The following interview with luxury home builder Mauricio Oberfeld was first published in The Agency Report – Second Quarter 2013. Oberfeld is one of the principals and founding members of Dugally Oberfeld, an internationally renowned general contracting and construction firm specializing in custom, high-end luxury homes in Los Angeles County, Orange County and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Q: Can you briefly explain Dugally Oberfeld’s work/philosophy as a leading Los Angeles-based firm?
A: For us, the most important part of our work is that we do not view it as a job, but as an opportunity to impart our knowledge, talent and affinity for luxury construction. We strive to create buildings that will last over a century and leave an impression long after we are gone.
Q: What types of projects are you currently completing?
A: We currently have a great balance of traditional, transitional and modern projects. They are everywhere from Orange County to the Bay Area. We are fortunate in that we currently have some incredible projects, each featuring very new and unique ideas and amenities.
Q: From the Esquire House and Beverly Park, to Nightingale Drive and Laurel Way, your firm works on a wide range of architectural styles. What are the major contrasts in these styles and where do you see trends in the market now?
A: One of the things we pride ourselves on is the ability to build the best of homes in any style. The contrasts are immense, and while, in the end, they are all homes, the process for building can vary completely from one to another. The trends are definitely moving towards the modern/contemporary. In fact, as I mentioned in a recent LA Confidential article, the lines between modern and traditional are beginning to blur. Even traditional homes are more and more going to cleaner lines and more modern interiors.
Q: As the housing market continues to boom, how has this affected the houses you build? What trends are you seeing now versus pre-recession building?
A: There are 2 major trends today:
1 – Quality construction – As the market seems to be hitting its stride, clients feel more comfortable spending the money to build a higher quality product. There is an overall understanding of longevity and a desire to build homes to last.
2 – Basements – As values rise, land becomes much more valuable. This, coupled with newer restrictions on building sizes/ratios, has necessitated the much more extensive use of basements for additional space. As I mentioned in the article entitled “The Trophy Basement” published recently in The Wall Street Journal, these spaces really shouldn’t be called basements, as much of the time they contain the coolest and most expensive rooms in the house. These can vary from home theaters, gyms and spas, to golf simulators, wine cellars and bowling alleys.
Q: Your firm completes work from LA County, Orange County, all the way to the Bay Area and more. What are the major differences in the Westside LA market versus other markets where you build?
A: This may be one of the most interesting questions I have ever been asked. It’s quite amazing how different it is building in these different areas. For one, the approval process is vastly different building in each of these areas. But, additionally, trends become evident as you go from area to area. Even when we build homes designed by the same architect, but in different areas, they are vastly different. While this may seem unusual or even crazy, it is quite logical since people see their neighbor’s and friend’s houses and pick up ideas. Often times you also have local community standards which force the use or lack of use of certain materials or standards.
Q: You have a free weekend in LA – what do you and where do you go?
A: Free weekend in my line of work and with kids? Please explain what that means! But seriously, what I enjoy most on a “free weekend” is taking my kids to visit a museum or art show, see a fun concert at the Bowl, go to a basketball or hockey game and even a simple visit to the park. And when the sun sets and the kids go to bed, enjoy a fun dinner and drinks at one of the many great restaurants this amazing city has to offer!
View recent Dugally Oberfeld projects here
The Agency has released the Second Quarter 2013 Agency Report, which shows the robust momentum of the luxury market continues in Los Angeles. A record 920 prime single-family home closings took place in the second quarter, according to the report. This represents a return to peak levels reached in 2005, when 927 closings were reported.
Download the full report here.