Compact, Light-Filled Prefab

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By Diana Budds
Method Homes’ compact Element 1 prefab model rises to the challenge of a difficult building site.

Karen Kiest’s plot of land on Marrowstone Island, Washington, came with a surfeit of scenery—it overlooks Puget Sound—but suffered from a dearth of buildable space. The lot is near a bluff and a stream and has a wetland on and adjacent to it. "The [house’s] footprint became critical," says Kiest, a landscape architect. She considered modular construction as a way to streamline the building and permitting process for her weekend retreat, and researched a slew of firms. The clincher was finding out that architect Chris Pardo was developing a line with Method Homes.

Compact, Light-Filled Prefab - Photo 1 of 1 -

Architect Chris Pardo designed the Element 1 model for prefab builder Method Homes, cladding it in Cor-Ten steel and cedar. Pardo’s design “is the definition of simple, elegant, straightforward building,” resident Karen Kiest says.

"Besides the great stable of architects, I selected Method because its cofounder, Brian Abramson, was so enthusiastic," Kiest says. "I was glad I chose the company when I visited their building facility and realized it wasn’t a ‘factory,’ but just a bunch of great guys creating beautiful structures." Consulting with Pardo, Kiest selected the 800-square-foot Element 1 model. "Larger prefabs are impressive, but while this design’s footprint is small, it has floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings and gorgeous fixtures. Who could need anything more?"