Offered at $674K, This Hybrid Prefab Is in Tune With the Californian Desert

Offered at $674K, This Hybrid Prefab Is in Tune With the Californian Desert

By Jenny Xie
In the high desert landscape of Yucca Valley, California, the rectilinear Graham Residence cuts a striking figure against the monumental boulders, junipers, and piñon pines that dominate the undulating terrain.

The visual contrast doesn’t signal an antagonism with the environment, however—the Blue Sky Building Systems home makes use of an eco-friendly, light-gauge steel framing system that helps it perch lightly on the land instead of relying on a flat slab or continuous perimeter foundation. Because the components are precisely manufactured and rapidly erected on the site, the system is efficient, economical, and ecologically-minded. "The day this house was completed, you would have been excused if you thought it had been there a long time—so minimal was the disruption of the natural landscape, including plants and trees immediately adjacent to the house," says Blue Sky Building Systems cofounder David McAdam. "It was almost as if the house had set down from outer space."

Designed by Palm Springs-based o2 Architecture, the two-bedroom, one-bath residence was built in 2011 for a Canadian client who used it as a winter retreat. Now priced at $674,000, the home offers a unique connection to an iconic setting. For more information, visit the property website.

Despite the remoteness of the lot and the challenges it posed, the light-gauge steel frame was erected in days, and the entire home was completed in two months—a testament to the ease and efficiency of the prefabricated system. The building sits on upright columns that are bolted to independent concrete footings, giving the home the illusion of floating.

The home features an open floor plan with a combined living room, dining room, and kitchen. Clerestory windows punctuate the perimeter, allowing natural light to illuminate the space and forging a connection to the outside environment. The home features interior design by Christopher Kennedy.

The main living areas enjoy access to a front deck as well as a more private back patio shared with the master bedroom. Thanks to prefabricated exterior wall panels known as STEPS (Steel Thermally Efficient Panels), the house is well-insulated and resistant to fire, rot, mold, and termites.

The kitchen boasts cabinets from a high-end Canadian vendor. Large cork tiles run throughout the home.

"It was almost as if the house had set down from outer space." - David McAdam

Both bedrooms are a step away from the outdoors and have integrated cabinets along one wall for seamless storage. 

The back patio forms a corner between the master bedroom and main living area, creating a contemplative space for reading, relaxing, or simply enjoying the view.

Manufactured with up to 70 percent recycled steel, the hybrid prefab home limits construction waste to the factory, where it's recycled. The efficiency and lightness of the resulting build is another environmental advantage. 

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