Open House Obsession: The House of the Future Has Landed in Los Angeles– and Comes With an App
The past decade has seen a surge in interest from architects and designers in manufactured and pre-fabricated housing, spurred by a need for inexpensive housing and eco-friendly design. So far, the "inexpensive" part hasn't worked out so well, Americans have shown a profound lack of interest in cutting-edge design, and the financial crisis in 2009 shook out a number of the most innovative players.
Here in Los Angeles, we have Proto Homes™, a design-build firm that's ratcheted up its production to this high-end version of manufactured housing. Working within the framework of their system, they design, manufacture and build these innovative, flexible homes with both a very current aesthetic (check out their materials palette) and a glance back at vintage "Homes of the Future." And yes, each home comes with a tablet or iPad. It looks much like any new contemporary Los Angeles house, with traces of Mid-Century design. Yes, the turf is artificial.
Below, the living room and kitchen. The exceptionally high ceilings throughout the house are possible because Proto Homes™ is not constrained by standard lumber sizes– the walls get delivered to the site. We also like the radiant-heated concrete floors and that kitchen island on wheels.
There are four bedroom, two baths and a family room on the second floor, divided by partitions and cabinets. The top-floor master suite is swell, although unless you collect iguanas, that terrarium thing has got to go.
Nice pool. Again, more artificial turf, where it actually serves a purpose– keeping grass cuttings and dirt out of the pool.
Below, what was there before– a traditional 1920s house fully in context with its neighborhood. It was probably expensive to buy, and with the total costs of acquisition, permitting, demolition, construction, and fees, the asking price of $2.395M is probably right around the break-even point. On the other hand, it appears to be intended as an effective showcase for what the company can do. Whether projects like these are good or bad for a neighborhood's visual cohesion and historic value is another issue altogether.
Credit: Google StreetView
The listing link at top is to the consumer-friendly real estate site Redfin. For more images of the property, check out the listing agent's dedicated site, or the Proto Homes™ site for comprehensive details on their product.
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