By Nigel F. Maynard For people who can't afford high mortgages, Aldea offers a nifty solution. The cluster community of 1,030- to 1,497-square-foot homes allows single parents, single professionals, and young families a smooth transition from apartment living to homeownership without a monumental increase in home-related fees.

The project relies on Spanish vernacular architecture to create a harmonious relationship among the six units in each cluster. Garages form motor courts between each arrangement and don't interact with front doors or pedestrian paseos.

The architect eliminated project walls so that the homes fronting the street address the community in an old-fashioned way. Contributing to the neighborhood charm, walkways feature small parks and recreational facilities that promote resident interaction.

Homes are priced from $259,900 to $321,900--very affordable for the Irvine market.

Category: Cluster community; Entrant/Architect/Land Planner: Robert Hidey Architects, Irvine, Calif.; Builder: California Pacific Homes, Irvine; Developer: The Irvine Community Development Co., Newport Beach, Calif.; Landscape Architect: The Collaborative West, San Clemente, Calif.; Interior Designer: Design Tec, Newport Beach

Photo: Lance Gordon Photography

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