Parasol Park, though two more should open within the next couple of months. Built by Lyon Homes, these are three story, attached condos that will have a total of 79 homes. They are located in the middle of the neighborhood, with homes on three sides; the large park scheduled to open this summer will be to the north. The four models range from 3 – 4 bedrooms and all have 3.5 bathrooms. Residences two and three have optional rooftop decks. The homes range from 2,016 – 2,451 square feet. Residence 2 has a 3-car garage (including one tandem spot) while the other plans have 2-car garages. There are five different elevations, including three 3plex buildings and two 4plex buildings. All 3plex buildings include one each of residences 2, 3, and 4 with residence 2 always occupying the middle spot. The 4plex buildings have a residence 3 on one end, residence 4 on the other end, and two residence 1 plans in the middle.

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