Green Prefab at a (Relatively) Bargain Price

Formerly known as "House for a Briard" (named after the owners' dog), it's evolved into a 4,200-square-foot, family-friendly house for the couple and their two new kids.

The requisite green touches include passive solar heating, a gray-water system, recycled blue-jean insulation, and bamboo floors. While the concept of a big, modern, eco-conscious home is nothing super-special on the west side of Los Angeles (which has seen a lot of similar tear-down, build-up green/modern/prefab homes erected over the past decade), the huge news here is the price: If the New York Times fact checkers are to be believed, the whole structure cost $528,000 from soup to nuts.

The bottom line is sort of staggering: around $126 per square foot. In the world of urban construction–even prefab–that's unheard of. Granted, a lot of that square footage is air space, but it includes a mortgage-easing rental unit over the garage, which further burnishes the home's Joe Sixpack (or Joe the Plumber) street cred. By all accounts, this is a house built for real people; and in the coming lean times, it may be a model for former Masters of the Universe, and plain ol' Citizens of the Universe, who want to build a house of their own.

(Trivia note: According to Catherine Holliss, the house's interior designer, the concrete floors were stained with Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's.)

Photos by Claudio Santini/via the New York Times

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