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WeeHouse Kit Houses: Like Building with Legos

5/17/2011 4:26:55 PM

Tags: weeHouse, Alchemy Architects, kit house, small kit house, modular kit house, small prefabricated house, modular prefabricated house, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailNeed a house? If you can provide the foundation, module seaming and utility hook-ups, weeHouse can do the rest. Created by Alchemy Architects, weeHouse is a prefabricated modular housing system that can be placed anywhere that is accessible by truck. Available in four standard models designed to suit most sites and lifestyle needs, weeHouse was inspired by sustainable design principles such as building small and efficiently.

The original 435-square-foot weeHouse Studio, with a sleeping area and a bathroom, retails for $79,000 to $89,000. Because of highway and road restrictions, the architects designed a 14-foot wide transportable module that can be snapped together with other modules—like Legos—to make larger homes. Since its inception, the standard weeHouse has evolved into a line of structures that are used as homes, offices and studios. WeeHouse Pair, for example, combines two of the modules for a three-bedroom, 1,450-square-foot home that retails for $185,000 to $209,000.

Most weeHouses are prefabricated in an independently owned factory and trucked to be “set” on site. Each standard weeHouse comes ready-made, with tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring, tile floors and showers, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, EPDM cold roof, primed gypsum board ceilings and walls, electrical and plumbing systems, appliances, fixtures and cabinets. Alchemy will subtract the price of appliances from your home if you prefer to buy local, and the company will customize your weeHouse with greener materials and systems such as  active solar, geothermal, green roofs and other solutions as applicable. 

WeeHouse meets International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) standards and is stronger than many site-built structures because the frame, doors and windows are secured to withstand being moved and the subfloor and sheetrock are glued and screwed to the frame. Fully insulated with R values of R19 in the walls, R35 in the floor and R44 in the ceiling, the homes have vented roofs that temper extreme heat or cold. Standard exterior siding is corrugated steel, available in many colors and finishes. “Container siding” made of highly durable cement fiberboard with vertical battens, or “corncrib siding,” a horizontal rough-sawn pine rain screen finished with solid or semi-transparent stain, are also available.  

“Ideally, we see consumers purchasing modules as customizable, off-the-shelf products,” Scott Ervin of Alchemy Architects told The Wall Street Journal.Most car and computer manufacturers offer a way to build or customize your own car or computer on their Web site. We are hoping to be able to make enough progress in the next few years toward handling the permitting and volume issues in various locales to allow modern dwellings to be ordered in much the same way as cars and computers.”

weehouse snow 

The original weeHouse module is 435 square feet. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects 

weehouse crane 

weehouse crane 2 

The modules are trucked to the site and "set" in place. Photos courtesy of Alchemy Architects 

weehouse kitchen 

Bamboo flooring and sliding glass doors are standard features. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects 

weehouse bedroom 

The efficient design includes a sleeping loft and a curtained-off sleeping area. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects 

weehouse moab 

This weeHouse in Moab, Utah, is by necessity off the grid. Photo courtesy of Alchemy Architects

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Post a comment below.


5/31/2011 7:03:16 PM
This IS a simple home and it is beautiful! Face it, life is expensive!

Jason Fields
5/22/2011 12:15:23 PM
If you think $80,000 is a reasonable starting point for a prefab home, then you're pricing a big segment of Mother Earth readers out of the market. Many of us are trying to do more with less out of necessity. I'd personally like to see more articles about building simple homes out of wood, stone, or whatever material you might find abundantly in various parts of the country. What people like myself need is technical advice about the types of tools we need, how to properly use and care for them, and basic information about building techniques, plumbing, and electrical (composting and off-grid, if possible) that's as efficient and economical as possible.

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