latimes.com — This two-story contemporary with a minimalist design stands out from the older single-family homes along Irvine Avenue on the eastern edge of Costa Mesa.
Instead of one massive piece of poured-in concrete in the driveway, stripes of sod break up 4-by-5-foot pads of black concrete leading to the teak front gate and aluminum-framed, frosted-glass garage door.
The black concrete pattern continues inside the gate, passing underneath the master suite’s balcony and leading to a simple, thin-framed, glass front door.
The light gray, smooth stucco structure is set back from the street and features a large front lawn. Along with a giant weeping willow — saved after the original 1963 home that occupied the property was torn down — bamboo creates privacy along the southwest side where its tall stems can be seen through a cutout in a 20-foot-high wall.
“I wanted something to come out from the side so the home wouldn’t be L-shaped,” says architect Thomas Drummond. “A solid wall would have been really obtrusive so I cut a big hole in it — it’s purely aesthetic.”
Inside, the kitchen, dining area and great room all flow together. Clues to Drummond’s minimalist design are easy to spot: no moldings, decorations or window treatments, and the door jambs are recessed. Like the 8-foot-tall sliding glass doors, the windows are aluminum framed with green tinted, energy-saving glass.
Koa wood covers the floor and contrasts with the mahogany cabinets and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, which has a 10-foot-long island topped with honed black granite. The island provides a preparation area with a sink and bar space for five.
A stairway with an aluminum railing is accented with aircraft cable along both sides. It divides the formal dining area from the entryway and great room — a space with 20-foot ceilings illuminated by clerestory windows in two walls.
“Originally we wanted to design a single-story home, but then decided on a two-story because we wanted more square footage,” says owner Svend Schmidt. “We also wanted to bring in more light, make it more dramatic.”
The second floor comprises a family room, the master suite and a spa-sized master bath, which features a walk-in shower, jetted tub and enclosed water closet area.