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A Review of the Birch Trail Tract at Pavilion Park

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:00 AM PST

Today I am reviewing Birch Trail, the smallest of the ten Pavilion Park’s developments and the only neighborhood built by Richmond American Homes.  Eighty-eight homes will feature an Americana-themed architecture and all come with a two-car garage, six solar panels, granite countertops, recessed lighting and front yard landscape package with irrigation.  In Residence 1 (Neil) and 2 (Nelson), all bedrooms are located on the second floor, with the option for a bedroom on the first floor in Residence 2 (Nelson).  Residence 3 has a bedroom on the ground floor with the option for an additional bedroom.

Residence 1 (Neil) Residence 2 (Nelson) Residence 3 (Newton)
Approx 1,878 Sq Ft Approx 2,011 Sq Ft Approx 2,388 Sq Ft
3 Bed 3 Bed + *Study 4 Bed + *Study
2.5 Baths 3 Baths 3 Baths
Base Price $719,990 Base Price $739,990 Base Price 789,990
  *Optional 4th Bedroom *Optional 5th Bedroom

Approximate HOA Dues: $138 - $193 per month
Approximate Tax rate: 1.1%
Approximate Mello Roos:  $4,400 – $5,400 (based upon the square footage of the home) and subject to an increase by 2% per year. 


Residence 1 (Neil) Floor Plan
Residence 2 (Nelson) Floor Plan
Residence 3 (Newton) Floor Plan

 Community Amenities include a playground, swimming pools, sport courts, spa, great lawn, pavilion and greenhouse & garden.

 All Pavilion Park homes are currently slated to attend Irvine public schools:
-       Canyon View Elementary School
-       Jeffrey Trail Middle School
-       Northwood High School

These schools are subject to change.  A new K-8 school is slated to open in the Great Park Neighborhoods in 2016 and there are also plans for a new high school in the area.

Standard amenities list

Pricing as of 10/12/2013

The only way to be aware of any upgrades is to check against the handout listing the standard features, which made it challenging to walk through the models and recognize upgraded features.  It was a nice surprise to see that the standard bathroom amenities included tiled shower areas (instead of the pre-fabricated fiberglass) and that bedrooms and the family room were prewired for fans.  But my all-time favorite standard is the six solar panels.

This particular builder, Richmond American Homes, offers a Sellers Edge Program that can benefit the Buyer if particular requirements are met in the case he/she decides to sell their current home and simultaneously buy a Birch Trail home with a referred 1-2-3 HomeKeys agent.  Some of the benefits include, but are not limited to a Commission Rebate of 2%, home staging, a check for $2,500.

Residence One (Neil)
Approx. 1,878 square feet
3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms
Base Price from $719,990
Style Options: Elevation A – C

Neil consists of three bedrooms upstairs, a shared bathroom, and a master bathroom with an optional enlarged shower or walk-in shower. Among other standards, the home includes six solar panels. The model home incorporates many of the upgrades, including tiled living room floor, additional cabinetry in the kitchen and linen closet area, as well as dual sinks in the upstairs bathroom.  In my opinion, the overall first floor layout has flaws that deem this to be my least favorite model. 

The entrance is located under a small covered porch, which leaves room for one chair.  I entered into a small square area which opens immediately into the great room. Looking towards the back of the house, I immediately noticed the dishwasher placed in the middle of the back wall. The room brings in plenty of natural light with 6 windows and a sliding glass door.  The coat closet is in the hallway located between the living room and kitchen.  The hallway consists of a linen closet, garage entrance and half bathroom before leading to the stair case. 

The dining area is limited in space due to it being surrounded by the kitchen island, the extended countertop/cabinets running across the entire back wall and the sliding door leading to the small backyard.  However, the extended countertop and cabinetry provides ample storage space.

The kitchen consists of a small island with room for a couple of bar stools.  Along the back wall sits the refrigerator, oven, and a counter top that runs the rest of the length of the wall, with the sink and dishwasher in the center.  The wall adjacent to the refrigerator consists of a hallway opening that leads into a hall with a handy built in desk, walk-in pantry, a laundry room with a sink and a small storage area beneath the stair case.  The built-in desk is a great place to have a computer or place bills/mail on.  Next to the hallway opening is the stovetop. 

There are a few things that bother me with this layout.  The distance between the sink and the stovetop is too far, especially with the island hindering smooth transition between the two areas.  I cannot imagine prepping food and having to walk so far to the stovetop, and worse, having to carry a heavy pot of boiled pasta/veggies and walking so far to strain it in the sink.  In addition, with the sink and dishwasher centered against the back wall, anyone entering the house can plainly see if there is a pile of dirty dishes left on the countertop.  Another big downfall is the inconvenience of the laundry room’s location.  Someone would have to walk down the stairs, through the kitchen, through the pantry area and back to the laundry area.

The backyard is small in size and located off the dining room’s sliding glass door. 

The downstairs bathroom has a pedestal sink and toilet. 

Upstairs, the secondary bedrooms are placed each side of the hallway.  They are both on the smaller side and similar in size.  Each bedroom has a two-door sliding closet.  On the left, between the secondary bedroom and master bedroom is a shared bathroom.  The model includes the optional double sink, but does not have the optional door separating the sinks from the toilet and tub/shower combo.

The master bedroom has two smaller windows to the left and a larger window on the adjacent wall.  The bedroom is a decent size.  The master bathroom has dual sinks with no counter space on the outside of both sinks and limited space between the sinks.  There is a large walk-in closet and separate toilet.  The model includes a walk-in shower with dual shower heads.  A different option includes a tub and enlarged shower.   There is an optional bathroom door that can be added, and would block out any of the light in the mornings if one person was utilizing the bathroom while another was sleeping.

Residence 1 (Neil) is the smallest of the Birch Trail residences. As mentioned above, my biggest complaint is the kitchen layout, which I find inconvenient.  Another downfall is the small backyard.  I wish the laundry room was better located as well.  This was my least favorite layout. 

Residence Two (Nelson)
Approximately 2,011 Sq Ft
3 Bedrooms, Study (with optional 4th Bedroom)
3 Bathrooms
Base Price from $739,990
Style Options: Elevation A - C

Residence Two model is Elevation A.  The home is designed to be a corner lot, with the garage on one side of the house and the entrance on the adjacent side.  There are 3 bedrooms upstairs, with an option to convert the first level study into a 4th bedroom.

A covered porch, with space for a couple of chairs and small table, leads up to the entrance.  Upon entering, the staircase and study are located to the right.  A short hallway is straight ahead consisting of a bathroom, coat closet and garage entrance. The left hand opening leads into the great room. 

The study in the model home includes the optional built-in bookcase.  It is a smaller room which includes a closet and an option to install double doors.  Another option is to convert the room into a fourth bedroom.  The single bedroom door entrance would also be located in the short hallway, across from the bathroom.

The bathroom has a single sink and tub/shower combo.

The great room has 2 sliding glass doors and 3 windows spread throughout the kitchen, dining room and living room which bring in an abundance of light.  The dining area sits between the kitchen and living room.  A covered patio is accessed from the living room.  It is small patio with space for a couple of chairs and table.  The backyard is small. 

The kitchen has plenty of cupboards and storage space.  Unlike the first residence, the layout is functional but the island does not have space for seating.  It does however provide additional storage in the kitchen/dining area.


Upstairs you will find the laundry room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The staircase leads you up to the first secondary bedroom.  It’s a decent sized room with a small walk-in closet.

Adjacent to the bedroom is a small laundry room which includes the optional cabinets.  There is no sink or counter space so it seems that the cabinets would be a necessity for a homeowner, depending on the type of washer/dryer they owned.

Across from the laundry room is the shared bathroom and next to it, in the back corner, is another secondary bedroom.  The bathroom model includes the optional dual sinks which still leaves a good amount of counter space.  There is a separate toilet and tub/shower combo. 

The back secondary bedroom is slightly smaller than the other.  It also has a small walk-in closet.

The master bedroom entrance is located in a separate short hallway between the laundry room and back bedroom, which creates a sense of privacy.  A very large linen closet is located in the hallway in front of the master bedroom door.  Natural light fills the room with two windows along each of the two adjacent walls.  There are also 4 windows in the master bathroom which bring in extra light. The master bedroom is a decent size.  Entering the master bathroom, a large walk in closet is immediately to the right, next to a large shower and a separate small room with another linen closet and the toilet.  I was surprised to see the shower floor was not tile, but a type of fiberglass.  Along the left side are dual sinks separated by a large tub.  Each sink has plenty of counter space.  There is an optional bathroom door that can be added, and would block out any of the light in the mornings if one person was utilizing the bathroom while another was sleeping.

The layout of Residence 2 is much better than Residence 1.  The option to have a downstairs bedroom may appeal to many buyers. Whether the room is used as a study or bedroom, it could serve as multiple purposes.  However, the rooms in this model felt small, along with the backyard. Although the master bathroom was large with additional linen storage, it would not be my preference to have the tub between the two split sinks.   It also felt like some of the features I would expect to be standard, are options: optional double sinks, cabinets in the laundry room.

Residence Three (Newton)
Approximately 2,350 Sq Ft
Main Home: 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms + Study (with optional 5th Bedroom)
Base Price from $789,900
Style Options:  Elevations A - C

Residence Three is the largest and the only model that comes with a standard bedroom on the first floor and a balcony on the second floor. There is also a first floor study which is the optional fifth bedroom and comes with the option of having a door directly accessing the backyard covered patio.  Upstairs consists of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and the laundry room. 

The entrance is located under a small covered porch that is not as open as Residence 2’s.  With it being darker and set back it would not be used as a sitting porch. Entering the home you come into a foyer with space to have a table or chairs against the wall.  The staircase and entrance into the great room are found straight ahead.  To the right is the entrance to a small hallway that consists of a coat closet, study, bathroom and bedroom. 

The study is a nice size room with a large window facing the backyard on the back wall and one on the adjacent wall that faces the covered patio.  The room has the option of substituting the window into a door for direct accesses to the covered patio. The option for the door is available even if the space was selected as a fifth bedroom.  As a fifth bedroom, a two-door sliding closet would be placed immediately to the left and would be smaller than the other secondary bedroom on the first floor.

A bathroom with optional dual sinks and an option to have a separate toilet and tub/shower combo sits between the study and other bedroom.  The model includes both options.  Even with dual sinks, there is plenty of counter space.

The bedroom faces the front of the house and has 3 windows that bring in a lot of light.  As previously mentioned, it is bigger than the study and with it being separate from the living space, it would appeal to buyers that have guests, older family members or just want a bedroom on the first floor. 

The great room has a kitchen with a window over the sink, the door to access the garage and this particular model depicts the option of a working desk and cabinets installed between the great room entrance and the pantry.  The small dining area has a sliding glass door to the small narrow side of the backyard.  I am not quite sure what the purpose of the dining room sliding door is since there is no space to play or entertain on the side of the house. The living room has 3 windows and a glass door out to covered patio.  There is plenty of natural light that floods the room. 

The optional desk and cabinets make a great place to have mail or files you want to easily access.  It is also a great place to have oversight of children on the computer or doing homework.  However, if you are comfortable using the study for your everyday files/mail/computer, the room may look larger without the option.  However, even without it, the dining area remains small and restricted since it primarily is located between the kitchen island, pantry and great room entrance. 

When entering the great room, immediately to the left is the optional desk and the kitchen’s large double door pantry, refrigerator and garage door.  On the adjacent wall is the oven and stovetop with plenty of counter space.  To the right is the sink and dishwasher.  The kitchen island is small and in my opinion it hinders the flow from the sink/prep area to the refrigerator. The kitchen has plenty of cupboards and storage.

Like the other models, the backyard is small.  The covered patio is a nice feature that can sit a couple of chairs and small table.

Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, as well as a laundry room.  This is the only model with a balcony which faces the front of the house.

Immediately to left is a secondary bedroom.  Although the floor plan depicts two windows, the model has 3 windows.  The secondary bedrooms and bathroom appear to be the exact same sizes as the first floor.  Again, the bathroom has optional dual sinks but it depicts a bathroom without the optional separated toilet and tub/shower comb.  Adjacent to it is the other secondary bedroom that is the same size as the bedroom downstairs.  It is bedroom which is slightly larger. 

Walking out of the secondary bedroom, a small window on the left overlooks the balcony.  Around the corner from the window sits the single door to the balcony.  The balcony can fit a couple of chairs and small table.

Adjacent to the balcony is the laundry room.  The model home has the optional cabinets above the washer/dryer as well as the optional cabinets installed under the countertop on the side of the machines.  A sink is not available in the list of options. 

The master bedroom is located off of a short hallway with optional linen cabinets installed.  It is nice that the bedroom is on the opposite corner of the secondary bedrooms, providing more privacy.  The room brings in a lot of light with two smaller windows on the back wall and three larger windows on the wall to the right, which overlook the backyard.  The room is a nice size.  An optional bathroom door is offered to block out any of the light in the mornings if one person was utilizing the bathroom while another was sleeping.

The bathroom has a big tub immediately to the right and a shower with two sliding glass doors immediately to the left.  Across from the tub and shower are split sinks with plenty of counter space.  Beyond the sinks are a separate toilet and an L-shaped large walk-in closet.

This model, with a downstairs bedroom and the option of having either a study or a fifth bedroom will appeal to many buyers.  The dining areas in all three residences feel restricted and I wish there was a larger area for a bigger dining table.  The biggest complaint I have is the location of the refrigerator with regards to the sink and kitchen island.  However, I like the privacy and location of the master bedroom.  The master bathroom layout is also my favorite.  Which model is your favorite?

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