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The Great Prefab Debate [UPDATED]

Update 5/19/11: Chad Ludeman & Co. just had a baby son last night, so the debate will delayed until Thursday, May 26, 2011.

As you may know, I have a lot of interest in factory-built homes and prefabricated construction techniques.  Some of this comes from living in Japan and seeing how big companies like Panasonic, Sanyo, and Toyota fabricate their homes.  The rest comes from a fascination with homes and technology, as well as years of writing on the topic – can you believe we have nearly 340 articles about green prefabs.

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Chicken Coopsickle on a Steep Incline Site

We’re building up a nice archive of chicken coop designs these days.  Reader Matt Wolpe of Just Fine Design/Build just sent us photos and details of his Chicken Coopsickle in California.  He designed this to work on a woodsy site with a steep incline — it’s planted in concrete with a redwood post.  Floating steps run upward to the hen house, which is made with interlocked half-lap joint flooring, Tennessee red cedar siding, and a plywood gusset topped with a single sheet of aluminum for the roof.

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New Handmade Tiles from Clayhaus

Portland-based Clayhaus Ceramics is now offering handmade ceramic tiles in a modern array of colors and several shapes and sizes.  The new company, founded by the husband and wife team of Jason and Megan Coleman, was formed out of Stardust Glass tile when the Colemans left the glass business.  Now with a focus on ceramic products, Clayhaus is offering beautiful tiles to order in a studio and facility that is completely powered by renewable energy.

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Modern Chicken Coop in Urban Seattle

Check out this lively, modern chicken coop by Nicole Starnes Taylor of MAKE Design Studio.  Taylor designed it for three chickens and their owners in urban Seattle.  With a screen floor and castors, the mobile hen house fertilizes the underlying ground.  Also, the coop has a hinged door for easy access and can be used as a chicken tractor if need be.  Taylor built the 15 square-foot coop with salvaged framing lumber.

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Bazzèo in a Kitchen Preservation Project

Earlier this month, the Historic Savannah Foundation gave a preservation award to a 54-year old, mid-century modern home in Savannah, Georgia.  We were able to get some detail and photos of the kitchen renovation aspect from Bazzèo, a New Jersey-based manufacturer of green kitchen and bath cabinets.  The design retained the original kitchen layout, but water-damaged kitchen and bath cabinets were replaced.

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Stillwater Dwelling Built in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara prefab by Stillwater Dwellings

Some of the best prefabricated homes seem to be coming out of the Pacific Northwest from companies like Stillwater Dwellings, the design-build firm behind this new home in Santa Barbara, California.  The Seattle-based firm, founded by a seasoned builder and developer and architects formerly of the firm now known as Olson Kundig Architects, differentiates itself from others with a trademark soaring butterfly roofline, energy-efficient designs, sustainable materials, and a predictable construction budget.

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