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December 24, 2008

Michelle Kaufmann's new mkHearth is a semi-prefab house that evokes old-timey barns and vacation-destination chalets. Like all of Kaufmann's celebrity-architect-branded housing products, the mkHearth is a panelized, earth-friendly building that essentially costs the same as similar (if less sophisticated) custom-built homes, but due to efficiencies in transportation and manufacture, saves time (and ergo, money) from contract to construction and completion.

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For most of Kaufmann's designs, the real cost savings come when developers build a passel of the same house in proximity, and pass the savings on to the end-user. So the game-changer with the mkHearth is the design: If you associate slanted roofs, walls of glass, and HardiePanel siding with 7-11s and urban elites, then you'll love the mkHearth. A traditional farmhouse style on the outside, with a modern emphasis on light and space on the inside–plus all the requisite green bells and whistles–it's something a suburban or rural developer, and his or her buyers, can feel good about.


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