When two teams come together and inspire one another, the mutually creative synergy results in something truly special. Such was the case with Alara, a one-of-a-kind residential neighborhood by Toll Brothers. Part of the master-planned community of Altair, Alara is a collection of cool and modern luxury single-family homes in the heart of Irvine, California. CDC Designs Vice President of Design, Lisa Kells, walks us through the collaborative effort and design approach.

The Narrative

The Toll team, as always, was inclusive from the very beginning. With Alara’s contemporary architectural detailing being a departure from their signature style, this was a collaboration that our team was genuinely excited to bring to life. Our design approach was to let the architecture and impression of each space dictate the narrative. Each home design offers a different style of living and it’s all about finding the right design aesthetic for each one. The expansive footprints presented us an opportunity to really channel our creativity and inspiration. As a designer, you’re always looking for ways of taking a project to the next level. A particular space that would otherwise be a den could be a library, conservatory, or game room, and Toll Brothers encouraged our ideas every step of the way.

Cozy Modern

The beautifully clean lines of modern floorplans have the potential to look cold and even sterile in a residential product, so our primary focus from day one was to create warm and intimate spaces. We wanted guests to envision themselves living in Alara, so it was essential to bring Toll’s signature volume aesthetic down to a human scale, taking spaces that are 25 to 35 feet high and making them comfortable, and cozy. Color, lighting and wall treatments were essential to achieving that balance in each room and resulted in a unique symmetry that juxtaposed the modern with the cozy.

Accessible High Design

With a client like Toll Brothers, whose passion is to offer the highest of quality and innovation to their homebuyers, it was incredibly easy for our team to design within their program. Most of what you see in Alara is available in their design center, and anything our team layered on top of that reinforced the livable modern narrative. Show-stopping elements like floating or cantilevered staircases, and two-story glass walls coupled with the thoughtful use of color and lighting created spaces that are beautifully sophisticated yet accessible to the homebuyer.

Our team here at CDC feels fortunate to work with clients like Toll Brothers, who inspire us to raise our game and are also inspired by us to raise theirs. This collaborative style results not only in a breathtaking product, but in one that sells.


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