Sett Studio Prefab

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NewImageI've been back and forth on prefab over the years as to whether or not I think it's a good deal. Most can't come close to the cost of a custom built structure in Utah making them only practical for difficult to access sites, or if you live in an area like California where custom prices are outrageous. What I have been excited about lately is all the small prefab options that have popped up lately. Sett Studio has a few sub 200 square foot options that price out between $150 - $200 a square foot. That price includes some nice features too, like super efficient SIP construction and a (sort of) Shou Sugi Ban siding.

More photos after the jump.

Sett Studio

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The Signal Shed

signal shed

signal shed interiorI blame it on Capree really. Yesterday over on MAIYA she posted about the Grandpa Henry collection, a series of bright wool plaids that looks amazing as upholstery. I of course wanted it, but it didn't seem like the right fit for a downtown loft. A mountain cabin on the other hand...

Thus began my search for a small affordable prefab cabin that I will inevitably have to build, just for the purpose of having a Grandpa Henry chair to sit in. After a little poking around I came across the Signal Shed shown above. A 130 square foot prefab shelter that was designed for the budget minded. Sunset magazine did a story about it recently thats worth reading. The above photo's came from owner Ryan Lingards website.

Signal Shed

 

Karoleena Prefab Cabins

Ahh prefab, why must you always tempt us with affordable modern architecture?

The latest eye candy I stumbled across is this attractive modern prefab cabin by a Canadian company called Karoleena. This beauty will only set you back $129,000 which sounds great until you realize that it doesn't include site work, transportation and that it is only 630 square feet small. Still, $200 a square foot isn't bad, it's just not any better than a custom architect designed home.

More pretty renderings and info at Karoleena's website.


Inspired by Design

Inspired by Design is a new online video series that is sponsored by Kohler. It focuses on "extraordinary architecture, sustainable and affordable construction, and progressive design shaped to the needs of the people who use it". I was admittedly skeptical at first, but after watching some I am actually impressed. The first couple episodes cover everything from a shipping container studio to die for, to prefab housing by Res 4, to my personal favorite the 100K house project.

Inspired by Design


Hive Modular

I was reading a post over at Fresh Home about HIVE Modular prefab homes. Priced at around $185 a square foot these homes aren't exactly amazing from a price point, although there are certainly more expensive options, nor are they particularly amazing from a design standpoint (see more photo's after the jump). So with all these tepid comments, why even post about them? One thing I think they did get right is the size. The B Line small home pictured here is around 990 sq/ft, and it got me thinking. One area that can save you more money than anything else with a new home is cutting back on square footage. I can attest that our 2,000 sq/ft home is more than we need with two kids. With that in mind, a pat on the back goes to HIVE Modular for offering a modest selection of "small" modern modular homes.


Eames inspired prefab

 Packages Images Photo 2008 10 16 20081016-Culver 25394623I have to admit that in the past I have been less than optimistic about modern prefab houses. Very few of them end up being priced at less than $200 a square foot. To me $100 a square foot is the magic number to try and hit before you can really claim it's "affordable". The 100k house is proving that it can be done with fairly typical building practices and a little creativity. So where does that leave prefab? Well not everyone has given up on it like I have, and the NY Times had an interesting article about a prefab modern home built in the Los Angeles area for $125 a square foot. The home shows some obvious influence from the Eames Case Study home and shows that using prefab techniques to achieve an affordable modern home might still be a possibility. NY Times Article "Prefab, High-Concept and Green" Via TreeHugger  Packages Images Photo 2008 10 16 20081016-Culver 25394625  Images 2008 10 15 Garden 24486905  Images 2008 10 15 Garden 25327569

Affordable Prefab from down under

Prefab has long since made big promises of bringing affordable design to the masses. With sites like Live Modern® dedicated to affordable housing its obvious that there is definitely a huge client base just waiting. While us Americans may be a little slow to provide results, it looks like there may be some action from the land down under. Australian based PreBuilt has a new series of houses reportedly priced from $43,000 - $109,000 USD. Now thats more like it. You can see by the pictures after the jump, that the interiors are even well done. Seems like those Aussie's have a way better sense for good design than we do anyways. Maybe we should just all move to Australia and live in a Prebuilt house.

Via Inhabitat

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Dwell homes…Prefabs empty promise?

Dwell Prefab

Now don't get me wrong, I am as big a fan of Dwell Magazine as the next guy, but their newest prefab venture with Empyrean (makers of the Deck House and Acorn House) has me wondering if we are really on the same page when it comes to defining "affordable". When Dwell launced its first Dwell Home Design Invitational in 2003, the challenge was to design a prefab house for under $200,000. The point of the whole contest was to show that prefab was a potential means for making modern housing affordable to the masses, and it was largely succesful. The winning Resolution 4 Dwell home, came in slightly over budget, but ended around $100 a square foot. Now just two years latter, Dwell has anounced its partnership with Empyrean and a new Dwell branded prefab product. The Dwell homes by Empyrean. Their latest issue manages to slip in some free advertising in the Editors Note announcing

"...not one but three beautifully designed, highly functional, and eminently livable modern prefab homes."

At least they didn't try and slip "afforable" in there. Because if you are looking for that $100 a square foot mark that Res 4 hit, your looking in the wrong place. Later in the magazine they have a full page ad that reads.

"3 Great Modern Prefab Designs All Under $250/square foot. Want to learn more?"

We would love to. The three houses featured are Res 4's Dwell home, Charlie Lazors FlatPak home, and a new house by Empyrean called the next house. All three of them are manufactured at Empyrean's 300,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Acton, Massachusetts. The sizes range from about 2,500 square feet (Next House and Res 4) to just over 3,000 square feet (FlatPak). So, what do they cost you ask? Well , according to their website:

"The general range of prices for a typical 2500 square foot Dwell home will be in the $175-$250 per square foot range, including architects fees, our components, on site construction costs, and finishes."

Let me help you with the math there. That puts the cheapest of the homes at around $437,500 and the most expensive at $750,000! I think it is fair to say that 1/2 million to 3/4 a million is not affordable to most of us. Now, I'm not trying to be negative here. I am sure there are a lot of great things that will come of this. The fact that Dwell was able to get three great designers together with one of the largest prefab builders in the nation is no small feat. It just appears that it may be some time yet before prefab delivers with its promise to make modernism affordable.

We want to know what you think. Drop by our Forums and let us know what you think about the promise of prefab.

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...