Green Prefab at a (Relatively) Bargain Price

Green Prefab at a (Relatively) Bargain Price

The New York Times recently picked up on the story of Thomas Small and Joanna Brody's Culver City, California, house designed by Whitney Sander of Sander Architects.

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

Green Prefab at a (Relatively) Bargain Price - Photo 1 of 1 -
David A. Greene
Dave has contributed to Dwell since its inception. He's a CalArts dropout, a former art critic for The New Yorker, and a producer of comedies on TV. He lives in, and writes from, Los Angeles.


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