Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dream Home

As indecisive as I am, I at least know that someday, somehow, I would like to have a home which reflects me and my stylistic choices (read: modern, simple, low key). I also understand that the chances of me finding something perfect is unlikely unless I build it myself. Or pay someone to build it for me at least. But I will not likely have the money to pay a fancy architect to design a whole house around me, nor would I like to spend that much time with such a type A personality as many architects tend to be (I wrote all, then remembered my friends moms original profession, and so changed to many; I can't over generalize...). So. Where do I go from there?

Lucky for me, the modern housing movement has provided tonnes of choice for people who want clean,(sometimes) green, cheaper than building from scratch type housing. While my location (read: occasionally, no scratch that, frequently disgustingly cold Alberta, Canada) means I have to do a lot of research to find houses which will meet my insulating needs, all is NOT lost! This may actually make things easier since I am able to readily dispose of many of the choices available simply because they do not cater to my climate.

Me and my husbands top choice at this time:
The amazing FlatPak. I drool when I visit this site, and love the flicker albums of proud home owners. The approachable rhetoric within the site's FAQ and explanations is inviting, and creates a rapport (with a website... Crazy I know.) The fact that FlatPak is versatile and changeable is part of what gets me excited, because I don't want a house which is exactly like everyone elses, which is the downside to most modular homes.

Second on my list, and mainly due to not having that choice attached:
The Royal Q Series. This Canadian made company certainly offers some beautiful structures. They also have the more traditional modular spaces, but this line of cabins and urban options are quite attractive.

I really admire the m-house which utilizes every nook and cranny of space, and is really cute, but I really desire to have something slightly more open and house-like- as if I was living in a house.... I live in a 500 sq ft loft right now, and the layout for this 1000 sq ft. model doesn't appear much different.

If people are looking for prefab choices for their main home or for vacation homes at their local lake or acreage (I give them props for reducing their carbon footprint by staying close to home!) I suggest these two sites for linking to many different prefab companies:

Fabprefab list
This is my top choice, because it seems to have chosen only the best of the best.

This summary definitely provides a broad overview of many different designer styles, just helping people get going in the right direction.

The secondary portion of this post: do we really need more buildings? There are many places here in Edmonton which are basically abandoned, zoned for business, which would likely be really interesting conversions into single unit or multi-family homes. Yes, they would be industrial and weird and not every ones cup of tea. But would it be better to convert these buildings rather than increasing the urban sprawl and developing yet another piece of land into a residence? Would the amount of structural changes needed cost more than just building new with the innovative choices available from some of the above websites? What if we started using disposed goods to make more things? (If you visit nothing else, visit this link. It's the funnest.) Or would finding ways to use these goods be more work than what is saved?

I could digress further into the cyclical state of our world and waste, and how to solve the ever mounting problems. Instead, I open the floor to you, readers. What's "better"? New green housing, or converting an exsisting space into desired housing?


  1. Not sure there is a "better" but perhaps "something for everyone" since some will prefer the former and some will prefer the latter. I've seen shows where old libraries, fire houses and other commercial buildings have been renovated to become a home. Really cool! Also, I have to tell you that you and my DH have exactly the same taste: simple, modern. I like it well enough too, but I sometimes find "simple" to mean "stark" which I don't like. I like color and warmth and cozy. I like wood and texture, but definitely lots of windows and light! Anyway, I hope your dream is fulfilled one day and you get to live in the house of your dreams. I hope to enjoy that someday too!

  2. Many large cities have converted unused churches (the people having found a little less use for religion than the religious buildings) into apartments, which would be super-cool to live in. Living on top of one another is a reality of the modern world and the way the average human being lives. Plus, you take up less space that way, rather than having a whole acre and a half to yourself. Not that there's anything wrong with that...just that the majority of humans couldn't live that way if we wanted to actually leave space for other creatures and, you know, food. I'm a big fan of not taking up more space than you need. Greening cityscapes with rooftop gardens and insulating with straw homes are great ideas. Modular homes are good, too. My mom's retirement home is being built in pieces and it looks fantastic!

    Don't move too soon, though, lady. I still need my snuggle quota filled.