Vitae – 2018 Gold Nugget Awards Grand Award: Unique Residential Detached Housing


June 29, 2018

Making the most out of small spaces takes clever design, and the team from KTGY Architecture + Planning took care to maximize what little room it had to work with when creating this Costa Mesa, Calif., community.

The firm packed 20 detached, single-family homes into two adjacent infill sites measuring just half an acre each, without sacrificing design quality. The homes, some of which are only 6 feet apart, tap into Costa Mesa’s small lot ordinance that eases zoning standards for developments of 15 or fewer detached homes in certain areas.

The units at Vitae range in size from 1,620 square feet to 1,700 square feet, span two to three levels, and feature two to three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. An open floor plan in the kitchen and living areas keep the homes feeling bright and airy, and enclosed patios and upper-level decks give homeowners their own slice of outdoor space. The layout also provides a flex room, which the firm says can be used as an entertainment space, an office, a so-called man cave, or a gym.

The homes are arranged with varied massing, with two-story homes placed at the front of the site to be more in line with the existing neighborhood. Clean lines and simple forms define the modern flair of these homes, with warm, contemporary colors, stucco exteriors, traditional lapped siding, and oversized windows that create sophisticated exteriors, enhance natural light, and provide a seamless flow between the indoors and outdoors.

The homes “blend contemporary and traditional architectural elements,” says Alan Scales, principal with KTGY. “Gable end rooflines are emphasized with a framework that brings attention to the geometry of the house.”

The units are equipped with many smart home features, including Ring doorbells, Nest thermostats, USB outlets, and garage doors that can be controlled via smartphone. Energy efficiency was also top of mind in the eco-conscious California market—each home is pre-wired for electric car charging and solar panels. The homes start in the $800,000’s.