November 24, 2004

The Dwell Home The contest: Design and build a home for around $200,000. The results are stunning. Perhaps there's hope for those of us who would rather not live in boring boxes after all.
  • $200,000? Burst, bubble, burst!
  • Wow, man, we're about to spend a hundred thou or so putting something new up on the block we live on and it'll be a palace as far as we're concerned.
  • But what's the point? I've seen a lot of these contests and socially conscious architecture projects, but nothing like it ever reaches the market. When I can actually buy a halfway decent house for $200k, then I'll be happy. It's like how the Eames' intent was to bring good design to the masses, but now all their 'cheap' plywood chairs sell for $500 at herman miller.
  • Rolypolyman: Your wish may come true fairly soon. All I know is that real estate is overpriced in Philadelphia. Better to rent and stay fluid until the buying bubble bursts and things become relatively normal again.
  • It's like how the Eames' intent was to bring good design to the masses Solid point, but decent industrial design does tend to percolate down. If it works. Ish. And the Eames measured a lot of asses. Ever read Schrader on Schrader? Schrader, P., was pretty genuinely inspired by the Eames. He made a couple of fairly decent films, too. Oh, and some crappy ones too, but there you go.
  • I want a container home. There are apparently 25million shipping containers available on the second hand market every year. They have an at sea lifespan of about 10 years. The idea that someone can prefab a home then box all the bits back up within the home and ship it to me appeals.
  • I suspect the snob factor keeps more people from buying prefab. Prefab has a low-rent aura clinging to it that runs directly counter to the concept of a custom built house. Of course, most of these same people would happily buy in a cookie-cutter suburb. I've heard several speakers lately talking about recent cool developments in prefab, and while things seem to be picking up, prefab is still a hard sell.
  • I think youre right Nal, but its growing in popularity. Selling points for me are, the factory tolerances that you just cant achieve on site, minimal construction periods, recycling, and as you alluded to the fact that youre not in some repetitive suburban row.
  • Dwell magazine put up the results from their contest at their website but the full story is in the magazine itself. It's a pretty good read. The actual costs for the *first* house were somewhat higher, but as with all things mass produced actual costs come down with increased production. There were a few kinks they had to work out putting together the first house, but now that it's done they have a manufacturer who has experience in making the home and fairly firm prices for installations all over the country now. Then take a look at this one: This one is supposed to cost $160,000 to build. Of course, as with all things, your mileage may vary. I'm all with Rolypolyman and Alex Reynolds in waiting for the housing bubble to burst. Real estate is too expensive by far these days, and if these are true $200,000 homes, we could be in for some pretty juicy pickins not to far down the road. Burst Bubble Burst!!!
  • I don't know... real estate seems to burst last, after the rest of the economy goes south. I remember living in TX after the oil boom busted, and real estate went into the crapper. There were strip malls with one store in them all over the place, and houses with for sale signs that stayed up for a year or more. Sure, the houses were cheap, but no one had any money to buy them :)
  • Shipping containers are indeed cheap and useful. My in-laws just bought a piece of land on which to grow wine grapes, and they've plunked a container down to store the tractor and tools in until they have the resources to build a real garage. And after that it'll be a good, secure storage shed.
  • Meh, I don't think so. If I want a cardboard house, I can probably rig fridge and stove boxes together and have a 62 room palace. Add a tarp or two--wallah! waterproof roofing--in blue, green, or a tasteful grey. The rest are too open--especially for someone over 50 who runs around without her jeans on. NO, Pete_best, that was NOT an invitation to a pantless party.
  • I've been thinking about one of these. The cheaper ones are just about in my price range. A container home would be nice, but I just can't see spending the money on something like that, since more than likely I'll never have that much without winning the lottery.
  • drivingmenuts. I took a look at the site, really cool! I especially liked the 'B-52 Bungalow'
  • Most of these homes look like they would sit just fine on a one-acre lot in a rural sort of setting. Most of them really don't seem suitable for infill or replacement housing on urban 50 foot lots or for use in new suburban 35 - 45 foot lots.