Mailu villages are laid out in two facing rows of family houses, built on stilts, separated by a broad road. Prior to European contact, men's houses ( dubu ) were built in the center of this road, running perpendicular to the dwelling houses. Houses were two-storied affairs, the upper floor consisting of a single, windowless room enclosed on all sides by the heavy thatch of the roof and entered by means of a ladder and trapdoor arrangement from below. The lower floor is open on all sides, but pandanus or woven reed mats are used as temporary, movable screens when needed. The ridgepoles of the buildings are elaborately carved, and pig jaws and fish tails are hung on the supports at the front of the buildings as decoration. There is no specialization of functions for the living areas of the houses, and no specifically men's or women's areas, although men tend to congregate at the roadside end and women toward the back of the buildings. Fenced gardens are built behind the houses.