Dec 19, 2018

Green Cabin Kits Modern Prefab House Construction Project Updates On Modern Cabins And More!

Sneak peek at a modern prefab house announcement
I can start talking about in the new year!

As usual,  at my own prefab house,
when the temperatures drop
and the cookstove goes out overnight,
off grid with only a tiny firebox
heating the entire prefab house
we still wake comfortably.

At our modern prefab house companies, Green Modern Kits and Green Cabin Kits, we are having a very busy fall and winter. 

Here is a quick update, and I will be going in to each passive solar modern prefab house construction project in much more detail in the coming weeks.

In general, when potential clients ask for SIP fabrication quotes from the factory, I tell them the estimated time for fabrication of the panels is about 4-5 weeks.

Now, even in winter, this year I need to tell them 6-8 weeks, because that's how busy the plants are, east coast or west coast. It's not just the plants; the architects are slammed, the engineers' schedules are full... so if you are planning on purchasing a prefab home, what you need to know is that if you leave things "as is" and don't start customizing anything that would involve an architect or engineer, even so, it will be a few weeks longer than usual.

If you are really reconfiguring the prefab house design, expect much longer than you might think for this time of year, because it seems as if this summer's boom still has not ended and everyone is still going full steam ahead already before your project gets into queue! So my message to interested parties is: PLAN AHEAD. Start interviewing contractors now, not when you actually want the house to be purchased.

Now let's go over our current prefab house projects and a brief synopsis of where they stand:

The Wolftrot
This Dogtrot Mod modern prefab house from Green Cabin Kits has been modified for the Pacific Northwest and the client's lifestyle.

You can follow the Wolftrot prefab construction progress here.

As I mentioned, the clients decided to close in the breezeway between the main and guest units and create a solarium, changed the foundation, roof, and more to accommodate snow load and lifestyle choices.

These European clients have lived allllll over the world and have decided to settle on the west coast.

What makes this client particularly engaging is his quick understanding of the prefab industry, as he has a background in business, engineering, and, with his wife, has lived in architecture as diverse as restoring a hundreds of years old stone home in England, to also having built their own new homes in the States.

They are big fans of SIP, understanding that the consistent quality, energy efficiency and speed in fabrication of the structural insulated panels overcomes the slightly higher upfront price.

This prefab house will be sited discretely on this peaceful property, nestled near surrounding woods and overlooking the lake.

Currently, this project is in engineering.

The Austin Dogtrot Mod
Outside of Austin, this Dogtrot Mod modern prefab house will be a contrast to the Wolftrot in that it will be a standard, push-button prefab house as our architect envisioned. The only divergence from the design is that in order to site the modern prefab house correctly on the lot, the breezeway will be narrowed by four feet in order to remain within the easements of the urban lot, and the roofline raised.

Enjoying Austin with her family.

The client, Amber Gunn, is a savvy entrepreneur in the real estate industry. Here, the Texas native explains how she went from a degree in accounting into her love of real estate!

"While I loved financial analysis and problem solving, I didn't truly love the monotony of accounting.  I was hired as a business development representative for a title company where I mentored and coached realtors.  Early on, I knew that real estate was something I was very passionate about.

I got my real estate license in 2006 and my broker's license in 2008, and I haven't looked back!  I created my own brokerage called Austin Domain Properties in 2008.  As a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider (REAL ESTATE) and Master Financial Coach, I use my finance expertise to coach my clients in their real estate plans ranging from 1 year to the next 50 years. "

About three years ago, Amber reached out to us for information on a modern prefab house. We scheduled a conference call, and answered some general questions she had. Over time, she kept checking back, and in the fall of 2018 purchased a lot, called, and said, "I'm ready!"
And thus the process began.
Amber and son checking out their
newly-purchased lot.

What a great lot!

Currently this modern prefab house is in the engineering and permitting process, with structural insulated panels due to arrive in two months.

This Austin Texas prefab house project can be followed here.
The project shall be thus called, "La Rancho Pistola."
Amber GUNN you crack me up!!!

There is an R1 Residential modern prefab house on Lake Tahoe project...
Keep an eye on how they flip this floorplan!

A local Tahoe City design firm is adjusting the floorplan in the R1 Residential for the client, and an engineer has been engaged to adjust the roof for snow loads and local code.

The client is a modern design enthusiast, as is the designer.

What makes this prefab project interesting is that the client is flipping the floorplan- the kitchen and dining will be on the SECOND story. They are also building the R1 Residential modern addition.

The 18,000 sf lot is in an extremely restrictive zoning area, with heavy snow.

If you love Lake Tahoe you will love where this prefab is located! But for now, I will stay mum on that. : ) But I *can* reveal... it is on the west shore.

More details on this modern prefab house and project team, in upcoming weeks!

Currently, the quote for this modern prefab house project has been approved, and now moves to engineering, and the client wants to break ground in May.

Remember the R1 Residential Outside of San Francisco?!?
A *modified* R1 Residential
under construction outside San Francisco.

I am hoping to share with you interior and exterior photos very soon!

And finally, we have a Dogtrot Mod in the Northeast update!
The client enjoying the first snow of the year
in her Dogtrot Mod "Little Lab."

This client has been such a joy to work with. If you recall, she built the guest unit of the modern prefab cabin first as a retreat, while still living in her historic farmhouse.

It has finally come time to put her farmhouse on the market, and thus, she wrote that in soon she expects to re-start construction and finish the project.

Of note: she wants to finish with HEMPCRETE.

One thing to note is that a lot of these projects happen only after years of discussion, after many gentle leads turn into, suddenly, a very real project where the client has the loan, the lot is purchased, contractor lined up, and suddenly out of the blue I get that call that another prefab house is a GO.

Each prefab project and person is fascinating and is its own vibrant journey.  I enjoy learning about every client, their lot's unique character, their life.

In OUR own family and off grid life, as I have mentioned, we are enduring enjoying the persnickety smelly moody aura of teens the high school years.
Ok maybe they're not SO bad...
Ah, the teen years.

Like many families, we are doing too much, and I miss the steady confident-yet-quiet security of homeschooling on the farm, where you worked hard on your studies then spent the afternoons free outdoors. But then again, maybe back then I thought I was overwhelmed, too!

Halloween was great, Thanksgiving was great, with friends and family and even sailor friends reuniting, brushing our hair, and gussying up together.

So the teen years are good.

I just miss our quiet days allllllll together, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I guess.
The teens don't.
They want REAL SCHOOL and lots of KIDS who are not goats.

And thus, we do city -and- country, but there is no place like (a SIP, prefab) home.

And thus ends my musing and modern prefab house construction project update.
As my English clients say... TTFN!
Taa taa
: )

Sep 13, 2018

Modern Prefab House New Project On West Coast, On East Coast A Hurricane Nears Our Passive Solar Prefab

The Modified Dogtrot Mod Passive Solar Modern Prefab House in the Pacific Northwest Begins!
Passive solar modern prefab house from Green Cabin Kits: The Dogtrot Mod
This is the standard Dogtrot Mod, before modifications.
Ok now let's dig into this prefab construction project! 
Here are more pictures of our standard Dogtrot Mod modern prefab house so you can better see what the client changed:

Now THIS prefab house, a modification of our Dogtrot Mod in the Pacific Northwest, will henceforth be referred to as...

First: Wait. What happened to the Dogtrot Mod?!? 
The clients extensively changed it! 

They enclosed the breezeway to accommodate for their Northwest local conditions.
The breezeway is now a solarium!
They also changed the roofline to address snow loads / local conditions, as well as to add solar.

There is a basement!
HOWEVER, the basement is in just one area, and the rest of the Wolftrot prefab house rests upon slab. 

The clients also designed a garage to accommodate daily practical function as well as a workbench area.

We will continue on with the Wolftrot project after the hurricane!
What? Yep, on the East Coast, Hurricane Florence approaches, so y'all hunker down!

Is your area not directly in Hurricane Florence's impact and want something to do during all the hurricane's rain? Why not use that time to go through all your clothes, all your kids' clothes, try them on and if they don't fit, make a donation pile so that when this is all over, you have a bag ready for those in need. Sort bags by size.

I know my kids have been growing all summer, and in the Back To School frenzy this was a chore not yet done!

We did have a great summer.
A few videos, pictures at the end.
People ask why my blog posts have slowed.

Folks, in our family, we have entered The High School Years and they t'ain't pretty.
Not that anything bad is going on, but often, teens are NOT FUN.
They are moody, computer-y, irritating-y, angsty, emote-y beings so sometimes instead of wanting to write, which previously I enjoyed, I instead just ponder on how teens can suck the lifeforce and joy out of keep you busier than you anticipated, thus writing is not as fun, hence put on hold.

I will try to write more even though teens suck the joy out of writing and make me feel like a miserable haggard mom because I cherish these teen years, too.

If you happen to be parents of teens or have recently survived those years: CHEERS!
(And honestly, as chafing as teens can be, they really are great kids. And hardworking. And adorable.)
I feel like every day all I do is walk around screeching like this hawk I confronted after a kill.

It WAS a fantastic summer. But.
Now It's Back To The Off Grid Passive Solar Prefab House.
With Hurricane!
Reading Club:
  • Young People Don't Want Construction Jobs. And That's A Problem For The Housing Market 
  • From Forbes:
    "But innovations in homebuilding are delivering more affordable, sustainable housing, and that could relieve some of the pressure in areas where homes are hard to find....Prefab houses featuring design principles that save energy and reduce the homeowner’s carbon footprint can be a great alternative to traditional housing.

    The new tax law won’t immediately affect federal tax credits that were already in place to encourage the use of solar electric or solar water-heating systems in qualified residences or new homes. Homeowners can still take advantage of this credit when they purchase a new home with eligible renewable energy features. Currently, homebuyers can get up to a 30% federal tax credit for solar systems if they take up residence by December 31, 2019. After that, the tax credit is reduced gradually until January 1, 2022."
  • Amazon Isn't Paying Its Electric Bills. You Might Be.
    "Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion Energy Inc., had planned to run an aboveground power line straight through a Civil War battlefield—and Thomas’s property—to reach a nearby data center run by an Inc. subsidiary. After three years of petitions and protests in front of the gated data center, skirmishes punctuated by barking dogs and shooing police, Dominion agreed to bury that part of the line along a nearby highway, at an estimated cost of $172 million.

    Within a month, however, the utility and state legislators had passed on the cost to Thomas and her fellow Virginians. The state’s House of Delegates approved Dominion’s proposal to raise the money needed for the Amazon line with an as-yet-unannounced monthly fee."
  • Hog Farmers Scramble To Drain Waste Pools Ahead Of Hurricane
Anyhoo, I end this with lots... and LOTS... and LOTTTTTTTTSSSSSS of summer pictures, as we head back to our life off grid at our own passive solar modern prefab home. 

My pet skink who lives in the kitchen.
Oh. You don't believe me, do you. 
Check it out: Harold can even do tricks!

Yeah, I know, it's never the same as the real thing...
Race team!

Remember what I was saying about the teen years?
Want examples of how, uh, trying teens can be?
Well, there was this:
(PSA to fat lazy pool squirrels: FARM KIDS ARE FAST!)

Jun 17, 2014

Modern Prefab Cabin - The Tiny Little Lab Sends An Update!

Dear Modern Prefab Cabin Enthusiasts,

I have been thinking about the modern prefab house that is under construction in the northeast... If you recall, this client is "doing it backwards"- building first the guest house / office of the Dogtrot Mod, then, later this year, constructing the main unit.

The client is A Very Busy Woman. I don't want to bother her, asking for updates, being respectful of our clients' privacy...

So imagine my delight when I opened my email and discovered she had sent me an update on her modern prefab cabin house!

I hope you enjoy her tales as much as I do- they are stories of thoughtful reuse, a life well lived, creatively, joyously appreciating each moment... I especially am grateful that she is allowing us all in while it is under construction before she truly moves and unpacks and gets settled.

It's similar to when we camped, in our own prefab under construction, living there but not, unpacking yet not moved or unpacked, feeling out the spaces and angles and light, to make it truly our own!

"Hello Copeland and Damon,
I've been using the Little Lab more as a retreat than as a home, unwinding completely in the empty spaces, with  the windows open, and listening to the wind and birds.
The occupancy permit was received in early May, although the contractor still had work to do, but it came at the same time as intensive repairs to the old house I live in, including painting jobs I had reserved for myself. But as you know, life is a process and not a finished product, and I've been enjoying gradually cleaning, moving furniture in, and yesterday I started tung oil treatment of birch shelves and doors.

I did want to send you pictures of the rooms relatively empty, before they get filled with "stuff," and a friend stopped by with her camera.

Here are the results. First a long shot of the 7' wide kitchen. The appliances are all ordinary, energy efficient, and inexpensive. That heavy looking hood was chosen because I dislike the huge metal hoods that dominate a kitchen. This Broan model vents out the back, comes with a 4 watt night light and a regular cfl, and can be adapted for controls at wheel chair height. In the main Dogtrot no one will be viewing it from the side as in this pix, and it won't look this ungainly.

The birch countertop is part of IKEA's VARDE cabinet which has 3 large drawers and 2 shelves. The pot on the stove is Norwegian, mid-century, found on the streets of Philadelphia in Society Hill! Wish I had a close-up for you.

2nd pix is of my coffee corner (who'd believe there would be room for one!) shared with Marmoleum stored for the main unit. The Cesca chair rip-off was found thrown out at the university, and of course it needs repairs. The rug is fair trade, purchased from Vivaterra years ago.

3 & 4 are the bathroom shelves made by Joe, a student of the building trades who graduated this spring and is working with my contractor. Birch plywood leftover from the floor was used, and it was 11" wide, just about perfect for this space. I was concerned that people would bruise themselves on sharp corners by the tub, and asked that they be rounded. Well, just look at that perfect job! Joe sanded and sanded; you cannot snag a towel on the edges. He is a good worker and happens to be quite bright.

And that is a teak storage stool from Gaiam, along with their organic cotton towels that have been saved for this special place.
5 is the temporary closet frame built by Joe. Eventually an old upright piano will be moved here, and the closet will be much smaller. Homasote covers the pump and water heater, and, that little piece of wood in the bottom left of the picture is redwood from my cabin on the Mendocino coast of California.

6: Kanjiro Kawaii was a potter who worked with Hamada in Japan, and I read this poem of his at the Palmer Museum at Penn State University when I was experimenting with various paint colors in the Little Lab. So appropriate. Serendipity.
"I paint and paint
And still I cannot spoil
Patterns traced
On the vastness of the sky"
7 & 8: Shots of the bed moved here, a single to take up very little space, with a few handmade, mostly fair trade pillows. The latest is the large indigo-dyed cushion made of hemp by a tribe in Vietnam, on the left.

Oh. I did break down and buy one piece of furniture, the Pavillion black night stand from Crate and Barrel. So glad I did - it has 2 drawers, a shelf for books, and a spacious top for a lamp and clock radio, all in a compact, very attractive shape.

9: Am trying paper on the windows. This was packed around the ph5 and looks ruched (hope that's the right word), like a textile. I like the effect. As you can see, glare is an issue, and the windows do need to be covered.

Copeland, if you use this photo in your blog, please edit out the mess!
(Copeland's note: WHAT MESS?!?  : ) )

This is a long break from moving "stuff," and I must get back at it on this fine June day.
Till next time!"
My own modern prefab house,
off grid, from Green Modern Kits
Turkey not included.

THANK YOU, PREFAB CLIENT, FOR KEEPING US POSTED!!!! It really means so much to me that she lets us in, allowing us all in to her own story, to see and experience her own prefab cabin's individual home site, conditions, lifestyle. I am so grateful. Like my turkey, I enjoy peeping into the windows of other's cool lives!

Back at our own off grid prefab, we ready for summer adventures and the back and forth that, in my family, for which the season calls.  I hope all of our modern prefab house enthusiasts are having a great start to the summer season.

Kind regards,
Copeland Casati
copeland casati
6902 park ave / rva 23226 
804/ 515-7886

...The prefab cabin sister site to