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December 7, 2012

Dwell's popular Home Tours included a Breezehouse by Blu Homes in Healdsburg as a bonus tour during this spring's Marin Home Tours. With our annual Prefab issue now out on newsstands, we paid a visit so that online readers could get a closer look and learn more about the prefab home's innovative design from its owner, designer Jo Cooper, as well as Blu Homes West Coast project manager, Jeff Morter. Enjoy our slideshow, and be sure to sign up for upcoming Dwell Home Tours near you!

Breezehouse by Blu Homes

Cooper and her husband went in for a saltwater pool, a welcome cooling-off hangout for hot Healdsburg days - though not the only one. The entire home is naturally cool, owing to its Breezeway design concept that connects different modules (in Cooper's case, three units) via a cross-ventilating walkway space. It's wide enough to house a large dining table, with room to spare. Though the pool was an extra, Morter notes that a cost-saving benefit of Blu Homes is that all of the custom design work - from finishes to faucets - is free of charge.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

Another shot of the pool and outdoor entertaining space. The pool is made with Pebble Tec, a stone aggregate that outlasts traditional pool materials like cement and fiberglass.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

The deck is shaded by an awning made of reclaimed factory catwalk. The deck itself is sustainable ipe wood that is heat, rot, and pest resistant. When planning the outdoor areas, Cooper wanted to preserve the native olive, live oak, and strawberry trees. "We didn't move many trees," she says. Morter smiles when describing the workaround solution. "We had to lift this [the prefab units] all in with a giant 350 ton crane, right over the trees," he says.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

A view of the xeriscaped backyard.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

One of many thoughtful modern design touches we like is the clear screen over the front entrance.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

The living room and Breezeway. "It's designed to conduct breezes, and the clerestory windows have a convection effect," says Morter. "We entertain a lot, and the kids love this space," says Cooper. "And the light has a really nice quality. We haven't put up curtains and I don't think we will, it's so private out here."

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

The kitchen features a Walker Zanger backsplash and Caesarstone counters. The plumbing is Kohler. Beyond is a walkway with storage cubbies that leads to a bathroom and guest room/office on the left, with the main entrance beyond.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

Every Blu Home ("There are nine in the Bay Area," says Morter) comes with the choice of a suite of high-end finishes and appliances; for the Coopers' home, Kitchenaid is used. Sub Zero, Whirlpool, and Wolff appliances are also available.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

Another view of the kitchen.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes Storage

One of our favorite features was the wall of storage cubbies leading from the main entrance to the kitchen. Cooper loves the cheerful dose of orange. The cubby doors neatly slide shut for a streamlined look.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

The second bedroom. Cooper and her family find themselves spending more and more time at the home, which was completed in April. In spite of its luxurious feel, the home's design carries cost-saving benefits. "There's no need for earthquake insurance," says Morter - a very nice feature in an earthquake-prone region. "These homes are engineered for snowstorms, windstorms, and earthquakes."

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

The bathroom features a "bathing cabinet" that is ever-so-slightly graded for drainage. "I was skeptical," says Cooper, "but it really works well." The railing was installed for safety.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes Floor Plan

A layout of the home and grounds. The home's three modules house a library, guest room with office ("Our daughter often stays here," Cooper says), master bedroom, second bedroom, kitchen, living and dining Breezeway space, and the storage wall.

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Breezehouse by Blu Homes

Cooper and her husband went in for a saltwater pool, a welcome cooling-off hangout for hot Healdsburg days - though not the only one. The entire home is naturally cool, owing to its Breezeway design concept that connects different modules (in Cooper's case, three units) via a cross-ventilating walkway space. It's wide enough to house a large dining table, with room to spare. Though the pool was an extra, Morter notes that a cost-saving benefit of Blu Homes is that all of the custom design work - from finishes to faucets - is free of charge.

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