It’s been a hell of a year for relentless modular machine Blu Homes. Over the past 12 months, the Massachusetts-based prefab powerhouse has opened its first West Coast production plant, released a new home design dubbed the Sidebreeze (actually a tweak on an old favorite), been tapped to create the 2012 Sunset Idea House in Sonoma County, designed a desert retreat for a descendant of Walt Disney, and embarked on an affordable housing project in partnership with Homeward Bound Marin. And I’m guessing I’ve left a couple things out …


Now, just in time for the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Tweet n’ learn n' schmooze fest, Blu Homes has announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based Modern Cabana, an eight-year-old designer and manufacturer of mostly permit-free prefabricated accessory dwelling units — or, as they’re better known, fancy backyard sheds in which to practice yoga, create art, conduct business, or stash Granny when she’s in town for an extended visit.

I’ve covered backyard prefab accessory dwellings and sheds extensively in the past but until now was unfamiliar with the work of family-owned Modern Cabana. The tireless CEO of Blu Homes, Bill Haney, describes the maneuver in an official press release issued from Greenbuild 2012:


Modern Cabana helps customers build small and beautiful spaces like yoga studios, carpentry shops, playhouses, garden sheds, workshops, home offices, and simple storage space. They are ideal sister products to Blu’s more spacious Origin designs, which offer fully conditioned living and work spaces, and can serve a multitude of purposes from bedroom additions to elegant and playful homes. I’m excited to expand Blu’s ways of serving our customers with the addition of Modern Cabana’s designs. Modern Cabana’s commitment to high quality design, building integrity, and green ethos make it a superb addition to the Blu family.

Currently, Modern Cabana offers a trio of fully finished accessory dwelling units: Functional Cabanas (120-square-feet at $11,500 without installation); Upgraded Cabanas (various sizes up to 300-square-feet with prices tags ranging from $15, 375 to $38,980); and the Studio (a “deluxe” option with a bathroom, kitchenette, and 300-square-feet of living space). Custom units, playhouses, and dog houses are also available. The company uses FSC certified framing, lumber, and siding along with recycled denim insulation, bamboo flooring, and other high-quality, long-lasting materials in the construction of the panelized units. Each built-to-order home is shipped flat-packed as a kit and can be assembled in a single weekend. It’s unclear at this point how — or if — the designs will change under the ownership of Blu Homes, a company that's trademark is an innovative, steel framing technology.


The modern Cabana line will be produced in Blu’s Vallejo, Calif. factory and the first models will be available for purchase in early 2013. If you're attending Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco — the conference and expo wraps up tomorrow — be sure to pop by the Blu Homes’ booth (booth 5628W) in the West Hall of the Moscone Center to learn more about the acquisition. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Blu Homes taps into mod outbuilding market with new acquisition
In conjunction with Greenbuild 2012, prefab firm Blu Homes announces the acquisition of Modern Cabana, a family-run company specializing in stylish accessory dw