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Building Better Affordable Homes

How to increase style and efficiency on a modest budget

Affordable homes are a key component for any community, large or small, urban or rural. Unfortunately, affordable housing often becomes synonymous with unattractive, uninteresting construction. For a project in Portland, Ore., architect Keyan Mizani worked with Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives to create an affordable, attractive pair of row houses in a developed neighborhood. Built around open floor plans to increase a sense of spaciousness, the houses have high-quality finishing details such as cork flooring, glass- and ceramic-tile backsplashes, and cabinets with bamboo facing. Variations in the rooflines differentiate the houses from their neighbors and make them appear not to be monolithic. A high-efficiency air-source heat pump provides heating and cooling.

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