Monarch Bay Custom Home
The major challenge with building this home was between the ceiling and the roof. There wasn't any space! However, that did not impeded Chris O'Grady from building a spectacular home.
This article is about a home Chris built as a Co-founder and Director of Construction with Grady O' Grady. This particular home is in Monarch Bay in Dana Point, CA and was built in 2012. The project is a major remodel with the finished square footage close to 4,000.
The design goals of this home were for a very open home that was somewhat modern and tastefully connected to the ocean nearby.
Subtle Curb Appeal
The exterior of this home is clean and understated. The front door is flanked by a three-car garage and the exterior of the master bedroom. The balance and symmetry draw guests into the front door. "We took the time during the design phase to create renderings of the exterior and insure the best placement on the lot," said Chris O'Grady. "I strongly encourage all my clients to create a rendering of their home before construction. This extra step helps everyone have the same vision for the project and insures success."
Entry with a Water Feature
The home owners wanted to connect their home to the ocean only yards away, but it needed to be tastefully weaved into the home, and not overwhelm the home. Stepping in the front door, guests can see the 3D wave stone that is lit from above with a LED grazing, which sets the tone. A water feature framed with stainless steel and lit from below creates the sounds and experience of the water. Look up and the ceiling, visitors can see a soffit designed as a wave breaking.
A Great Room with a View
Passed the water feature, there is the Great Room with a spectacular view of Dana Point and the Pacific Ocean. The sliding doors stack towards the fireplace side of the living room, bringing the outdoors inside, which is perfect for entertaining or just enjoying the artistry of the California sunsets.
From the Great Room, the subtlety continues with the ocean-blue glass counter top for the kitchen island. There are small design highlights like curves, the kitchen island, and light fixtures that soften the modern design of the space. This color scheme sets off the orange light from the amazing sunsets every day.
Even though this kitchen design looks simple, the construction and planning were not. This is a wide open room, forcing the plumbing and electrical into the concrete slab. Knowing exactly where the curved island was going to land was imperative. "Our sub-contractors did a phenomenal job delivering on their scope of work and coordinating with each other," said Chris. "It is like magic when a great team comes together."
In addition to the beautiful indoor-outdoor space, the wine cellar is front and center for entertaining guests, sharing great wines and showcasing an exceptional wine collection. The glass walls on two sides and the glass entry help to keep the floorplan open and flowing. However, there were some climate control challenges with the wine cellar located where it is, but since this home is one level, the glass and HVAC systems had to be designed and built to create the ideal environment to deliver a beautiful and functional room.
The Family Room rounds out the space with wide fireplace. The home owner does like to watch movies and sporting events, therefore he requires the TV to be in the right location and the sound system must be discrete while still delivering a great experience. The design and proportions of the feature wall with the TV and fireplace were carefully detailed to look stunning while still performing flawlessly.
The Great Outdoors
This home has fantastic outdoor areas to maximize its Dana Point, CA location. "We squeezed a tremendous amount of outdoor functionality into this lot," said Chris. "I know all the code constraints, lot set-back requirements, and this home owners association's CC&Rs. This lot utilized every square inch of outdoor space."
Standing in the Family Room and looking either north or south, guests will see pools and patios.
On the south side is a covered Patio and Firepit with a grill. The deck is a large terrazzo tile laid perpendicular to the house, creating a feeling of a larger space. The lighting for evenings brings the patio to life. Enjoying wine by the Firepit on a summer evening is a great ending to the day.
The north side of the home has a lap pool and spa. The lap pool is above ground while the spa is slightly recessed, giving dimension to this outdoor area. In addition, there is a spa bar for easy access to refreshments.
This is a four bedroom home that includes: a Master Bedroom, a Junior Master, a Study/Bedroom, and a Guest Bedroom. Each space has its own on-suite and all but the Guest Bedroom have ocean views.
The Junior Master is available for guests. The view and private patio connected to this bedroom have an amazing view of Dana Point that can be enjoyed from the soaking tub. The bath in the Junior Master is its own statement of design and a relaxing retreat for any guest.
The Master Bedroom is very special. The roof is like a very large skylight that completely opens above the bed. Just imagine opening the ceiling and the pocketing doors and sleeping to the soothing sounds of the ocean all night. This is a significant feature of the home. "Anytime we open the roof we have to handle structural, waterproofing, and code issues," said Chris. "A normal skylight is pretty straight forward and we do them all the time. But making the entire roof open with motorization right over a bed require the right engineering, custom fabrication, and meticulous installation. I must say, this detail came out fantastic."
The Master Bath is its own luxurious retreat with the soaking tub with a water feature and a fire place. This is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day.
The Construction Challenges
The major construction challenge for this project was that there isn't any room between the ceiling and the roof for mechanical equipment. So, the little space that did exist, had to be carefully designed to meet the space and performance expectations. Chris brought in his engineering team for the HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, and Structural to solve these issues.
The solution was to remove the concrete slab from most of the house and put as much as possible into a new slab. This forced detailed planning, code considerations, earthquake engineering, and anticipating future needs. Most of the plumbing, electrical, and low voltage is in the new slab. Chris’ team also included spare conduit to solve future needs.
The tiny space in the ceiling was reserved for insulation, recessed lighting fixtures and very well-engineered HVAC. The home owners did not want to give up any head room. Every inch on every item was scrutinized. The result is the ceilings are high and clean, while all the mechanical issues were addressed.
A "normal" challenge for a home in this neighborhood is the HOA. Monarch Bay has very tight constraints for the homes AND how the construction process is handled. Every home is a multi-million dollar home that is owned by ultra-high net worth individuals. This is not a neighborhood for a typical contractor. Chris O'Grady had built many homes in Monarch Bay as the Director of Construction and Co-Founder of Grady O' Grady Homes. He is practically on a first name basis with the HOA board and he knows the CC&R's intimately. "This project was tight, but the HOA and the neighbors were great to work with," said Chris.
The Grady O Grady Legacy Continues
Grady O Grady has a 25 year history of building fine custom homes on the Orange County, CA area. Chris was a Co-Founder and Director of Construction of Grady O Grady. His primary role was building the projects to create great homes for their clients. Mr. O’Grady has built homes in many of the coastal communities like Dana Point, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach.
In 2016 Chris O'Grady formed O'Grady homes to continue independently from Grady-O-Grady, with the goal of being even more involved with each project and homeowner. "Our focus is building a great experience for our clients." said Chris. "Sure, we build great homes, but the experience of building home has to be great as well. I care deeply about having a great experience and building a great home."