Who said you can't teach an old prefab new tricks?
Although Sunset magazine’s 2012 Idea House, the Breezehouse, has been around for a good while now — to be clear, this is a repeat performance from the iconic green prefab as it first appeared as the West Coast shelter mag's Idea House back in 2005 — it has drastically evolved since Massachusetts-based modular startup, Blu Homes, acquired the design back in 2009 from architect Michelle Kaufmann’s late, great namesake firm. Scheduled to open for public tours this August in Healdsburg, Calif., the new Sunset Breezehouse is bigger, badder, and, well, breezier than its predecessor all the while remaining true to Kauffman’s original focus on indoor/outdoor living and clean, modernist design.
The butterfly-roofed Sunset Breezehouse is now a two-story affair with higher ceilings and updated green technologies, but details that cement the marriage between flexible indoor living and the great outdoors are the main draw: 16-foot wide sliding glass doors, elevated deck, kitchen garden, detached “Breeze Pod,” and outdoor entertaining/ lounging areas aplenty are just some of the homes's features. And since the home is being installed in Sonoma County wine country, there’s also an integrated wine cellar. You gotta have a little vino to go along with all that al fresco chill-time, right?
In addition to its grand Sunset debut this summer, the in-progress Breezehouse was open to previews last month at Blu Home’s new Vallejo, Calif., factory so that the public could get a better grasp of the company’s super-efficient precision-building methods including a patented steel-framing system and innovative folding technology (click here to see another Blu Home, a relaunched Glidehouse, be "unfolded" on Vashon Island, Wash.) before it's shipped to Healdsburg for installation.
Says Bill Hanley, president of Blu Homes, in a recent press release:
With an indoor-outdoor aesthetic and elements that accentuate a relationship with the natural world, Blu’s homes — especially the Breezehouse — are a perfect fit for California wine country and Sunset’s enlightened readers. We are delighted to have Sunset magazine’s support in bringing this iconic design to life with a new generation of smart and beautiful features for a new generation of homebuyers.
From the sounds of it, Blu Homes is taking Sonoma County by storm as the next-gen Sunset Breezehouse isn’t the company’s only project in the region. There are already four existing Breezehouses in the area and Blu Homes is currently working on a whopping nine additional projects in Sonoma including four that are also in Healdsburg. Several of these projects are Breezehouses while there's include a Glidehouse and two homes based on the Element, one of Blu’s original designs not acquired by mkDesigns. Although all Blu Homes are fully customizable and look somewhat unique, you'd think with all these modern green prefabs sprouting up in such a small area that some homeowners would suffer from "whoops, I tried to get into the wrong car in the parking lot" syndrome.
Head on over to Blu Homes to learn more about the Sunset Breezehouse. In the coming weeks and months up until the home's official debut in Healdsburg as the 2012 Sunset Idea House, Blu Homes will kick off an "under the hood" video series detailing the ins and outs of the home and launch an interactive 3D walk-through. It's also worth taking a gander at the design in which the Sunset Breezehouse is based — a 3-4 bedroom beauty that starts at $515,000.