Selecting a Home Style: A Builder’s Perspective


For most, the fun part when building a home is the design phase. When selecting an architectural style in Southern California, personal preferences, budgetary considerations, history, site logistics, regional zones and coastal regulations all come into play.

Renowned for its Bungalow, Spanish, Mission, Craftsman, Mid-Century and Ranch style homes, San Diego has a rich historic reference of architectural styles to choose from, which is a great source for those searching for their preferred style.

Whether you are building your home from the ground up or remodeling an existing structure, as GDC Construction field supervisor Anthony Ferrier says, “We advise homeowners to consider the long-term value and life expectancy of the home when selecting floor plans materials, finishes and upgrades.”

According to Ross Clark, a premier real estate agent at Willis Allen in La Jolla, no matter what architectural style you choose, “value engineering is imperative when building or remodeling a home.” Clark, who is building a home with GDC Construction asked to incorporate a modern layout while maintaining the Spanish style. Designed by Brandy Dewhurst, the home offers an open floor plan with high ceilings and modern day smart and eco-friendly technologies, which integrate easily with the traditional stucco walls, archways, decorative tile and wrought iron details attributed to the Spanish Colonial architectural style.

As a builder in La Jolla, we also do a lot of remodels, and encounter many ranch style homes built in the 1970s and 1980s. These single-story homes with attached garages are long and low. Often complimented by a courtyard, broad lawn or swimming pool, they stretch across the property and make good use of large windows, to take advantage of views and natural light. When remodeling these homes, we often upgrade the interior with new technologies, materials, and appliances, and add additional square footage by adding a second story or addition, to maximize the value of the property.

Today, a renewed interest in the modern architectural style made popular in the 1960s has impacted the architectural landscape in La Jolla. In the past 5 years, we have been asked to replace bungalows and out dated homes with this mid-century-influenced architecture. Clean lines, open spaces, and simple forms are attributed to this style, which is also well-suited to green and smart technological applications.

This stylistic transition is accompanied by a new generation of home owner moving away from the sprawling suburban lifestyle. This new wave of buyers wants ease of maintenance, access to shops and restaurants, and a more seamless flow from work life to home life. To accommodate this need, an increase in the number of townhouses, appointed with modern, clean lines, has grown in the village of La Jolla. Far smaller and narrower than the suburban homes offered along the coast and hillsides of La Jolla, their multiple floors utilize the vertical space and are a great solution to maximize square footage and value to the smaller lots scattered throughout the village.

From a builder’s perspective, when deciding on the style of home you wish to pursue, the practical side of planning is important to consider. Do you have the budget to match your vision? Are you prepared for contingencies? Are there restrictions in your neighborhood such as height limitations, which may prohibit multiple stories or other design elements? These and other limitations will affect the implementation of your vision, which is why we recommend assembling your design-build team early in your plans to help you outline the feasibility of your project and value engineer your concepts.

For more information on San Diego styles or to plan your next build, visit us at www.gdcconstruction, or come see us at GDC Construction, 1031 Silverado Street, La Jolla, CA 92037 858-551-5222.