Covenant Hills: Insights Into Design Review

Posted by Covenant Hills on Friday, October 29th, 2010 at 9:39am

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Once you drive through the gate at Covenant Hills the beauty of the natural setting and the stunning customs homes makes it abundantly clear that this exclusive community offers real estate opportunities unlike any other.  And for many homeowners, building their own custom dream home is the ideal. 

At Covenant Hills the Custom Sales Gallery introduces prospective homeowners to the array of design options available to them in developing the exquisite home they envision.  Throughout the process of designing and building uniquely personalized homes, the gallery staff provides assistance in developing a plan for coordinating a dream team of architects, builders, landscape architects, engineers and interior designers.  While the gallery’s goal is to provide homeowners support and in these initial stages, the Covenant Hills Design Review Center is another accessible resource, assisting throughout the creation of each custom home in helping homeowners to develop their custom home with the highest level of aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Yet, for those new to the process of building a custom home, a Design Review Process can sometimes seem overwhelming.  In Covenant Hills the Design Review Center team alleviates these anxieties, providing an approachable framework and support system for homeowners.     

Kris Maher, Design Review Manager for Covenant Hills Design Review Center, is an expert on optimizing the process of building a custom home in Covenant Hills with the highest levels of design standards and architectural appeal.  With her inside perspective as both an Architect and Covenant Hills resident, she shares some valuable insights and tips for homeowners approaching the Design Review Process.

What are the primary functions and goals of the Design Review Board? 

The Covenant Hills Design Review was formed to support two goals.  Our primary function is to maintain the integrity of the design standards of Covenant Hills, which creates an intrinsic value that everyone in the community enjoys and benefits from. Our other goal is to help homeowners go through the Design Review Process as efficiently and quickly as possible.

What part to you most enjoy about working with homeowners?

The best part of my job is assisting homeowners design their dream home, especially families who have never built a custom home before.

What are the most important things to know about the Design Review Process?

We can help homeowners very early in the process, as early as while they are making the purchasing decision. For example, we can provide useful information to help them in selecting between several different site types which they may considering.  We can provide specific information about the architectural style possibilities of individual sites which can assist them in selecting the site that best fits their criteria and expectations.  We work very closely with Mary Kontra in the Covenant Hills Custom Sales Gallery who is extremely knowledgeable about the process and is well versed in the architectural style options.  The gallery’s Design Studio has visual style references of the various design genres including several architectural models available for viewing.

What are the most frequently asked questions that homeowners ask?

The number one question we are asked is how long does the Design Review Process take?  The answer is both simple and complex in that the process is usually completed within 6-12 months, depending on who the homeowners have hired as their design professionals.  The wide variance in the timeline can be attributed to architect’s, the landscape architect’s, and the general contractor’s knowledge of the process and familiarity with the specifics of Covenant Hills.

What are the best insider tips you can give to homeowners beginning the process?

Again, communicating with the Design Review Center early in the process is key.  Covenant Hills homeowners understand that they have purchased a homesite with design guidelines.  It’s one of the distinctive elements that makes Covenant Hills such a beautiful place to live.  Our services ensure that each home expresses the individuality of it’s owners, while harmonizing within the panoramic setting and complementing others in the neighborhood.  

Within this framework, we can assist in finding the best match of style for their home to the site type.  Certain sites are better suited to some architectural styles more than others.  For example, a lot which is best suited to a single story residence would not be an ideal location for a Tuscan home in which the tall tower elements are integral features to that particular architectural genre.  For reasons like these, we encourage people to contact the design review center prior to closing escrow.

What are the phases and stages in the Design Review?

Step one is to contact the Design Review office as early as possible and become familiar with the overall process.  We have materials that detail each stage and we are happy to familiarize homeowners with the overall process starting with the Conceptual Design Workshops, through Design Development and Construction Document Reviews to the Final Design Review.  Then the next steps are hiring your architect and landscape architect.

What team of professionals should homeowners enlist for the process?

Architect and landscape architects are hired first then the general contractor, followed by the interior designer.

What key questions should they ask their architect?

Beyond asking if you have designed a home in Covenant Hills, ask if they’ve designed custom homes in communities with design guidelines.  If the homeowners have a preferred architectural style in mind, they should ask to see examples of homes of that specific type.  Ask for references, not only from recent clients, but also from the professionals that the architect collaborates with such as landscape architects and designers, contractors and interior designers that they’ve worked with on similar projects.

What are the most common surprises homeowners discover?

I cannot stress enough the importance of contacting the Design Review Center and working with us closely for both new custom home site offerings as well as resale lots.
We can walk through the various opportunities or constraints that may exist with site types so there are no surprises later.

What are the most common missteps to avoid and what advance preparations and planning will steer homeowners clear of them?

The best results I’ve seen is when the homeowners stay involved in the process all the way through.  Don’t simply assume that things are happening and leave the consultants to handle it all.  Things can get held up when plans are not submitted in a timely fashion to be reviewed.  Financially this is also in the homeowner’s best interest in working toward the ultimate goal of moving into their very own dream home as early as possible.

Custom Homesites at Covenant Hills

Recognized as one of the most unique and exclusive family-oriented communities in southern Orange County, homeowners are drawn to Covenant Hills for its open space and natural beauty. The extraordinary environment for relaxed family living which Covenant Hill’s offers, is exemplified in it’s numerous parks, private recreation facilities, and hiking trails.  Surrounded by more than 1,600 acres of pristine, protected ridgelines, many are surprised by how easily accessible Covenant Hill’s Ladera Ranch location is to Orange County and San Diego.  This combination of unparalleled lifestyle in such a panoramic setting is a true distinction of living in Covenant Hills at Ladera Ranch. 

For more information regarding the custom homesites and custom homes at Covenant Hills, call the Custom Sales Gallery at 888.220.2303 or visit www.covenanthills.com. Covenant Hills’ custom homesites are available in limited release, priced from the $700,000's to over $1 million.  A select few completed custom residences, built by some of Southern California’s prestige homebuilders, are currently available at Covenant Hills with listings ranging from the $2 millions to high $4 millions.   To reach the exclusive, gated village of Covenant Hills, exit Ortega Highway from the I-5 Freeway in South Orange County, and proceed east 2.5 miles to Antonio Parkway. Turn left onto Antonio. Turn left onto Covenant Hills Drive and proceed to the East Gatehouse.  Signage will direct you to the Custom Sales Gallery which is located at 63 Bell Pasture Road, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694.


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