AT FIRST GLANCE, THE earth-toned homes of Lindy Crossing at Tustin Field read as an eclectic neighborhood of single-family dwellings with the charm of a small town. A closer look reveals that these architectural gems are actually paired homes, joined at the hip via single-story connectors. In one set, a hardy farmhouse sidles up to a folksy Victorian. Another duo marries ranch- and Monterey-style façades. In many plans, party walls are found in the garages and kitchens (with cabinets backing up to cabinets), allowing other rooms to maximize natural light with lots of windows.

John Laing Homes hit a home run with this deft combination of individuality and connectedness, proving that density can be dazzling in a suburban setting. At 10 units per acre, the twin homes, designed by JZMK Partners, feature four-sided architecture made texturally rich with juxtapositions of wood siding, stucco, and standing-seam metal roofs.

“Rather than massing each pair as monolithic in style and articulation, each home reads as distinct from its neighbor in character and materiality [and] at the same time is complementary,” says Jeff Addison, senior designer at JZMK.

The pairs at Lindy Crossing also play a scenic role in the grand scheme of Tustin Field, a 32-acre, transit-oriented development in Orange County featuring neighborhoods named for historical aeronautical figures, including Amelia and Wright's Landing. As one of four housing types in Phase I, the pairs add diversity to a mix that also includes detached homes, cluster towns, and row towns. With their sociable patios and porches, short setbacks, and varied rooflines, they engender a lively streetscape that's discernible from multiple vantage points in the community. Alley-loaded garages allow front elevations to function as extended outdoor living spaces, creating a connection between house and street.

“Our team planned early on for tree-lined parkways and opportunities for usable porches and patios 2 feet above the sidewalk grade,” Addison says. “We thought about the layering of spaces from public realm to private realm, and how to address those issues with different building typologies.”

With the addition of 189 single-family detached homes in Phase II, Tustin Field will eventually comprise seven neighborhoods spanning 69 acres. The project is part of Orange County's largest adaptive reuse initiative on record—the revitalization of 1,600 acres formerly occupied by the Tustin Marine Corps Air Station, now known as Tustin Legacy.

Project: Lindy Crossing at Tustin Field, Tustin, Calif.; Size: 1,610 to 2,145 square feet; Total units: 52; Price: $600,000 to $649,990; Developer: Tustin Legacy Community Partners (a partnership of Centex Homes, Irvine, Calif.; Shea Homes, Brea, Calif.; and Shea Properties, Aliso Viejo, Calif.); Builder: John Laing Homes, Newport Beach, Calif.; Architect: JZMK Partners, Newport Beach; Landscape architect: Forsum, Summers & Murphy, Dana Point, Calif.; Interior designer: Creative Design Consultants, Costa Mesa, Calif.

TRUE COLORS: John Laing Homes tapped color expert Miriam Tate, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., to specify an exterior palette (left and far left) that is contemporary but not garish. A blend of saturated earth tones and crisp, cool hues complements the California landscape.

WARM WELCOME: The shallow setback on this contemporary farmhouse (left) connects the house to the street, but a 2-foot elevated porch maintains a sense of personal space. Roughly half of home buyers in Lindy Crossing settled for a reduction in yard size compared with their previous homes, but exemption from yard work was viewed as a plus.

ROOM WITH A VIEW: A coffered ceiling adds dimension to a master bedroom infused with natural light (left). Corner walls facing away from the home's attached twin are heavy on windows.

ATTACHMENT ISSUES: Plans 2 and 4 (above) are joined at the kitchens and garages—the rationale being that cabinet-laden party walls could be shared without sacrificing windows or noise control.

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