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Image Credit
"Luxury" in home building need not be defined solely by abundant square footage. (Photo of Coral Crest, Plan 1: Eric Figge)
This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Pro Builder.

For those of us who saw the housing bubble burst in 2007 and endured the resulting recession, the idea of building large luxury homes may still seem daunting. In spite of predictions that large homes would likely never again be a substantial part of the market, the average size continues to rise. But does generous square footage define a luxury home? Considering recent media coverage of luxury tiny houses and luxurious cottages, size may not be the most important element. While we may not agree on the exact definition of a luxury design, high-quality materials and finishes and stunning features are expected of a luxury home. The following homes from our design team confirm that luxurious houses don’t have to be enormous. While none are even close to being “tiny,” they favor captivating floor plans, unique materials, and impeccable attention to detail over square footage.

Coral Crest, Plan 1

ARCHITECT: Robert Hidey Architects, 949.655.1550

PLAN SIZE: Width: 78 feet; Depth: 116 feet; Living area: 5,796 sf

Situated high above the Pacific Ocean within the coveted Southern California enclave of Crystal Cove, Coral Crest offers residents an incomparable opportunity to experience coastal living. Inspired by the formal architecture of Italy, Coral Crest (pictured, above) was designed to deliver functional and useful spaces that support an informal, contemporary lifestyle, and are well appointed with high-quality finishes, generously sized and well-proportioned rooms, and gracious service and storage functions. While the environment is stunning, it’s essential to provide protected outdoor spaces that afford shelter from the ocean breezes that arise each afternoon. In response, Plan 1 is arranged around a central courtyard that allows residents a continued sense of connection and interaction with the coastal outdoor setting without compromising physical comfort. Primary living spaces connect to the outdoors via expansive sliding door systems.

Coral Crest Plan 1-Robert Hidey Architects-plan

Coral Crest Plan 1-Robert Hidey Architects-plan key A-M

Coral Crest Plan 1-Robert Hidey Architects-plan key N-P

Luxury Infill

ARCHITECT: Kiley Baham, RA

KGA Studio Architects,, 303.442.5882

PLAN SIZE: Width: 40 feet; Depth: 80 feet; Living area: 3,895 sf

Luxury doesn’t have to mean large. Designed to fit on a typical urban infill lot—approximately 50 feet wide by 100 feet deep—this home targets the affluent buyer looking for high-end design in the city. The floor plan was conceived for a busy professional who needs the flexibility of an integrated workspace at home. A contemporary palette of materials reinforces a high level of design and finish, furthering the appeal to this type of buyer. The home features open living spaces on the first floor with plenty of storage and flexibility. On the upper level, a sumptuous master suite, two secondary bedrooms that share a Jack-and-Jill bath, and a fourth bedroom with an adjacent bath make this home ideal for a growing family or nontraditional buyer.

House Review-KGA Studio Architects-Luxury infill-3D exterior rendering

House Review-KGA Studio Architects-Luxury infill-plan main level and upper level

House Review-KGA Studio Architects-Luxury infill-main level and upper level plan key A-FHouse Review-KGA Studio Architects-Luxury infill-main level and upper level plan key G-I

Silver Lane

ARCHITECT: Richard Handlen, AIA, LEED AP

EDI International,, 415.362.2880

PLAN SIZE: Width: 42 feet; Depth: 68 feet; Living area: 6,000 sf

This home was designed for the last lot in an exclusive gated community. The lot had been passed over for easier pickings because of its steep hillside. Taking setbacks into account, the only patch of flat ground was a triangle that could support a 42-foot-by-65-foot footprint. To avoid major hillside construction or a backyard falling into the house, public floors were raised one story. This pulled the living areas away from the slope so they could open to a large deck that bridges to grade. The master suite on the third level has a similar deck spanning to the hill.

House Review-Luxury homes-EDI International_Silver Lane-front elevation rendering

House Review-Luxury homes-EDI International_Silver Lane-first floor plan

House Review-Luxury homes-EDI International_Silver Lane-second floor plan

House Review-Luxury homes-EDI International_Silver Lane-third floor plan

House Review-Luxury homes-EDI International_Silver Lane-plan key

The Oxley


Scott Gardner, AIA,, 919.320.3022

Donnie McGrath,, 770.375.7351

PLAN SIZE: Width: 52 feet; Depth: 98 feet; Living area: 4,038 sf

In the past, a luxury home would typically be built on a wide lot. Today a 50-foot-wide home can be considered a luxury in many locations. The courtyard driveway of The Oxley plan minimizes the impact of garage doors on the street. The location of the dining room and study off the foyer allows the entire width of the home to be felt upon entry.

House Review-GMD Design Group-The Oxley-3D exterior rendering

House Review-GMD Design Group-The Oxley-main floor and top floor plans

House Review-GMD Design Group-The Oxley-plan key

House Review-GMD Design Group-The Oxley-3D interior photo

Small-Package Luxury

ARCHITECT: Donald F. Evans, AIA

The Evans Group,, 407.650.8770

PLAN SIZE: Width: 50 feet; Depth: 125 feet; Living area: 5,376 sf

Luxury homes can come on small lots: Not everyone wants to take care of a yard (or pay someone to do it). Luxury is defined to some degree by the size of the home, as well as by the design of the home, the finishes of the home, and the quality of construction. Small lots often mean less privacy, but this home was designed with privacy in mind, utilizing high glass, a walled motor court, and orientation towards the outdoor environment at the rear of the lot. The design includes all the luxury hot buttons: grand staircase, open plan, elevator and volume spaces, wine cellar, library, home theater, dual master bedrooms, and luxurious outdoor living.

House Review-The Evans Group-Small-Package Luxury-front elevation-rendering

House Review-The Evans Group-Small-Package Luxury-plan key

House Review-The Evans Group-Small-Package Luxury-plan