A Review of the Corte Bella Tract at Orchard Hills

Today, I will introduce you to the Corte Bella neighborhood in Orchard Hills. This is the third smallest set of homes and is on the Orchard Hills II side. These Irvine Pacific homes have 3-4 bedrooms and 2.5-3 bathrooms. They range from 1,833 square feet to 2,101 square feet. All homes have a two-car garage. Residences Two and Three have a bedroom downstairs.

Some of the standard amenities in all homes include Kitchenaid stainless steel appliance package, including cooktop, oven, microwave, dishwasher and hood; white satin Thermofoil cabinets with adjustable shelves; granite slab kitchen counters with 6-inch backsplash and full backsplash at cooktop; stainless steel double basin sink with Kohler pull-out faucet; master bath with a sterling tub with 6” x 6” tile surround and separate shower; dual Kohler undermount sinks with marble countertops and backsplash; Kohler polished chrome faucets; ceramic tile flooring at entry, kitchen, dining, baths and laundry; plush carpet throughout living areas; pre-wired multi-media plate; fire-resistant concrete tile roofs; decorative front doors; high efficiency air conditioning and gas furnace; tankless water heaters; and energy efficient bathroom fixtures. All homes are Build it Green™ Certified.

Corte Bella is the farthest east of all of the homes. They are high in the hills and some will have gorgeous views. Most of the streets are very short, with only three houses on each side. There will be a total of 118 homes in the neighborhood. All Corte Bella homes are currently zoned for the Irvine Unified School District (always best to confirm this with your sales agent). Students are assigned to Canyon View Elementary, Sierra Vista Middle School and Northwood High School.

Basic Neighborhood Financial Information

Approximate HOA Dues: $196 per month

Approximate Tax rate: 1.06%

Approximate Mello Roos: $3712 per year (AD Tax: $1,850; CFD Tax: $1,700; other tax $162)

Overall Effective Tax Rate: 1.5%

Prices start at around $820,000 for Residence One, $850,000 for Residence Two, and $870,000 for Residence Three.

Residence One

1,833 square feet

3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths

Base Price: $820,000 ($447 per square foot)

Residence One is modeled in the Formal Spanish elevation; this home also has an Early California elevation. Select lots will have additional windows on the exposed side of the home, including one each in the master bedroom closet, the laundry room, and on the stairway. When you enter the home, the stairs are on the right – with a large storage closet underneath – and the hall leads back to the great room and kitchen. There is a nice little nook tucked in by the staircase, offering a nice spot for a small table or entry bench.

The powder room is actually three steps up from the entryway, on the first landing of the main staircase. I don’t really like this, as it isn’t accessible for visitors who can’t climb stairs. It is otherwise a fine bathroom, with a pedestal sink and a window facing the street. The framed mirror is an upgrade.

At the back of the house, the great room is on the left and the kitchen is on the right. The dining area is straight ahead at the end of the hall. The dining area has a big window and three recessed can lights.

The great room is an average size, with windows on two walls and a sliding door leading to the yard. The crown molding and recessed lights are standard features. The media built-in unit is an upgrade.

The kitchen is pretty much entirely upgraded, so other than the layout, it isn’t a true representation of the standard package. The large center island offers bar seating, storage cabinets and an optional wine/beverage center. The dishwasher and sink are along the back with a window to the yard. The range, refrigerator and ovens are all along the side, with some counter space surrounding the range. The walk-in pantry is shown with the upgraded organizer. The setup seems functional, though I would have liked to see the dishwasher closer to the cabinets and drawers.

The backyard is very small. There is room for a table and barbecue, but not much space for anything else.

All of the bedrooms in Corte Bella are on the second floor. At the top of the stairs, the laundry room and master suite are to the right. The two secondary bedrooms are down the hall in front of you. The laundry room has side by side machines and included upper cabinets. There isn’t really space for a sink or to add more storage.

The master bedroom is a good size and has windows overlooking the side and backyard. It has space for a sitting area in the corner. The coffered ceiling is standard, but the recessed lights and crown molding are upgrades.

Like the kitchen, the master bathroom is almost entirely upgraded, including cabinets, drawer pulls, jetted tub, vanity detailing, marble countertop and tub surround, and the tile backsplash. The vanity on the right houses both sinks but doesn’t have a lot of space between them. The bathtub and shower setup are similar to many of the new homes I have seen recently, with a shared deck on one side. The standard tub does not have jets. The shower is a good size, with a small seat and shelf in one corner. The closet is average sized and is shown with the standard single shelf and pole.

The main hallway has big linen storage area. The bathroom shows the standard white Thermofoil shaker cabinets and white cultured marble countertop. All of the hardware on the vanity and sinks are included, except the drawer pulls at the bottom of the vanity. The backsplash is also standard. A door separates the sinks from the shower, which has upgraded tile throughout. Though the shower/tub combo is standard, buyers can opt for just a shower.

Bedrooms 2 and 3 are pretty similar in size, though the small entryway in Bedroom 2 makes it feel more spacious. Both bedrooms overlook the street and also have windows on the side. Bedroom 3 has a Juliette balcony. Both closets are standard, two-door sliders with storage above (cabinet doors not included), though they seem a little smaller than in other homes.

This home had a lot of similarities to the Vista Scena homes I reviewed last week. The overall layout is basically the same and they have most of the same standard features. The benefit to Corte Bella over Vista Scena is a little more square footage and these are single family homes, rather than the townhomes at Vista Scena.

Residence Two

1,922 square feet

3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths


Base Price: $850,000 ($442 per square foot)

Residence Two is modeled in the Monterey elevation; this home also has an Early California and a Northern Italian elevation, plus a fourth whose name wasn’t listed. The garage faces the street, but front door is on the side of the house, so these homes are always on a corner lot. The front entry in this home gives a glimpse of the great room at the back and a look into the den on the right. There is a large closet underneath the stairs.

The den faces the front of the house and has optional French doors leading in from the hallway. It is a nice size for an office and doesn’t have the option to be a bedroom instead. All of built-in units, wainscoting and crown molding are upgrades.

In addition to the closet, the hall also leads to garage access, a laundry room and a powder room. The laundry room has side by side machines and upper cabinets. The powder room has the standard pedestal sink.

The great room and kitchen are at the end of the hall. The great room is shown with the optional stacking sliding doors, which stretch the full length of the back wall and through the dining area. The room is shown without any upgraded built-ins and includes the standard pre-wiring for the flat screen TV.

The kitchen is shown with the included white cabinets and drawers, though the glass-fronted cabinets are upgraded. The large, center island houses the sink and dishwasher, and it offers bar seating. The cooktop is set into one wall while the fridge (shown upgraded) and the (standard) double oven/microwave are on another. There is some counter space on each side of the cooktop, but not as much as in many other new kitchens. A walk-in pantry, shown with the standard shelving, sits in the corner. This kitchen also shows upgraded granite and backsplash, sink, drawer pulls and the wine/beverage center.

The dining area is in the back corner. With windows on one wall and the stacking sliding doors on another, this space gets a lot of light.

On the opposite side of the great room, a short hallway leads to the master bedroom. The room is spacious and bright. It is shown with upgraded recessed lights and crown molding. There is a single French door leading out to the backyard.

The master bath has a vanity on the left with two sinks, where the counter and drawer pulls are upgrades. On the right, there is a bathtub and separate stall shower, shown with upgraded tub deck, tile backsplash, and liners at shower surround. The shower is an average size, with a narrow shelf shared with the tub deck and a small corner seat. The walk-in closet is a good size, shown with the included single pole and shelf.

The backyard is again very small. It is nice to have access from the great room and master bedroom.

Upstairs, there are two bedrooms and a shared bath. A small, optional tech desk is shown at the top of the stairs. The shared bath in the hallway has a vanity similar to that of the master bedroom. This one is shown with a fully upgraded shower in lieu of the standard shower/tub combo.

Bedroom Two is on the left and is the smaller of the two rooms. It has a big walk-in closet and French doors leading out to the huge balcony it shares with Bedroom 3. The balcony spans the full width of the house. Sadly, this deck is only in the modeled elevation. Two of the others have no balcony at all and the fourth elevation has a separate Juliette balcony off each bedroom.

Bedroom Three feels very spacious. It has a sliding closet, shown with upgraded mirrored doors and the standard, open storage space above it.

This home will be very appealing to buyers who want a downstairs master suite. Otherwise, the only main difference between this and Residence One is the addition of the den. For those wanting a balcony, the modeled Monterey elevation is the way to go.

Residence Three

2,101 square feet

4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths


Base Price: $870,000 ($414 per square foot)

Residence Three is modeled in the Northern Italian style, with Formal Spanish and Early California as other options. In this home, the entry is just a small foyer, with the great room directly in front of it, the stairs on the left, and the downstairs bedroom jutting out alongside the front walkway. The flooring and window treatments throughout the home are upgrades.

The great room is bigger than in the other models, but a little more isolated from the kitchen. The layout makes it more like a traditional family room than a true great room. Windows look out to the side and back yards. The built-in unit is an upgrade.

The dining room sits behind the great room and slightly to the side. It has sliding doors to the backyard and windows on another wall. There is space for a big table.

The kitchen is to the right of the dining area. Its island is very small compared to other homes, but still has space for a couple of bar stools. Because it is offset from the great room, this kitchen uses three walls, so there a lot of cabinets. One wall has the dishwasher and sink, another has the cooktop, and the third has the fridge, ovens, and pantry. Basically everything shown in this kitchen is upgraded, including the appliances, counters, cabinets and more.

A doorway in the kitchen leads to the laundry room, a launch zone, and the garage. The launch comes standard with upper and lower cabinets, but is shown with an upgraded unit. The laundry room has side by side machines, a sink, upper cabinets and a pole for hanging clothes.

The backyard is a little bigger than it was in the other two homes, though still pretty small.

The bedroom at the front of the house (Bedroom 4) is a pretty typical downstairs bedroom. It is average sized, with a two-door closet and windows facing the street and side. This one has a nice little corner nook beside a window with enough space for a chair.

The adjacent bathroom is the only one on the first floor (no separate powder room). It has a single sink and a shower, shown here with upgraded liners, shower floor and countertop. There is an option for a shower/tub combo.

Upstairs are the master and two secondary bedrooms. The master sits just to the left at the top of the stairs and the other two bedrooms are at the end of the hall.

The master is pretty similar to the other two models. It is a good size with windows on two walls. Again, the coffered ceiling is standard, the can lights and crown molding are upgrades.

The master bath is also quite similar, with the vanity on one side and the tub and shower on the other. In this home, the vanity is actually split, with one sink on each side of the closet door. The vanities are also shown with drawers instead of the standard cabinets, upgraded counters and backsplashes, and upgraded mirrors. The tub has the same upgrades and the shower floor also has upgraded tiles. The shower is a little bigger than in the other models. All of the Corte Bella homes have an option to put a door between the bedroom and bathroom.

The hallway has a linen closet and the shared bathroom. The bath has two sinks and a shower/tub combo. The only upgrade is the clear glass tub enclosure. There is also an option for just a shower.

The secondary bedrooms are both a good size. Bedroom 2 overlooks the backyard and has a small entryway, so it is set back a bit from the hall. Bedroom 3 faces the street and has French doors leading to a Juliette balcony in the modeled elevation. Both rooms have the usual two-door closet and storage above, this time shown with the optional cabinet doors.

I don’t love the layout of this home. I prefer the more common great room-kitchen setup, rather than having them offset as they are in Residence Three. I do like the launch zone near the garage. I would not be surprised if Residence Two (with the downstairs master) ends up being more popular. Overall, Corte Bella base prices are in line with the current price per square foot.