No iHouse? No Problem

Our top choices today are TimberCab by FABCAB and Element by BLU. Both nicely thought out, smart finishes, good sizes. Both fabricated in a controlled environment for reduced waste and more efficient and rapid build and completion in the field. Both seem well insulated and sealed.

The TimberCab has better proportions for us with 30′ X 35′ sides. The 30′ short side allows us good margins for garage doors placement below.

Five years ago, two years into full-timing, we announced our affair with iHouse. Not enough of you bought it. Our time to buy still was ahead. And Clayton Homes no longer offers the iHouse. S’okay, lots of choices.

There’s nothing wrong with our current manufactured house, nor with our lifestyle. In fact, we love it. We’ve always enjoyed browsing floorplans. Window shopping doesn’t require committing prematurely. Someday we may want a house in NC. P’haps we’ll know what it may look like.

A favorite question we get is, “Do you still love full-timing?” Easy to answer – “YES.” Explanation – “We’re still living the dream. When we don’t love living and traveling full-time in our Airstream we can make a change.”

We like manufactured and panel-built prefabricated options. The TimberCab homes and BLU homes are two attractive examples. Others you know of?

Chilly in Corpus Christi


11 responses to “No iHouse? No Problem

  1. I believe you folks are like me in your enthusiasm for not only prefabs, but good well designed modern architecture. Unfortunately most Americans do not share this feeling and end up in the houses our subdivisions are full of. There are a lot more choices in other parts of the world. The failure of the Clayton Homes iHouse is a perfect example.

  2. As a former homebuilder, I would do research on alternative methods of building and once built a custom home with prefabbed walls. Interesting experience. There was definitely less waste at the job site. Stay warm. I’m teething at the bit to head to AZ.

    • Yep Ingrid, we’d be in Mesa right now if commitments didn’t have us in Corpus area the next 2 weeks. Too, we’ve wanted to see this area. Who knew we’d face really wet and cool wx? S’okay, sunny and drier today and up to 54 degrees.

  3. The TimberCab is beautiful! I love the big windows and open spaces. Definitely larger than an Airstream! There are two interesting articles in February’s issue of Country Living. See you two next week.

    • First time commenter! Welcome, Euna. Like you, we’re impressed with the glass southern elevation. At our location the solar gain should be all good, and the north-facing roof is R-40, I think. Might be a nice place to be year-round someday.

  4. I fell in love with BLU homes’ breezehouse years ago and have been searching for the perfect prefab since. Like you I would enjoy roaming the country to find the perfect little spot but I am way behind you; just started the Airstream adventure last year.

    In the meantime, I am loving the concept and product from a TX based firm called the Porch House. Take a look:

    Good luck in your search and keep posting!

    • And another 1st timer, eh? Welcome!
      A lot to like about LakeIFlato designs, for sure. We appreciate modular, LEED design, and the layouts look nice. Thx for sharing this with us.

  5. I like the concept very much as well as the products both suppliers show on their websites. It is unfortunate the two companies you listed are located on the west coast. Transporting the prefab sections across the country to NC will likely be costly. It may take a while for clean minimalist modern design to develop enough of a following in our part of the country to justify building a factory in the southeast. I look forward to hearing more as you continue to explore modular housing.

    • Yes, their packaging is nice. Many of our favorites are NorthWest US or Calif coast. It’ll change, perhaps in time for us. If not, the cross-country transportation is perhaps not impossible. Heck, we see lots of trucks fully loaded out with timbers and dimensional lumber plying the interstates.

      The iHouse was built in at least two plants we toured — Albuquerque NM and Maryville TN. That’d work, except they couldn’t get the very large (15.6′ X 66′) module to NC mountains. Wrong side of the Great Smoky Mountains, twisty curvy narrow other roads? Doesn’t matter anymore, and 102″ trailer rigs can go more places.

      It’s been 35 years ago I worked with a builder in Asheville NC building homes with prefabricated wall panels and roof trusses. We would arrange a block foundation wall and frame a first floor system. A crane would lift entire sections of 2X4 stud wall, with gyplath and siding already applied, into place. In one day, our crew could attach all the walls, attach the roof trusses, sheet the roof, and tarpaper it. Dried in in one day! And like Ingrid said, very little cutting waste. Today panel-built often refers to structural insulated panels (SIPS). Seem all to the good, and may be what we work with for a house.

  6. I trust you have considered a local architect and builder. I always thought it would be gratifying to have drawn your own plans with an architect, just the way you want it, and have local crafts-persons bring it piece by piece to reality. Would be cost be that different? I realize there are lots of options with catalog housing these days, also. But to have designed YOUR house might be so fulfilling!

    • I wonder if the cost of custom design/build can compete? My architect brother-in-law seems to agree with you on this. He suggests the cost might better be controlled with local architect and builder. Plus we could avoid shipping something all the way across the country. Thanks for bringing this up — I somehow never had gotten around to asking him about it. Duh!

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