Remote Control
By Dwell and Zachary Edelson / Published by Dwell
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A family selects prefab to make sure their new home, located 1,700 miles away, is turnkey-ready upon their arrival.

With their peak business season looming, Rebecca and Peter Gadd didn’t have time for building a home. They were living in Minnesota, and they wanted to move themselves and their pet apparel store, Gold Paw Series, to their native Portland, Oregon. But the e-commerce venture they’d started left their schedules severely restricted: "Things get really busy in August, and there is no breathing until January or February," Rebecca says. Moreover, they had chosen an area outside of the city where they couldn’t find an existing house to suit their needs. The solution was prefab: "We thought this was a way we could build a house that was modern while we were still living in Minnesota," she explains. 

Daunted by the challenge of building a new home in Oregon from their existing residence in Minnesota, Rebecca and Peter Gadd chose a prefab design by Stillwater Dwellings. "The packages and set design options kept us from feeling overwhelmed," Rebecca says. 

Daunted by the challenge of building a new home in Oregon from their existing residence in Minnesota, Rebecca and Peter Gadd chose a prefab design by Stillwater Dwellings. "The packages and set design options kept us from feeling overwhelmed," Rebecca says. 

Photo: Jeff Amram

After reading about Stillwater Dwellings in a magazine, the couple chose the company, which works with modular and panelized prefab, to design and build their future residence. While Stillwater can customize its designs, the Gadds were happy to be hands-off: They opted for the 2.5-bedroom SD221 model with practically no modifications. The home features all the Stillwater hallmarks, such as a plate-steel canopy and sheet-metal visors. The only alterations? A dividing wall in the garage to keep their classic car extra safe and a small expansion in the master bedroom. Aside from the furniture and decorative finishes, Stillwater specified practically everything, from the doorbells to the windows. 

Four rows of narrow "light shelves," a stylistic signature of Stillwater Dwellings, wrap around a corner wall in the double-height living room. A modular carpet by FLOR covers eucalyptus planks from Cali Bamboo. The leather Violino sofa was purchased at an overstock warehouse.

Four rows of narrow "light shelves," a stylistic signature of Stillwater Dwellings, wrap around a corner wall in the double-height living room. A modular carpet by FLOR covers eucalyptus planks from Cali Bamboo. The leather Violino sofa was purchased at an overstock warehouse.

Photo: Jeff Amram

The home took 15 months to build and was ready just in time for the Gadds’ arrival. Although the couple have moved around quite a bit—this is their seventh house in six years of marriage—Rebecca says they already feel at home: "That was the surprising thing about it—given that we were involved in the design so little, it was interesting to me how naturally we fit in it."

Over­looking the living room, a small loft area for watching television features a Movie Sofa by CB2 upholstered in Bayoux blue fabric. By building vertically, Stillwater was able to spare the home’s wooded surroundings. 

Over­looking the living room, a small loft area for watching television features a Movie Sofa by CB2 upholstered in Bayoux blue fabric. By building vertically, Stillwater was able to spare the home’s wooded surroundings. 

Photo: Jeff Amram
For the open kitchen, Peter, a former chef, ordered a colorful Bertazzoni range through a showroom in Portland, then decorated the rest of the space around it. The fixture contrasts with the neutral walls, which are painted in Rodda’s Dove White.

For the open kitchen, Peter, a former chef, ordered a colorful Bertazzoni range through a showroom in Portland, then decorated the rest of the space around it. The fixture contrasts with the neutral walls, which are painted in Rodda’s Dove White.

Photo: Jeff Amram
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