The world of prefab and modular homes.
  September 2009 Archive

In the news: Blu Homes acquires rights to Michelle Kaufmann's designs

Link to In the news: Blu Homes acquires rights to Michelle Kaufmann's designs

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Michelle Kaufmann has sold the building rights to several of her info_smallMK Designs homes to info_smallBlu Homes.

Designs include:

According to the article:

They have developed a proprietary unfolding modular technology that will enable cost savings to be made on Kaufmann designs at the shipping and on-site building stages. Elements that make up the homes such as wall panels are created with hinges so they can be compacted for transportation and unfolded on site. The MK Designs homes will have slightly different floor plans, proportions and elevations from the originals, although, Kaufmann said, the design principles should remain the same.

Blu Homes plans to market the homes nationwide.

Author: Tracey Taylor
Publication: San Francisco Chronicle
Section: Business
Length: 402 words
Date: September 30, 2009

Related Posts:
   1. Podcast features Marmol Radziner and Blu Homes (Aug 14, 2009)
   2. Michelle Kaufmann Designs closing (May 27, 2009)
   3. Blu Homes (Oct 28, 2008)
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Natural Fusion Home by Penn State

Link to Natural Fusion Home by Penn State

Penn State's entry in the 2009 Solar Decathlon is called Natural Fusion.

Worth a look: their site and blog.

Their May 20, 2009 explains the house's name.

Interesting to note: According to a recent Treehugger post, Ed Begley, Jr. will be the guest of honor at their Bon Voyage party this weekend.

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Solar House 1 by Ohio State University

Link to Solar House 1 by Ohio State University

Next on the 2009 Solar Decathlon list: Ohio State University.

According to a post in February, Solar House 1 has:

three modules that will be transported separately to Washington, D.C.


each module was designed to be stucturally independent

Worth a look:

Interesting to note:

This house is "Ohio-centric," and uses local materials wherever possible, Whirlpool appliances (an Ohio manufacturer), and reclaimed barn wood on the façade to honor the agricultural heritage of the state.

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ICON Solar House by University of Minnesota

Link to  ICON Solar House by University of Minnesota

Monday's Solar Decathlon 2009 entry comes from University of Minnesota.

The design of the ICON Solar House is based on the familiar gabled roof form of an American family home.

According to their site, the 800-square-foot home was broken down into 6 modules for the trip to Washington, D.C.

Worth a look:

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West Coast Green in San Francisco: October 1-3, 2009

Link to West Coast Green in San Francisco: October 1-3, 2009

West Coast Green 2009 will be returning to California in October.

At West Coast Green you’ll find over 300 exhibitors showcasing the latest in resource-efficiency among a stunning array of green and healthy building products. Over 100 experts and visionary leaders will be presenting their latest developments, insights, and inspiration at the expanding frontiers of the field. And over 14,000 attendees including the entire chain of professionals and decision-makers rarely reached by other conferences are expected.

Two things to note on the prefab front:

  • info_smallGreen Horizon Manufacturing will be showcasing their new info_smallSFH40 model.
  • Michelle Kaufmann of info_smallMKD will be running a session on Friday called "Housing 2.0: Re-thinking the Prefab Model"

where: San Francisco, CA
location: Fort Mason Center
date: October 1 - 3, 2009
cost: ranges from $45 for Tradeshow pass up to $895 for Full Conference
notes: Their registration page has more pricing info.

Related Posts:
   1. West Coast Green 2008: The Harbinger House (Oct 08, 2008)
   2. West Coast Green container Showhouse from SG Blocks (Aug 15, 2008)
   3. West Coast Green 2008 coming September 25-27 (Aug 14, 2008)
   4. West Coast Green round-up (Oct 02, 2007)
   5. Heading to West Coast Green Conference this weekend (Sep 19, 2007)
   6. West Coast Green Conference (Jul 18, 2007)
1 comment, 0 trackbacks (URL) , blue house by University of Kentucky

Link to blue house by University of Kentucky

Next on our list of 2009 Solar Decathlon teams: The University of Kentucky.

According to the Solar Decathlon site:

The blue house embodies Kentucky's historic and indigenous breezeway house design and incorporates images from Kentucky on the exterior.

Worth a look:

Interesting to note:

The blue house is designed to exceed the U.S. Green Buildings Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes Platinum standards

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Interlock House by Iowa State University

Link to Interlock House by Iowa State University
Bob Elbert @ Iowa State University

Another Solar Decathlon 2009 team: Iowa State University.

According to the project manager, Interlock House:

[is] a modular construction, with five different components of the house.

There will be three floor components, two of them having walls, one of them having pop-up walls on site...[it] will also have a top portion with two east and west roof modules and a center portion also assembled on site.


So we have the east and west parts [of] the house built ahead of time and the center part built on site with pre-cut and pre-fabricated materials.

Worth a look:

Interesting to note:

Interlock House is designed specifically to appeal to seniors and meets all regulations for accessibility under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Gable Home by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Link to Gable Home by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Solar Decathlon 2009 is full of prefab, modular and component-based construction. Today's entry is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Gable Home:

will ship in three major components: the main module, the roof cap and accessories.


The main module of the home will transport as a single, enclosed unit, measuring 15’-6” wide x 53’ long and 11’-10” tall.

Worth a look:

Interesting to note: They partnered with info_smallHomeway Homes to manufacture the Gable Home.

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Silo House by Cornell University

Link to Silo House by Cornell University
Jason Koski/Cornell University Photography

Here is the Solar Decathlon 2009 entry from Cornell University.

The Silo House:

consists of three cylinder-shaped modules that interconnect

According to one of the students:

You're not going to see another house like this on the mall...This is our third competition, and we were tired of doing boxes. We decided to do a whole new take on modularity."

Interesting to note: "With more than 150 members, the Cornell team is the largest student-run project on campus -- a point of pride."

Their Silo House Web site is coming soon.

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SEED[pod] by the University of Arizona

Link to SEED[pod] by the University of Arizona

Next on the list: the University of Arizona is one of twenty teams competing in the Solar Decathlon 2009.

Their SEED[pod]:

can be manufactured as a self-contained module, easily customized for different tastes and climates, and shipped to any location where buyers want to "plant" it.

Follow progress via their blog.

Related Posts:
   1. Binary Design Studio and the SEED[pod] (Dec 03, 2008)
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Lumenhaus by Virginia Tech students

Link to Lumenhaus by Virginia Tech students

Here's another U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon contestant building with prefab components.

model: Lumenhaus
designer: Virginia Tech students
size: 800 sf

The house will be on display next month at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

According to the Lumenhaus site:

The modular design means the whole house itself is also flexible. Multiple units can be connected or stacked with plug-in stairs and entryways to create two-, three- or four- bedroom houses to adapt to the owners’ changing life circumstances.

Worth a look:

  • a video (9:41) documenting the process

  • Team Virginia Tech's blog

  • a Team News page on the Solar Decathlon site which aggregates all of the team blogs into one channel

Interesting to note: Virginia Tech is the only U.S. team to also compete in Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010.

Related Posts:
   1. Solar-powered Refract House by California students (Aug 06, 2009)
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Green Modern Kit Open House on September 26, 2009

Link to Green Modern Kit Open House on September 26, 2009
Copeland Casati

Copeland Casati, founder of info_smallGreen Modern Kits, recently posted that she would be holding an Open House at her info_smallcasa ti Modern Net Zero Prefab.

The green building architect of the casa ti, David Day of David Day Design, will be available on site. Our fabulous contractor, Ron Bernaldo, will also be there so you can ask him [all] your building questions.

where: Richmond, VA
date: September 26, 2009
time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm
cost: Free!
notes: Email in order to attend. Include your name, email and phone number so she can send directions and more info.

Related Posts:
   1. In the news: Copeland Casati's Green Modern Kit House (Aug 12, 2009)
   2. Green Modern Kits by Copeland Casati (Mar 19, 2009)
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In the news: Habitat for Humanity builds 9 modular homes in Maryland

Link to In the news: Habitat for Humanity builds 9 modular homes in Maryland
The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Sun recently featured a Habitat for Humanity project consisting of nine factory-built homes in Chesapeake, MD.

According to the article:

Factory-built houses aren't just quick to put up, they're cheaper than homes constructed on-site. Advocates for lower-income residents are realizing that, done right, there's nothing of the much-maligned trailer park about houses coming off today's assembly lines.

Interesting to note:

Habitat's modular-home buyers are getting the whole package, land and all, with no-interest loans from the organization. Including pricey site work but not the cost to buy the land, each house cost Habitat $120,000. When the group built homes from scratch last year in Southwest Baltimore, the construction and site work totaled nearly $160,000 per house.

They include a video (1:54) discussing the project.

Author: Jamie Smith Hopkins
Publication: The Baltimore Sun
Section: Real Estate
Length: 844 words
Date: September 9, 2009

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Cordell House by Robertson Design and Numen Development

Link to Cordell House by Robertson Design and Numen Development
Jack Thompson

The October 2009 issue of Dwell Magazine features a shipping container home in Houston, TX.

the corrugated steel of three containers—two 40-foot-long modules and one 20-foot-long unit—form the northern, southern, and western facades, with a glass wall to the east completing the perimeter

Another 40-foot container serves as a guest house and storage unit.

designer: Christopher Robertson of info_smallRobertson Design
manufacturer: info_smallNumen Development
size: 1,858 sf
br: 3
bath: 3

Here's some pricing info from Numen Development's site:

Our completed projects have ranged from $100/sq.ft. to $150/sq.ft

Dwell includes a slideshow of 23 pictures.

Subtitle: Shipping containers are ubiquitous in Houston, though unlike the four that make up this new home, they're usually filled with foreign goods rather than flourishing lives.
Author: Miyoko Ohtake
Publication: Dwell Magazine
Section: Dwellings
Length: 1,258 words
Date: October 2009

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Hive Modular in historic Minnesota neighborhood

Link to Hive Modular in historic Minnesota neighborhood
Maki Strunc Photography

The September 2009 issue of Midwest Home Magazine featured a modular home in St. Paul, MN.

model: info_smallB-Line Medium 002
designer: info_smallHive Modular
size: 2,010 sf
br: 3
bath: 3

According to the article:

A 240-ton crane showed up at 8:30 a.m., and a crew of 20 started work. The wood-framed, fiberglass insulated, Hardieplank modules—already dry-walled, wired for electric, and plumbed—were screwed together, patched, mudded, and…voila! By 1:30 p.m., the house was ready for finish work

Author: Chris Lee
Publication: Midwest Home
Section: Real & Simple
Length: 1,116 words
Date: September 2009

Hat tip: Jetson Green on September 4, 2009.

Related Posts:
   1. Hive Modular blog (Jul 10, 2007)
   2. Hive Modular home-raising (Jun 18, 2007)
   3. Hive Modular on YouTube (Jun 07, 2007)
   4. Hive Modular on Minneapolis Home Tour (Apr 26, 2007)
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Steve Glenn of LivingHomes speaking September 16, 2009 in Seattle

info_smallLivingHomes founder and CEO Steve Glenn posted that he will be speaking next week in Seattle.

speaker: Steve Glenn
where: Seattle, WA
location: USGBC Offices, 410 Occidental Avenue S
date: September 16, 2009
time: 5:30 - 7:30pm
cost: Free!
notes: Space is limited, RSVP

Related Posts:
   1. Steve Glenn of LivingHomes speaking August 28, 2009 in Portland, OR (Aug 19, 2009)
   2. New LivingHomes video and photos (Aug 03, 2009)
   3. Steve Glenn of LivingHomes speaking tomorrow in Long Beach, CA (Mar 17, 2008)
   4. LivingHomes (Mar 28, 2007)
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Vermont Plat House tour on September 12, 2009

Link to Vermont Plat House tour on September 12, 2009

The Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a tour of modern houses this weekend throughout the state. The tour is part of a program which includes a lecture at the University of Vermont on September 10, 2009.

One of the 10 houses is a Plat House by info_smallLamiDesign (La Vardera Milano).

where: Shoreham, VT
location: 4467 Richville Road
date: September 12, 2009
time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
notes: For more information, email:

Related Posts:
   1. Plat house in Texas (Jul 27, 2009)
   2. EcoSteel Plat House (Jun 05, 2009)
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Preform Construction in Canada

Link to Preform Construction in Canada

info_smallPreform Construction Ltd. is a new 20,000 sf factory in Surrey, British Columbia.

According to their site, they are:

A prefabrication service for architects, builders and homeowners.

They offer design and manufacturing services, with three options:

  • Prefabrication of your design
  • Custom Design and Prefabrication
  • Choose from our Modular Units

They don't list available modular units, but do offer a gallery of 8 pictures.

Interesting to note:

[The] factory includes a full millwork shop with craftsmen able to provide everything from kitchens to furniture.

Hat tip: Jetson Green on August 28, 2009.

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In the news: Arizona prefabs

Link to In the news: Arizona prefabs
Dolce Vita

The Arizona Republic recently discussed the evolution of prefab homes.

Modular houses, usually built in 14-foot-wide sections and assembled at a home site, have evolved from mobile homes of questionable durability into better-built houses with many of the same finishes and features of standard production houses.

Companies mentioned in the article:

Also mentioned, two Arizona communities:

Author: Peter Corbett
Publication: The Arizona Republic
Section: Decor
Length: 792 words
Date: August 29, 2009

Related Posts:
   1. ZETA Communities video (Aug 27, 2009)
   2. Quoted: Marc Porat of ZETA Communities (Aug 20, 2009)
   3. ZETA Communities in CA (Jul 13, 2009)
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New England Cable News features Shelter-Kit

Link to New England Cable News features Shelter-Kit

A followup from Friday's post: info_smallShelter-Kit was recently featured on New England Cable News.

Here's the video (3:03).

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DIY with Shelter-Kit

Link to DIY with Shelter-Kit

We recently received an email from a company called info_smallShelter-Kit in Tilton, NH.

According to their site:

Shelter-Kit® buildings include all of the materials required to construct a weather tight shell on your foundation: hardware, fasteners, framing, sheathing, floors, roofing, flashing, drip edge and trim.

All kits, except the Barn-House include a standard window & door package. All materials are hand selected, carefully cut to precise dimensions, labeled, and packaged in easily identifiable bundles that two people can carry.

Worth noting:

In the past 39 years, over 85% of our kits have been built by people with no prior building experience.

Shelter-Kit offers a variety of buildings and styles:

Model Price Size BR Assembly Time

info_smallCape Style Barn-Houses $26,345+ 875-2,500 sf 1-5 10+ days
info_smallGreen Homes varies 875-2,500 sf 1-5 10+ days
info_smallPost & Beam Lofthouses $17,185+ 415-1,565 sf 2 ~7 days
info_smallUnit One $9,975+ 144-1,500 sf 1 3-4 days

Also check out their kits for Barns, Garages & Workshops.

They are currently advertising:

Shorter lead times and special pricing are available for kits without major design modifications, for delivery by October 31, 2009.

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Method Prefab

Link to Method Prefab

info_smallMethod Homes recently announced the launch of their new "umbrella company", Method Prefab:

Method Prefab is the parent company to all method divisions including Method Homes, featuring our proprietary home models, Method Factory, featuring custom prefab work for architects, developers, homeowners and other prefab companies, and Method Contracting, the site construction wing of Method Prefab.

For more information on each division, check out their individual pages on the new Method Prefab site:

Related Posts:
   1. Pictures of Method Homes setting (Oct 03, 2009)
   2. Balance S-M-L Series from Method Homes (Mar 12, 2009)
   3. This week: Method Homes, HOM, containers and lots more Home Delivery (Aug 02, 2008)
   4. This week: Ideabox, Method Homes, and unconventional (Jul 26, 2008)
   5. This week: Method Homes, Énóvo, Canühome (May 17, 2008)
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In the news: WIRED LivingHome

Link to In the news: WIRED LivingHome

Ray Kappe's info_smallWIRED LivingHome was recently featured on KNBC in LA as part of their "green is universal" series.

Here's the video (2:30).

Related Posts:
   1. New LivingHomes video and photos (Aug 03, 2009)
   2. WIRED LivingHome still for sale; price reduced (Jun 30, 2008)
   3. Take a (long!) tour of the WIRED LivingHome (Jan 15, 2008)
   4. WIRED LivingHome open for tours! (Nov 06, 2007)
   5. WIRED webcam (Sep 10, 2007)
   6. LivingHomes gets WIRED ... for $4 million (Jul 02, 2007)
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The Skinny Project by Postgreen Homes

Link to The Skinny Project by Postgreen Homes
adapted from

info_smallPostgreen Homes recently announced their newest project in Philadelphia, built with SIPs.

We are building three new homes on E. Susquehanna Ave in East Kensington, just a few doors down from the original 100k Project.

They are calling these homes "The Skinny Project".

...named for the new model we will be debuting in this build. The Skinny, designed to fit on Philadelphia’s narrow lots, offers an extremely flexible, open floor plan.

model: info_smallSkinny
designer: info_smallPostgreen Homes
br: 2
bath: 1
price: starting at $250,000
available: yes

They also launched a home customization tool for the Skinny and three additional models:

Model BR Bath Price

info_smallFamily 2 1-2 starting at $260,000
info_smallLoft 1 1 starting at $250,000
info_smallWork 1 1 starting at $250,000

Related Posts:
   1. Postgreen Homes in Philadelphia (Aug 17, 2009)
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