Remember the theme song from Weeds?
Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky … and they all look just the same.
At once a terrifying and brilliant critique of American suburbia (at least the first three or four times you heard it).
But remove said boxes from their Stepford-Wife-ian hillside in Agrestic, throw ’em on a truck and transport them to some remote patch of idyllic woods somewhere, and suddenly they’re a little more appealing.
Which is essentially what prefab cabins (or “modular homes”) are all about. The motivations of the trend are multifarious. Modular homes are typically more readily reproducible and eco-friendly (fewer materials, smaller footprint) than normal builds, while also offering architects and engineers a challenge: how does one fit all the trappings of a regular home into a much smaller space without sacrificing elegant design?
Below: eight stunning solutions to that challenge, most of them now available for delivery.
Based on an award-winning design by Broadhurst Architects, the 300-600-square-foot Crib offers owners a ton of customizations, including a hidden kitchen and an additional lower level. It’s built from 100% recyclable and sustainable materials for maximum eco-friendliness.
Twin Cities firm Alchemy first developed the super-modular weeHouse in 2003. The concept relies on stacking, combining and modifying 300-850-square-foot “building blocks” to a user’s exact specifications. Alchemy also offers buyers a ton of different siding, flooring and interior options to make a weeHouse their own.
Classified as a “park model RV,” ESCAPE is a handcrafted country cottage inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s “celebrated attention to detail and appreciation of nature.” Beveled cedar siding. Oak hardwood floors. Granite countertops. Heated, screened living room porch. Custom fireplaces. And it arrives in 90-120 days.
Mini House 2.0
This fully insulated, no-frills, 160-square-foot one-roomer by Swedish designer Jonas Wagell starts at a “come again?”-worthy $27,000. The most barebones version gets you one room; add-ons include kitchen, bathroom, bunk beds, outdoor pergola and more. Currently only ships in Sweden, with plans to expand into other European countries before the end of 2015.
ToyBox Tiny Home
A 140-square-foot modern masterpiece on wheels. Inside: a lofted sleeping nook and modular living space with kitchenette, built-in storage shelves and windows for days. Plus heated floors and a shower.
Four-hundred-and-eighty square feet of super-intelligent modern design. All furniture and appliances stow away into walls and ceiling to maximize living space, with tons of custom exteriors and interiors to choose from.
What it lacks in the rustic romance of some of the other selections on this list, the Vipp Shelter surely makes up for with unmatched tech savvy: all appliances are pre-installed and ready to go, plumbing is fully integrated and it’s got heated cast magnesite floors. Did we mention the guys behind it also put a trash bin in the MoMA?
Handcrafted by a father & sons team with 30+ years of custom home experience, the Collingwood is a new type of “shepherd hut:” around 7.5’ wide and 16′ end-to-end, with cast-iron wheels, foldaway desks, a butler’s cupboard and either a slide-out sofa-bed or a delightful breakfast nook that collapses into a double bed.
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