Method Homes Makes Bespoke Prefabs That Don’t Have a Factory Feel

The company collaborates with architects on one-off, module-based designs that promise clients a mix of customization and quality.

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Brian Abramson founded Method Homes in 2007 with the intention of using modular construction to streamline building—without sacrificing on good design or craftsmanship. In both residential and commercial construction, Method has endeavored to walk the line between efficiency and quality by mixing prefabrication with on-site work, recruiting architecture firms on a project-by-project basis, and staffing a rigorous in-house team of designers. Here, Brian tells us the specifics about how Method Homes manages to achieve consistency in their prefab offerings despite their bespoke approach.

Peter Brunner had already designed this home on Nelson Island, British Columbia, before asking Method Homes to construct it. The building is made from three prefabricated, already-furnished volumes shipped to the remote site by barge.

Photo by Kevin Scott

What’s the most exciting project you’ve realized to date?

We are fortunate to have built many exciting and complex projects on islands, mountaintops, in urban environments, and other beautiful settings. Method has completed over 400 projects since its inception.

Some favorites that come to mind include a recent project. Set on a mountaintop, the property was a gorgeous off-grid site on the Monterey Peninsula, with 270-degree coastal views. We are currently also building above the base of a ski area in Washington, working on several picturesque island projects in the San Juans, and completed a house in the hills above the Napa Valley.

Some of our other diverse and memorable projects include three modular cross-laminated timber hybrid homes, which were fire rebuilds in Greenville, California, ten units of workforce housing to Rico, Colorado, three backcountry huts at Frog Lake near Donner Summit, and affordable housing projects on Lopez Island and in Fort Peck Montana.

An indoor outdoor connection and seamless integration into the natural landscape are things clients consistently like about their homes.

Peter designed the main house as two modules under a shed roof. The primary volume includes the kitchen, dining room, and primary bedroom. A shower room and second bedroom were placed in the smaller unit.

Photo by Kevin Scott

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Peter lined the home's interior with whitewashed Douglas fir and left the structure exposed.

Photo by Kevin Scott

What does your base model cost and what does that pricing include?

We primarily build custom projects, so the square-footage costs, fixtures, and finishes vary. Our predesigned models range from $300 to $375 per square foot before transport, install, and on-site costs. Method’s custom architectural homes tend to be $300 to $450 per square foot for the modules prior to transport, installation, and on-site costs. Our workforce housing projects are landing around $250 to $300 per square foot for modules at the factory—again prior to transport, installation, and on-site considerations.

We are seeing all-in budgets for custom projects starting at $400 per square foot and ranging all the way up to $1,000 or more per square foot. While this is costly for large portions of the U.S., our offerings tend to be competitive in the markets we build in, particularly once time savings are factored in.

The kitchen pictured here belongs to a two-story house in the San Juan islands.

Photo by Blueprint Media

This bathroom is from a hillside home in Oakland, California, that Method Homes built in collaboration with CleverHomes and Toby Long Design.

Photo by Hawkeye Photo

What qualities make your prefab stand apart from the rest?

Method has a long track record of executing complex builds. Our strength is our team, most of whom have been with the company for many years. Our employees have the collective knowledge, craft, and dedication to build to the quality our projects demand. We view ourselves as builders first and foremost and are not trying to be a building tech company, although we do prioritize innovation.

Virtually all phases of construction are performed in-house, from design and permitting, to framing, electrical, finishes, and final installation on-site. This gives us the unique advantage of having full control over virtually the entire building process, which significantly reduces the risk of delays or mistakes. We also proudly employ over 50 local professionals and craftspeople from our community.

Method Homes collaborated with Atelierjones to rebuild three homes that were destroyed by the 2021 Dixie Fire in Northern California.

Photo by Lara Swimmer Photography

Designed and built according to the California Wildland Urban Interface codes to be fire-resistant, the three passive-house prefabs were made from locally sourced mass timber.

Photo by Lara Swimmer Photography

Where do you ship/where is the prefab currently available?

We currently build on the West Coast, and in the Intermountain West. This includes the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.

Are there plans to expand to different parts of the country/world?

At some point in the future, we will increase our geographic footprint with a hybrid panel and modular core product, which has a larger practical range.

Designed by Make Ground Design and built by Method Homes, this relatively small build on the Salish Sea was made from two modules brought to the site by ferry and installed with a crane.

Photo by Blueprint Media

How long can a client expect the process to take after they put down a deposit?

From the time a client provides a deposit for their home or project, we typically need two to four months of procurement and lead time, and then another four to five months from production to install. From this point, a project can be completed in a period ranging from two weeks to one year after delivery, depending on the overall number of modules, project complexity, build location, and many other variables. Typically, our homes are built start to finish ten to twelve months. This would be a reasonable timeline for a 3,000-square-foot, six-module house.

The design, engineering, and local permitting process varies greatly depending on the jurisdiction and project scope but typically take six to twelve months.

Method Homes has also undertaken several non-residential projects. In addition to working with Miller Hull Architects to build a theater in Seattle, the prefab company teamed up with Grouparchitect to make a mass timber yoga studio in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, California.

Photo by Boone Speed

What aspects of an install do you manage?

We handle permitting, sometimes in conjunction with a local architect. We also collaborate with local contractors for on-site work, both before and after the modules arrive. The Method team manages the transportation and installation of every single build we undertake. We are engaged and involved until a project is complete.

What aspects of the design can a client customize?

Clients can select virtually any finishes, fixtures, appliances, etc. Our in-house interior design team, along with our architects, carefully vet all specification packages for compatibility. We also verify lead times and conformity with all code requirements, to ensure timely delivery.

Situated between two hills just outside Napa Valley, this residence was designed by Signum to be constructed from eleven modules prefabricated by Method Homes.

Photo by Bruce Damonte

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