Have you thought about a prefab home or even a prefab cottage? Modular construction has recently become mainstream with evening TV programs dedicated to it and lots of people talking about the buzz-words: prefabrication, tiny homes, modular building. Considering the cost and benefits of prefab houses, they can definitely be a good option, as many have found.
This one is by Sustain Design Studio. They have designed a number of modular homes, some with various options depending on the size a customer is looking for, whether they want a loft, whether there will be a foundation or not, and other building considerations.
The modular company uses wood frame construction on a structural steel chassis, and the exterior of the building is a pre-finished pine or Douglas Fir wood one.
For insulation, they use a polyurethane foam of medium density with a BASF Wallite spray.
Hot water is provided in these prefab homes by electric boilers combined with energy recovery ventillators, with the option of a pellet stove or propane boiler — these additions are favored by some people because they give the house that cabin feel.
While these modular homes don’t require a permanent foundation — instead they can be placed on simple leveling and blocking — a concrete foundation or pad are options.
This is the Zenkaya prefab house, a tiny prefab that can be moved in on the back of one truck. In this case, they set it up in a flat desert, as you can see from the photo.
The designer — Eric Bigot — offer these prefabs in various sizes. Which means, for this house design, various lengths. The width is always the same 3.8 meters.
They have a Zenkaya Studio model at 6 meters long, while the largest is a 2-bedroom prefab which is 18 meters long.
The one in the photo above is 15.6 meters, somewhere between the studio and the largest unit.
This unit reminds me of a paperclip, due to the single-piece (or so the finished unit appears to be) patio roof, roof, side wall, and surface, and the most distinctive element to this modular, the even square patio space (with ceiling patio lights).
One side of the unit (the version pictured) has an enclosed space for the bathroom, and then the rest has a wall of sliding glass doors.
Heat is provided by a small wood stove.
If the object is a simple structure surrounded by nature, moved to the location simply, do you need anything that isn’t included in this Zenkaya module house design?
It seems modular home design varies around the globe. Perhaps you might say, “Well of course,” but with such a simple starting point, I was a bit surprised to find modular construction styles based on culture. Probably I shouldn’t have been.
Here’s a Tokyo style of modular home, done by Mitsubai Tokyo. Of course, it might be hard to find something Japanese don’t do well, and this seems just another example of them making a harmonious, stylish product suited to the scale of its intended purpose.
It’s called Aero House, and its a studio-type modular design (just one room), but the company builds modulars so that they can be combined.
The price for one of these units is under $40,000 USD (In Yen, its 4320000), but they can also be purchased “semi-self-build” kit style for around half that amount, from what I understand from the site in their language.
Notable about this construction style for modular houses is the square is really accentuated, at least as I saw it. Also, while modular homes commonly sit on posts of some sort, the posts are made visible in this style. The building looks like it sits on small stilts, rather than trying to hid them. Besides the space itself, all there is is some shelf compartments and windows. The ceiling is left unfinished. Into this basic starting point, walls can be added to divide the structure into rooms.
This prefabricated home company does things the Brazilian way, which, judging from this modular house, means clean, square modular constrution with an attractive patio style.
The basis of this building idea is that the modular house can have a fluid size (and, one might expect, arrangement) of its container bin-like module pieces.
What that means is a modular home starts out with a given amount of 22 meter square module blocks, which can attach to each other, and if a family grows, wants to add a business space, or otherwise wants to change shape, it can.
For example, I saw a demo of this prefabricated home company Jular building a custom modular house with 8 modules and 2 patios.
They arrive on a site which has been prepared with level pillars stable in the ground, and begin crane-lifting module pieces into place. They move them in and fit the modules into each other sort of like kids do with Lego.
Because the prefab plan has been figured out beforehand, some of these module blocks have exterior walls, some interior walls, some have no walls. They remove the pywood sheeting that protects the windows during the delivery.
Then they frame up the patio roof, which is just beams of lumber, and proceed to secure the modules together. The roofs are all thermal insulated SteicoRoof and SteicoFlex. The walls are insulated with the same, by the way.
IKEA, known everywhere for its simple, DIY furniture, has been continuing to experiment. Now they’ve come up with an assembly method that doesn’t even require the little allen keys that usually come with an assembly package.
How? It snaps together. That means wedges, little wooden wedges, are what hold together parts of the furniture.
The “wedge dowel” is a little ribbed connector. Take a look.
This might be one of the most inexpensive housing options we’ve come across. We share a lot of ideas here, from prefabs to metal buildings to tiny homes to anything else we think you guys might be interested in. That has included a few strange but inexpensive options, and this idea is going to fit right in with those.
These Old Hickory sheds actually start at even less than $1500. That price is the one for their model that has windows and a little porch. It looks almost like a little home — definitely compares with cabins and tiny homes. But it’s actually a shed. These things are actually sold as “utility style” “playhouses” along with their sheds that are sold as “barns,” “lofted barns,” and “utility sheds.” But they’re big as cabins, with 12 X24 dimensions minimum (you can get them bigger) and 8 foot walls. They also have 2 X 3 windows and a 9 lite window door and that porch you can see in the photo. As you can see from the photo, people are already using these residentially or semi-residentially.
And they have smaller ones with less fancy builds that cost even less — like under $1000. Can you imagine what one of these little sheds would look like set up as a tiny home? You could even mount one to a truck trainer if you wanted to tow it around. Note though that they aren’t built for that — it’s just an idea for transport — so you wouldn’t necessarily want to take them on the highway or over any rough ground.
That might mean you can’t expect it to meet building codes for a house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live in one of these the way you could in a cabin as long as you aren’t breaking any zoning. Of course, these could serve as a guest cabin in a yard, because you could put a shed there no problem, and this one looks like a quaint little tiny home cabin. What if you put a bed and everything you usually put in a cabin in there?
Besides size options, you can also chose roof options (black, dark brown, evergreen, weathered wood) or metal woods in 4 colors.
And here’s one of the more interesting parts of this idea as a cabin: They offer building options for units when you order one. A tiny home cabin could have various sized single- or double-pane windows, various doors, including double wooden barn doors, garage doors (if you want to be able to store your stuff or small vehicle in it as well), flooring, shelves, work benches, lofts, porch railings, engineered plans, and non-standard color options. Basically you can customize your order how you can picture it, staying to the basics of a rectangular tiny home cabin with windows, a door, and a porch.
The company who makes these both sells them (either delivered as a prefab or assembled on site when they can’t be delivered for whatever reason), and also rents them, so you could always try one out first. A third option exists, too: rent to own. And they have 5-year warranties.
They also have free delivery and set-up, and here’s the information for that, since I suspect anyone considering this tiny home option would want to know this: “Buildings at the sales lot can usually be delivered within 5 week days (weather permitting). Ordered Treated & Fir buildings can usually be delivered within 10 to 15 days (weather permitting). Ordered Painted and Metal buildings can usually be delivered within 15 to 20 days (weather permitting). Note: Non-standard metal colors on any building will add one week to the lead time. No site preparation necessary (if site is accessible with truck and trailer and site is no more than 3 feet out of level). Free setup includes leveling with customer supplied concrete blocks and driver supplied pressure treated shims. Drivers can supply concrete blocks for a minimal charge. First 30 miles free, over 30 miles subject to additional charge.”
When considering a prefab or modular home design, and if you’re setting it in the woods or a woodsy setting, you might well be considering whether to build a regular square prefab house or an A-frame construction.
This is an old question for those thinking of what to build. The A-frame has some benefits, besides its style. One of those is its oft-noted ease to build. A person on his own or with a friend can set up an A-frame. Basically, you build a platform and then just make triangles and pull them up and string them together until you have the length you want, and then finish off the roof. Carpenters will of course say there’s more to it than that, and there is, but when you boil it down to the basics, that’s how you set up the most simple of A-frame cabins.
Another benefit is, if you’re setting up your cabin or home (whether it’s a modular house / prefab home or not) somewhere where there’s a lot of snow, the sharp peak of the A-frame roof is going to help you there, whereas the flatter roof can suffer under accumulated snow. A-frames dont need gutters, in general.
Now the downsides: space — there’s less of it for a given footprint size. Also, those sloping walls make positioning appliances and things awkward. Often, with small A-frames, a loft is built in the upper half of the triangle on one or both sides of the building, and that’s where the bedroom is / bedrooms are.
Also, you’re heating a tall peaked roof, and you usually aren’t up there in the peak, so heat can be an issue.
Maybe this is why a lot of people start out by thinking A-frames would be right for them, and only some of them end up going with the A-frame. Because a small regular construction is also fairly easy for a person or small group to put up, and many areas don’t get a ton of snow, a regular cabin might be better. And because there are a lot of prefabrication / modular construction companies that build custom homes with A-frames, it might be something to look into if you like the idea of living in one / cabin-ing in one.
This modern A-frame was originally shared at the Spacetime Continuum by some bloggers who have become “less exciting” lately (their words not mine).
To learn about how to build your own prefabricated A-frame home, a good starting point I found is Mother Earth News (click here). Visit the Spacetime Continuum blog (click here).
Prefab home buyers have one major thing to consider, after the price of their prefabricated structure, which is space! What about expanding space by using the roof? And not just the roof, the side of the building? This is the idea explored by the prefab house designers at Belatchew Arkitekter.
This prefab is called “Steps,” and the most standout feature of it is, as you can see from the photo above, it has a rooftop terrace.
It also has small garden beds along the side of the house where the staircase is.
The overall appearance of this prefab house is kind of like an outdoor shed, maybe mostly because of those 2X4 doors that go into the stairwell and the side of the house.
As far as a house goes, this prefab might be a little small but there is definietly enough room to sleep in it. Maybe a futon or something, or you could put a cot in the stairwell area (as it is that stairwell area is for a slide out trolly) and leave the main room for socialiazing.
It also has an outdoor kitchen with sink. I’m thinking this prefab cabin has socializing in mind.
This summer house is a small, simple piece of architecture designed by Christensen & Co. Even though we’ve been looking a lot at prefabricated houses, this might be an option for the same people who are now considering prefab.
Because its small and simple — a timber-frame structure with one floor and a single pitched roof — the price would be comparable to a prefab home. The only thing is that this house isn’t on wheels, so you’d have to look at putting it down as a regular house, not as a mobile home like a lot of prefab house buyers do.
Christensen & Co are a Danish architecture team, and they do a lot of larger buildings, but this little summer cottage or summer home even (if you’re a small family) has been getting attention recently.
There might be some extra cost in this construction because of the large amount of glass, which costs to buy, and then costs because it lets heat out more than walls. Some people also prefer the security of having walls instead of windows, but to change the house plans for that wouldn’t take much.
This house looks like it has a nice harmonization of the main feauters — the single-pitch roof, the flat walls, the long patio platform, the simple staircases around the patio.
It has a basic painted wood interior, and they’ve left the 2X4 frame bare where the windows are.
It also has a small wood stove that would provide some heat and let you boil water for tea or coffee any time. This might be even better than a prefab because of the lightness of the construction — most prefab houses have a fairly sturdy, clunky look. However, this particular building was designed by the Danish team to be a summer home.
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