road trip

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A little over a week back from the island and we jump in the car for a little road trip.

To North Carolina.

A little research on what to build (and how to build) on our site pointed the cosmic arrow in this direction.

Three things converged.

One prefab developer that has outrageous success rates for homes surviving hurricane climates.

Another that has that going for it, plus its green building practices.

And finally, the architect that I had contacted months ago.

All in the same general area.

So, me wanting to let no moss grow under my feet (at least for now when I can still feel some momentum from our trip) I contacted all three for meetings and in the case of the prefabs, tours of the factories.

Although I had a great phone conversation with the intern at Frank Harmon's office, with the promise of an email with all their pricing info, and being left with the hope of potentially meeting Frank on Monday ("I'll check and let you know", she said very positively), I got neither. And no reply even after I sent another email reminding her that we were driving seven hours (ok I didn't say that, but I did make it clear where we were coming the math).

Oh well, two out of three isn't bad.

Now that the modern/all green/super cool/prefab building is all the rage (or back in with better design) I have been looking at this option for our building. The problem is that now that it is so in vogue, what once was an economical way to go is now costing just as much as a custom built home.

So much for the prefab/everyone should be able to afford a home revolution.

But there were a couple of companies that have been doing the passive solar thing before it was cool. In fact one of them started in the sixties. And since then they have fine tuned their process and perfected their product. And one of them seemed to not hike the price in the process.

So sunday Bryan and I threw a bag in the car and drove to North Carolina. A lovely night in eclectic Asheville with the promise of more info the next day.

Monday morning we met with a kind rep from Deltec, Dave. Sweet and chatty, he showed us around the factory explaining all the benefits of his product.

But really, seeing is believing, and that is why we went there.

When first encountering this as an option I was not excited about the dated look of a round house. In fact I had almost expected to hate it in person, and then at least we could check that option off the list and move on.

So much for that.

The advantages started to stack up as we got more and more info.

• They are hurricane resistant and built to code as standard. It is just what they do.
• Once your foundation is poured, the shell goes up in a few days with a crew of six.
• Having shipped all over the world, the product is built for a shipping container. Shipping paths are in place.
• They have built on Long Island.
• We could erect a shell and then do all the finish work ourselves.
• Because of their special truss system they have no load bearing walls which allows for some really creative options with designing the interior.
• Several round structures might just lend itself well to the vibe of an artist retreat.

Some of the challenges we are facing with building in the bahamas include not being able to oversee the progress. If we were to build a conventional structure we run the risk of things taking a very long time, costing more than expected, laws changing, or any number of things that can spin out of control. That is why this option has some appeal.

The disadvantage in my mind is the perception of this kind of "kit home" for the purpose of resale. The thing is we are not just building a home, but more of a compound. So I may be trying to accomplish one thing while considering another. The people that bought the lots down the beach from us (one doctor, one lawyer) will probably be building big contemporary custom homes, or the traditional bahamian style. It's a guess. What will our artist colony seem like?

Ok, I am regressing into random thoughts. But, reality is that we are not rich folk with cash to burn. We need to get creative, do a lot of work ourselves, so our options may be unconventional.

is that so bad?

little model of a deltec prefab structure


1 Comment

This is so cool. I like the idea of a round building maybe at least for the main building then other more intimate buildings could follow. As long as it doesn't spiral into some 60's hippie type compound I think it could fit just fine into the layout of the island and the other homes. By the way when you were in Ashville did you go up the Blue ridge parkway to the big art shop/museum/studio? Marcia and I went there when we were back there a year ago. I got a great Raku pot.

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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on January 22, 2008 10:19 AM.

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