cover image Prefabulous for Everyone

Prefabulous for Everyone

Sheri Koones. Gibbs Smith, $37 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4236-6359-1

Journalist Koones (Bigger Than Tiny, Smaller Than Average) delivers a convincing overview of the merits of prefabricated homes. Pushing back against those who “think of prefab construction as tacky and plain,” Koones tours 24 homes that “demonstrate the variety and beauty of houses that can be prefabricated.” She highlights the different prefab construction methods, showcasing a Wisconsin house built from a kit (using materials that were pre-cut and numbered at a factory), and a light-filled Los Angeles modular structure built from “modules or boxes” assembled off-site. Environmental considerations feature prominently, including a desert retreat in southern California built from reclaimed lumber and recycled metal, a houseboat in northwestern Washington with eco-friendly concrete moorings, and a Vancouver home that achieved energy efficiency by using airtight insulation. Blueprints, gorgeous interior and exterior photos, and descriptions of building materials provide a detailed look at each entry. However, Koones’s contention that prefab homes can help alleviate the affordable housing shortage is undercut by her focus on lavish homes whose costs are seldom discussed. Still, this makes a solid case for the high-end possibilities of prefab home design. (Apr.)