After covering architecture and design for over two decades, Dwell is producing a 540-square-foot home you can live in, rent out, or put to other uses
Design publication Dwell has entered the prefab ring with Dwell House, a 540-square-foot accessory dwelling unit (ADU) produced and designed in collaboration with prefab studio Abodu, and Danish designers Norm Architects. Featuring a full kitchen, a bathroom, an open floor layout, and premium materials and fixtures from Dwell's extensive network of designers, the House is the result of a long-standing initiative to provide better, more affordable housing. And, on the other side of the pandemic (sort of), there's no better time for its launch.
The origins of the Dwell House go way back to 2004 when Dwell hosted a competition to design a prefab home that could be produced for $200,000. Dwell themselves built the winning design for a real family, and since then, the publication has been patiently waiting to produce a prefab home of its own. Now, two decades later, several factors have made production possible.
Even before the 2020 pandemic, for many folks, owning a single-family home on a single-family lot was no longer practical nor feasible, and COVID-19 only accelerated the need for alternate and more affordable ways of living. Multi-generational living, hosting, renting, and work-from-home have all become more common, and paired with rising housing costs, prefab construction is beginning to make more and more sense.
In a press release, Dwell CEO Zach Klein explains that the traditional housing market is plagued with complications for first-time home buyers. From unreliable contractors and endless permits to competitive and stressful house hunts, it not only takes money but also time to acquire a home—money and time most people don't have. The faster build and delivery of a prefab home provides more ease, and their smaller sizes often mean fewer permits are required. New ADU laws allowing for the construction of hundreds of thousands of new prefab units in and around major cities on the west coast also spurred the team into action.
As for the Dwell House itself, it's been meticulously designed to be "functional, not flashy," and fit for a variety of locations and uses. A thoughtful floor plan and the piece de resistance—a 12-foot folding glass wall custom made by NanaWall, create a spacious interior while keeping the overall size of the structure efficient for a backyard. The kitchen, storage, and mechanical are arranged along the long side of the structure, creating a utilitarian "spine" that allows for a more open living area and bedroom. Clever cubbies, closets, and shelves are also integrated throughout the design.
The House is finished in premium and durable materials, like sustainably harvested cedar siding from Real Cedar in black or natural stains, an aluminum roof, engineered oak floors, and concrete quartz countertops. Details like Bosch appliances and custom-designed outdoor sconces by Ravenhill Studio also come equipped in each Dwell House.
At 14 feet wide, 13 feet high, and 38 feet long, with either a standard deck or wraparound option, the Dwell House can function as a home office, pool house, rental unit, or whatever other use you can dream up for the space.
While Dwell was instrumental in the Dwell House's design, Abodu will handle permitting, construction, and delivery for seamless customer service. The Dwell House is now available for online reservation with pricing starting at $389,000.
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