Nestled atop a ridge in the rambling foothills of Bommer Canyon outside the city of Irvine, Calif., the village of Turtle Ridge offers vistas that are eclipsed only by those offered by the rolling hills of Tuscany. Joan Marcus-Colvin, vice president of sales, marketing, and design studio for Laing Luxury, the high-end division of John Laing Homes that's building a 44-home neighborhood within the development, says that the only thing missing is that “you should be seeing vineyards.”

With such similarities with the Old World more than apparent, Marcus-Colvin says the luxury home builder fully embraced a Tuscan theme in its home designs for the community, known as La Cima. Marcus-Colvin says the division's most bravo-worthy model is its Plan 1.

The 4,045-square-foot, single-story plan plays up the villa notion by clustering four bedroom suites around an open-air courtyard at the heart of the home. Adjacent to courtyard through an archway is a covered dining loggia. An outdoor fireplace is also an option that few buyers can't refuse. “I don't think we've built a home without the fireplace,” Marcus-Colvin says.

However, Marcus-Colvin says the plan's convertibility also is a major selling point. Not only can a fifth bedroom suite replace the bonus room, but a second bedroom can become a “super” laundry room with ample workspace, leaving room for a fourth parking spot in the garage. A second level can be added to create an in-law suite, with bedroom, bath, kitchenette, and a separate entrance. “With the diversity of the floor plan … [we're attracting a variety of people]. We have empty nesters, we have younger families, families with extended families,” Marcus-Colvin says.

And Laing Luxury doesn't just rely on a buyer's imagination to know what the home would look like with various options in place. The division uses ifloorplanner, an online application that allows buyers to customize a floor plan from the builder's Web site. For example, if a buyer wants to check out what Plan 1 looks like with a fifth bedroom suite, he would click on the “Add room options” button and choose that option. The adjacent floor plan would change to reflect a new layout based on the option selected. And as an added plus, shoppers can add virtual furniture to the floor plan to make sure it will fit.