BELLA VENTANA MEANS “BEAUTIFUL WINDOW,” but while the windows of these golf-side duplexes in the Santa Clarita Valley, north of Los Angeles, are certainly decorative—with iron grillework, arches, and shutters—the name refers to much more.

“Some of the homes have mountain, golf course, and city views,” says Annie Charles, vice president of sales and marketing at the Los Angeles/Ventura office of John Laing Homes, which built the upscale gated community near California's first Tournament Players Club championship course.

The 129 home sites sold out in less than a year. “We had 500 qualified people to buy the first 12 homes,” says Charles. “Usually, they don't all show up to an opening. Every single person came.”

Each of the three floor plans features three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a two-car garage. “It's a small space, so it's always a challenge to make it feel open,” Charles says. “We were careful to make our window placements right.”

Bella Ventana is right in the center of Westridge, a community developed by Newhall Land and Farm Co. (a division of Lennar Corp. as of January 2004). The developers are striving for a rustic, Old World–early California look, says Andy Hetzel, vice president of sales and marketing for Westridge.

With its earthy color palette, arched exterior elements, stone veneers, enclosed balconies, tile roofs, and even turrets, Bella Ventana fits right in. “We took our inspiration from little European towns,” Charles says. “We tried to make each house unique, even though they are attached, with shared driveways.”

From the beginning, Bella Ventana was going to be high-density, she explains. “We wanted to maximize the views. It went through a lot of iterations. We kept looking for something that would really be fun, a design that lives like individual, unattached homes but aren't.”

“European paired homes” were the result, and they attracted young couples and singles, Charles says. The neighborhood abuts Westridge's planned park and recreation center. In addition to the usual high-end amenities, Westridge is adjacent to a 150-acre oak preserve.

The “Beautiful Window” has much to look out on.

David Holzel is a freelance writer based in Montgomery Village, Md.

Market: Los Angeles; Project: Bella Ventana, Valencia, Calif.; Sales started: December 2002; Sales through March 2004: 129; Total units planned: 129; Unit size: 1,700 to 2,000 square feet; Price: $489,990 to $547,990; Developer: Newhall Land and Farm, (a division of Lennar Corp. as of January 2004), Valencia; Builder: John Laing Homes, Ventura, Calif.; Architect: Woodley Architectural Group, Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Landscape architect: LA Group, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Interior designer: Color Design Art, Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.