Paging the Fit and Fabulous

Irvine. When you are outside Irvine, just telling people that you live in Irvine is enough – you are already special. But within Irvine, there are some villages better than others, some tracts better than others, some schools better than others and of course some builders better than others. Which side of 405? Which side of 5? Which side of Culver? Northwood or Northwood II? North Park of North Park square? Quail Hill or University Park? Oh.. Walnut- El Camino-West Irvine? No, this is not a philosophical blog about what's enough, and where does one draws a line and defines happiness. This is a real estate blog, and the question here is..

What's hot in the market today, and how much does it cost?

39 Moonstone, Irvine CA 92602 – One of the “most popular listing” on Redfin.

This attached condominium is priced at $539,000. During 2011/2012, the Mandeville homes flooded with the market and slid to $400,000s. No one would have expected them to hit the $500,000s so soon, but suddenly the inventory is low, and end of the day real estate market is all about demand and supply. The plans aren't very spacious, but they are highly functional. There isn't much wasted space. Also, there are only two levels.

Long ago, we went to an open house in bay area. The condo had three levels- and it had steps within the kitchen and dining area to separate the areas. While it looks good on plans and sections to draw something complex, as an architect, I know that end of the day it's not about how good a building looks on paper. How does it translate in reality? Will the end user be happy with the product? Who lives in a condominium? A newly married couple.. they might have a baby in that house. Empty nesters downsizing.. they might have knee issues.

I understand, it's all about density. Can we, within the constraints of the developer and the dollars design something that becomes a contribution to the society, not something one has to live with because that's all they can afford to buy in Irvine? But then… here we are, three level West Park gym- and “most popular listing” on Redfin, priced $34/SF more than the two level condo in West Irvine. I might be all wrong about my design analysis. There must be a tribe that loves these tri-level houses, fit and fabulous to run up and down the stairs all day, and not get tired of it at all.

A slight digression..a friend of mine lived in a tri-level condominium. When they moved in, they decorated it to suit a young couple. It looked perfect. Then she got pregnant. It was a pain climbing stairs to get a glass of water if she was on the couch. Then she had a baby. It wasn't as pretty as before. The beautifully decorated house got cramped with functional pieces to make living easy on each level. Then she had another baby. One afternoon she came back from a supermarket..unloaded her stuff into the extra fridge they had in the garage (her husband or she would later transfer stuff to their kitchen when they had time). She kept the car running because her baby was sleeping in the car seat, and called from her car.. and says “I don't want to go upstairs and put him in bed because we have to again get down in forty minutes to pick up my older one from preschool”. Oh, OK. Happy mother's day to all you mommies rocking a multiple level house!

5 Palagonia Aisle, Irvine CA 92606

Share your thoughts about the floor plan. Do you see a condo as a step towards a house of your dreams and buy whatever the market offers in a village you want to live in? Do you live, or love multiple level condos? What are your reasons? As a woman in her thirties, and a mother also, I might be overlooking a community that loves living in such condominiums. Enlighten me. They exist in almost every village of Irvine, and they are all priced on Irvine standards (special, I mean). There must be a reason for that.

What is your favorite Irvine village, or your favorite Irvine tract? Please share on this thread at Talk Irvine!