5 Design Perks of Choosing Manufactured Housing Over Site-Built

Anyone who’s done even a minimal amount of channel surfing over the past few years can attest that the number of shows devoted to renovating, rehabbing or restoring homes has never been higher. From the shiplap-loving devotees of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, to the Property Brothers’ familial swagger, these well-watched shows tend to unveil the nitty gritty of how site-built homes are often a pain to transform, requiring months of manpower and (of course) plenty of money to achieve a more modern-looking design.

Manufactured homes, on the other hand, don’t require months of smashing through drywall and ripping up ugly carpet to achieve a stylish look. Instead, prefab housing, modular and manufactured, is becoming a leader in forward-thinking architecture and design—and doing so at a fraction of the cost to traditional site-built homes.

1. Eco-Friendly Design: Manufactured housing doesn’t just carry a smaller ecological footprint because of its low-waste construction process—the design elements of the homes themselves are also a means to an (eco-friendly) end. From solar panel capabilities, to wind turbines for electricity production, to cooling rooves, to energy efficient windows, the list of environmentally sound designs for manufactured homes goes way beyond simply throwing cans in a recycling bin. Not to mention that many manufactured homes are EnergyStar rated, LEED-certified and beyond.

2. “Smart” Tech Design: The streamlined construction process for prefab properties means that it’s simple to include “smart” technologies into the very fiber of the home, from voice-activated temperature control and lights to built-in speakers and safety systems. Austin-based company Kasita, for example, has made their prefab properties completely catered towards individuals who want a house that’s not only sleek and small-footprint but technologically personalized from the moment they move it. (If you like it 68 degrees at all times, never fear: your house already knows!)

3. Modern Design: Sure, site-built homes can have antique charm, but what about when updates are needed? Time to whip out the checkbook (and the calendar). They may pack in six months’ worth of housing upgrades into a tight 30 minutes on television but trust me nothing is that tidy in real life. Manufactured housing, on the other hand, is completely customizable from the get-go (high-end gas range and jacuzzi tub, anyone?)—without the headaches of contractors, material estimates and waiting months for the upgrades to happen.

4. Think Big, Live Small Design:
From Scandinavian-style, barebones coffee shops to the best-selling book that taught us how to throw away anything in our homes that doesn’t “spark joy,” there’s been quite the push recently towards minimalist living. This has allowed manufactured housing an additional chance to shine, as it has a natural ability to create spaces that allow for more “mindful” living free from basements, attics—and, by proxy, corners of the brain—where clutter can collect.

5. Artistic Design: Manufactured housing is even being embraced by avant-garde artists and high-end architects as a means of creating the “next generation” of housing. Architect Jennifer Siegal, who has won multiple awards for her work with manufactured housing, notes that her design philosophy isn’t about reinventing the homes themselves, just shifting the layouts and materials used to be more aesthetically pleasing. “My work has been about the materials, and also the space—making bigger windows, or making more of a connection between indoor and outdoor, choosing different types of volumes,” she told Metropolis Magazine in 2016. “I haven’t necessarily rethought the structure, I’ve just rethought how the materials are introduced. That has, I think, been the genesis of so much of the work.”

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