May 19, 2004

This House Would Be Not Bad

Just in time for the whole personal-housing-crisis-maybe thing, I was led to this link a few days ago (by BoingBoing), where I found out about the Glidehouse, a modernist-style prefab house that's just entered production. Here are some pictures of the first Glidehouse (along with some other information), assembled and on display at Sunset Magazine's Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park. The one built for the Sunset exhibition only has two bedrooms, but three and four bedroom models are available.

I'm intrigued -- just ask Shelby how much time I spent talking about it after I got home Tuesday night. It has the modernist lines and large-windows-and-courtyards emphasis of the Eichler homes we like -- but can no longer even hope to afford, thanks to the price inflation of things that are hip. (And frankly, despite the stigma attached to prefab homes, it's undoubtedly far better built than the now forty- to fifty-year-old Eichlers, with modern energy-efficient construction.) It also reminds me of our current apartment -- light and airy with skylights and walls of windows.

There are a couple of downsides. The first is finding a place to put your house. There isn't much of a chance for infill; empty lots in existing neighborhoods in the cities we're interested in seem to be few and far between. For the few lots that have map locations and pictures, it looks like maybe the house that used to be on that lot burned down in a gang war. Still, there are some standouts -- a lot in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Pasadena, or a mysterious $6500 lot in Rancho Palos Verdes (this particular lot may not have any access to the street). We could move into the hills, but the super base price of the Glidehouse ($110-$120 per square foot) assumes that you're building it on a basically flat lot.

The second downside is the wait -- four to six months from order to move-in. But maybe we're humoring ourselves anyway when we think that we can come back to California, find a house we like at a price we can afford, and move in, all in short order ...

Posted by Kevin at May 19, 2004 07:54 AM