Sunday, February 03, 2008

And the Choices Begin

Our contractor has come back with the initial estimate for the house. The price is inclusive of the modular house itself, the septic tank, the rest of the utilities, and the permits. We still need to negotiate on paving, decking and so forth.

We've asked for HardiePlank rather than vinyl siding, and we've chosen a color called Cobble Stone.

We want wood floors. Actually they will be grass floors, to be precise, because we want bamboo. We had bamboo floors in our last house and liked them. This is the sort of bamboo flooring we want.

Lastly, we had to choose the brick we want for the foundation cladding, and this the sort of color we want:

There are still lots of decisions to make but, bit by bit, our home will come together.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A House Built in a Factory?

So when Frank and I were in South Carolina for Thanksgiving, we started the planning in earnest. My dream was to work with an architect to have a truly custom home -- one that was green, beautiful, and had all the bells and whistles. But I had woefully underestimated the cost of such a home. So, back to the drawing board.

Poking around the net I found the website for HandCrafted Homes

HandCrafted Homes is a modular builder. They build stick-build homes, but they build them in modules in their factory rather than on your site. Then they transport your modules to your site and connect them there.

Here are some of the benefits to building a modular home:

  • Speed of construction: Once you've signed your contract with HandCrafted Homes it only takes one-two weeks to build your home in their factory. And once they have it built, they want to deliver it and get it weather-tight.
  • Quality: Their factory environment allows them to keep their materials safe from the weather. Their workers are familiar with the tasks they work on every day. And each module (or "box" as they call it in the factory) is inspected at least twice at each construction step.
  • Strength: 110 mph-rated homes are their standard, and they can build houses with a higher wind rating. Their "boxes" have to be strong enough to withstand transporting them long distances, so they build stronger. For instance they glue and screw the frame footers to the floors instead of nailing them.
  • Energy efficiency: Handcrafted Homes seals openings like drywall joints, outlet openings and so forth in the factory.
  • Customization. You have options in construction (for instance, 2 x 4 framing is standard, but you can opt up to 2 x 6 framing). And just about any home design can be used for a modular home. They can work from your plans, or you can choose and customize one of their plans.

We toured HandCrafted Homes's factory in Henderson, North Carolina, and came away feeling this is the way to go for us.