Alta Laguna 2 , Laguna Beach

As a builder, I have found that every home has a story to tell. Some of the stories are about uncovering the diamond in the rough, others feature a historical perspective with clues to the original owners or the area, and some are more dramatic events which can put a style scene on the map.

One house story in particular was about residence that had been neglected for some time. It sits on a spot that provides a commanding view of the ocean and hills beyond. Sadly, it was one of the ugliest houses in the neighborhood. The light-peach stucco, terra cotta colored roof tile and oddly placed second story addition made it stand out - and not for good reason. I would drive past this house on my morning commute and think about how great it would be to fix the problems and give it the California-modern re-design it definitely needed.

Then fate came knocking.

The new owners who had purchased the house in a foreclosure about 8 months prior were ready to do something about it. Originally they thought maybe paint and landscaping would do it, but soon realized it would take more than that to transform it to something people stopped to look at with envy instead of disdain. As it turned out, the owners reached out to another couple for whom I had just finished a job across the street and seeing how well things turned out I received a call to see what we could do.

Sometimes making big changes involve making big sacrifices. An original ranch style home that had been added to over the years it needed some serious updating. It needed new windows, a few structural fixes, foundation work and was in desperate need of an architectural facelift. After talking with the owners we agreed to gut the house, hire a local architect and turn the tuscan/mediterranean/ranch-style abode into a cool, modern home all while keeping the second story view spot and dramatically changing the front entrance.

Stripped to the studs, new foundation work, new electrical, HVAC, plumbing and interior/exterior finishes were in order. We kept the colors simple with white stucco exterior and white interior walls, opened up a closed space into a gorgeous open kitchen adding lots of new ceiling height and light into the home.

Since the house had a distinct boxy appearance we decided to accentuate this feature by wrapping the garage with 1 x 4 clear cedar siding. The wood brought a warmth to the white stucco exterior and bronze anodized window frames. The front entrance was opened up and decluttered with a glass door that would allow the person entering the home a view straight through to the ocean beyond.

The ugly house on the hill was now a beautiful, sleek, modern home. My clients were thrilled that they took the extra time and thought into turning it around. And I was glad to have the chance to bring good design into the neighborhood.

J. Kramer Corp. has experience with every aspect of custom homes, remodels and multiple family buildings. Our comprehensive service takes projects from start to finish including city inspections, neighborhood meetings, city council meetings, historical reviews and more. Since 1995 J. Kramer Corp. has been building and remodeling modern, classic contemporary and traditional style homes in the South Orange County area.

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