An urban infill project in Los Angeles is pushing the boundaries on the meaning of "detached."

Developed by Planet Home Living, the 15 single-family homes of the Prism project are a mere eight inches apart. They have the appearance of attached housing--the air space between them is weather-sealed--but are considered single-family. The project relies on the city's innovative small-lot ordinance, enacted 11 years ago to establish design guidelines for building single-family homes on lots zoned for multifamily. The 8-inch gap between the houses (see photo below) qualifies them for fee simple ownership.

Each of the three-level homes is structurally independent, with no shared walls between them, says architect Alan Scales, principal of KTGY Architecture + Planning, the architect for the project. The ordinance allowed project planners to maximize Prism's deep and narrow infill site by taking a high-density approach that would not have been possible in most other cities.

Targeted to young professionals, Prism is located in the trendy Eagle Rock neighborhood north of downtown on a well-established residential block with a mix of housing types. Residents can walk one block to a variety of shopping, dining, and retail offerings. Sizes for the contemporary-styled homes range from 1,540 to 1,704 square feet.

The project's sought-after location and modern design have been a hit with buyers: The homes sold out in less than one month, with half of them snatched up in four days. Prices ranged from $648,000 to $700,000.

The small-lot ordinance provided a way for the developer to bring housing to this existing, sought-after location. “Most homes in established areas are older and require improvements. We are so excited to debut PRISM and offer beautiful brand new homes in this extremely popular, walkable location,” says Planet Home Living CEO Michael Marini.

Scales employed a front-loaded design to allow for the creation of private rear yard that extends the indoor/outdoor living space on the ground floor and creates a small place for a pets. A private deck expands the living and entertaining space on the second floor. “Internal ‘living’ streets create walkable plazas that circulate both pedestrians and automobiles,” says Scales.

The homes feature attached two-car garages and a ground-floor flex suite for guests or a work-at-home space. The owner’s suite and junior suite are on the top floor. Other features include Ring video doorbells, Nest thermostats, and Kevo keyless entry systems.

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