GIVEN ZIANI'S DESIRABLE NEWPORT Coast, Calif., location, it's tempting to figure that all 168 attached units sold in just 13 months because of where they are rather than what they had to offer. But their appeal went beyond location.

Thanks to sensitive design work from JBZ Architecture + Planning, the attached two- and three-story townhouses, carriage homes, and flats conjure up images of a Tuscan hillside village. Stone, stucco, and tiles meld with a variety of roof forms—gables, hips, and sheds—to suggest the kind of undulation typical in Tuscany. Clusters of two seven-plex buildings were grouped to form a motor court, with entry doors at the perimeter and garages pushed to the back. Seven different floor plans offered buyers plenty of choice, including three master-down plans. And every one of the units, priced from $553,705 to $1,125,000, has some sort of outdoor feature—covered balcony, courtyard, deck, or porch—to expand the living space.

Given its location and high design quotient, Brookfield Homes Southland, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., knew it had a winner. But it was the types of buyers that came as a surprise. “It was young singles and old singles, young couples and older couples, divorced with a child—all nontraditional families,” says Carina Hathaway, vice president of sales and marketing for Brookfield. “I think there just hasn't been enough housing supplied for people who are affluent but don't want the yard or the bunches of bedrooms.”

The resort-like amenities had to have been a draw, too. The gated community features an adult-friendly lap pool with cabanas, a putting green, an outdoor stone fireplace, and a hammock grove.

“Our buyers weren't looking for a house and settled for a condo,” says Hathaway. “This is what they wanted.”

PROJECT: Ziani, Newport Coast, Calif.; SIZE: 20.3 acres; TOTAL UNITS: 168; SALES STARTED: May 2003; SALES THROUGH JUNE 2004: 168; PRICE: $553,705 to $1,125,000; UNIT SIZE: 1,622 to 2,587 square feet; BUILDER: Brookfield Homes Southland, Costa Mesa, Calif.; DEVELOPER: The Irvine Co., Irvine, Calif.; ARCHITECT: JBZ Architects + Planning, Newport Beach, Calif.; LAND PLANNER: TRG Land Resource, Newport Beach; LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: The Collaborative West, San Clemente, Calif.; INTERIOR DESIGNER: Design Line Interiors, San Diego

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