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West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house

Link to West Coast Green: the mkLotus show house
© copyright 2007 Peter Bernheim

By far the most popular and exciting prefab presence at West Coast Green was info_smallMichelle Kaufmann and the info_smallmkLotus showhouse.

The show house was set right in front of San Francisco City Hall, out in the open for all to see. And see it people did. Visitors lined up to tour the home and looked to be waiting upwards of half an hour on Saturday's Homeowner Day (due to the home's size, the show staff were limiting the number of people in at any one time).

While the home was small, around 700 sf, it felt plenty roomy. The home featured a window wall system from NanaWall that opens accordion-style to create a near seamless indoor/outdoor room. The bathroom was luxurious for such a small home. And the ample outdoor living space (decks, patios, courtyards) was a welcome addition.

Some of the features and details that I saw as I toured the house:
• angled walls to make spaces feel larger
• translucent doors to divide spaces but not block all light
• high ceilings
• tons of glass
• control system for house lighting and temperature
• plants on the roof (a "living roof") help to limit rain runoff and provide natural insulation
• quality materials
• built in iPod audio system

All of these add-ons and options push the home out of many folks' price range though. For instance, the NanaWall system runs ~$1,500 per single panel (the mkLotus had xx). My understanding is that the home starts around $150,000, but can venture past $225k with all of the add-ons featured on the show home.

A note worth mentioning, and one repeated throughout the conference: these homes may seem expensive, but much of that is due to their "green" features, from rainwater catchment systems, to solar panels galore.

Jill and Emily at Inhabitat loved the house:

"Above and beyond all the green, however, the house is just a testament to thoughtful, smart design. Every material, system and design choice in the house seems to be thought out, and have purpose. The high ceilings, skylights, gently angled walls, floor to ceiling glass and copious daylight all work to make the 700 sf house feel a lot bigger and more spacious than it actually is."
They also uploaded a bunch of photos of the house to Flickr.

CBS 5 San Francisco offered a video report from the home.

With the mkLotus as the star attraction of the show, Michelle Kaufmann had a sort of celebrity aura to her. She spoke a number of times, on topics ranging from the show house to "Women in Green." She shows great enthusiasm for her work (and the work is prolific). The talks focused on the green aspects of the different MK products. Their work is separated into three categories:
• pre-configured options: pre-designed with finish and fixture options available
• custom designs: feature the MKD aesthetic but fully flexible in design configurations
• modern green communities: multi-family housing (which helps reduce costs significantly)

I'll share further info on a number of developments and new products from MKD in the coming weeks.

More West Coast Green coverage in the coming days.

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green 2008 coming September 25-27 (Aug 14, 2008)
   2. The mkLoft from Michelle Kaufmann Designs (Nov 13, 2007)
   3. This week: Jeriko House, Drop House, and more (Oct 13, 2007)
   4. CNET visits the mkLotus (Oct 12, 2007)
   5. West Coast Green round-up (Oct 02, 2007)
   6. The mkLotus show house (Jul 19, 2007)
2 comments, 0 trackbacks (URL) , 
Dave in Kentucky on October 23, 2007 at 6:21 p.m.
Thank goodness someone has finally designed a home that can help an average "green" American.
Charlie on December 30, 2007 at 2:58 a.m.
I don't understand why these type of modulars are so expensive.

Everyone says "they're less expensive than conventional site construction" but that's not true.
Kaufmann's mod's are twice as expensive, as is the same with other comparable designers. Conventional build rates in my bay area zip code cost $100/sq ft and most mod's are double that price!

I don't get it.

What's the deal?
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