This past weekend, Tim Disney (Walt's great-nephew) let the public in for the first time to see his prefab second home and guesthouse, set in the middle of a prehistoric-looking boulderscape in Joshua Tree. The two structures are the first in SoCal from Blu Homes (Disney is an investor, boardmember, and friend of the founder); the company actually bought early prefab pioneer Michelle Kaufmann's company after it went under and is using her designs. Every prefab company has a hook and Blu's big innovations are its steel framing and its foldable designs--its modules are manufactured in a huge facility up in Vallejo, then folded to fit on a truck, and unfolded and installed on site, allowing for a house that's wider and taller than a shipping container (huzzah!).
Blu has seven models; Disney's main house is made up of two Origin units connected by a site-built piece--one's a 49 footer (starting at $200k in California and Canada), the other is 37 feet (starting at $165k in California and Canada). All of the Origins are 18 feet, six inches wide. (There are higher costs for permitting in California; 37 foot Origins in other areas start at $150k.) The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,987 square feet. Ceilings are over 14 feet high, thanks to the folding. The property also has a 25 foot Origin guesthouse with one bathroom, which starts at $125k.
The site itself only cost Disney $40,000, but clearing boulders out, putting in a foundation, and hooking up utilities adds to the price quite a bit. Disney's opted for plyboo floors, Whirpool appliances, Kohler in the bathrooms, and corrugated metal panels on the exterior. He's also got a big composite deck with a trellis, neither of which are prefab. Construction of the modules takes six to eight weeks and a Blu rep tells us that they hope to have installed 100 houses by the end of this year and to triple that to 300 for 2013. Here's Disney's house being installed in its crazy Jurassic Park setting:
· Blu Homes [Official Site]