Archive for May, 2011

I had always considered the phrase “prefab home” as an oxymoron, words that cancel each other out, like “military intelligence” or “jumbo shrimp”. Wasn’t the American dream, after all, about carving out a spot in the prairie and building your own place?  And so-called “manufactured homes” seemed like flimsy toys that would blow down easily with a gust from the big bad wolf.

Uncannily, some of today’s prefab homes come with $100,000+ price tags, astounding architecture and with green designs beyond my wildest notions. Some come fully equipped with solar panels, green insulating materials and durable bamboo floors. You can pay between $6,000 for a 400 square-foot cottage all the way up to $500,000 for a 2,300 square-foot, three-bedroom home that can always be folded up and moved elsewhere. Take a look:

Bamboo for green living


Bamboo Living builds homes with green designs,starting from a 400-square-foot Bamboo Fijian (from $60k out of the box), made of durable materials with choices among “a few groovy colors”.  Hmm, I haven’t seen a few groovy colors since college.

A green method to design intelligence


Seattle’s Method Homes will ship a pre-fab home resistant to mold and other contaminants that meets LEED environmental standards. They’ll ship a custom, pre-fab cabin or full-sized home anywhere in the United States and Canada.

Pre-fab and off the grid


The Cusabo Island House stands on steel feet above the Carolina Flood Plain. Built as a showpiece for EcoSteel, the Cusabo house exceeds FEMA flood zone requirements because residents live beyond the reach of emergency crews.  The 3,888 square-foot home fosters a healthy, efficient and sustainable living space.

The clean and green housing machine


The JoT House blends modernist architecture with sustainability. They produce homes and cabins in standard or custom models. Looking for a guest house, pool cabana, artist’s studio or day room? Try the Mini JoT, a 250 square-foot pre-fab with natural interior finishes and high-performance insulation. Priced from $45,000, delivered. Or pop it on wheels and go places. You can take it with you.

I’m impressed by the new pre-fabs, and I stand corrected right down to the hair of my chinny-chin chin.

I appreciate beauty that’s beautiful — as opposed to ugly designs that are real beauts. If you have trouble with this distinction, you’re sure to profit from the photos today. The road of furniture history is strewn with ugly missteps.  You have to wonder if the people behind some of these designs have whiffed just a bit too much resin or glue. I like the quirky, but this furniture crosses the line. Check it out:

Embraceable ewe


I think not.  No need to lambast this chair but, sheepishly, this furniture pulls the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting consumers. Comfy? Perhaps, but the silence of these lambs gives me the willies.

Rubber chairs for scribblers


I’m glad this bench employs the friendly end of the pencil in its seat. Else, it is more suitable for the homes of retired dentists. According to the English Design Museum the last century of chair designs hail from the highly functional forms of the industrial age to today’s experimental art and re-used materials.

Furniture for the young and restless

chariots of fire

Or for the arcane and iconic among us.  Or for adults who still eat Fruit Loops. I’d like to see how I look seated in one of these chairs. I discovered the image at Sparkly Vampires, a site tailored to a discreet, goth audience by hosts that claim, “We are just normal people like all of you.”

Unreserved seating

bike seat couch

This couch is made entirely of recycled bicycle seats, one of several furniture designs by famous Japanese bicycle-maker Scarabike. While touring Japan, I have sat on a meditation mat, a tatami floor and a train that had a hole in the floor for a commode (yes, you could see the tracks below), but I regretfully will pass on this couch. In the case of bicycle seats, more is not necessarily better.

Your experience may vary.

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.