car·riage re·turn

n. the lever or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left margin of the page



Every so often I’ll go until quite late the night before I post knocking around ideas in my head. This can make me very distracted,and sometimes I won’t get anything else done all night. Instead,I’ll just let ideas rattle around in my cranium for several hours while I stare blankly at whatever website I happen to be surfing.

I can tell I’ve worked myself into a writing habit because when I woke up one of my first thoughts was that I had to think about what I wanted to talk about tonight. The subject fell into my lap quite unexpectedly. I was thumbing through a magazine during lunch when I came across a brief article about prefabricated homes. The tagline was that these prefabs would make you entirely reconsider that particular style of home. The article couldn’t have been more on the mark.

Marmol Radziner is a company based out of Los Angeles that is turning the prefab market upside down. Their homes look like something out of Architectural Digest,fresh and slightly Scandinavian-looking in design. I’m not quite sure how to feel about a home that modern in style,but I really appreciate how clean the lines are with the large glass windows all over to pull in the view.

The number of windows and how they play into the structure made me think of shoji screens,actually,and I came to the conclusion that one would be quite aware of neighbors for some time after moving in,even provided with suitable blinds. But for someone situated on land that takes full advantage of the scenery around it,those windows would be a huge boon. The sense of spaciousness,even in the smallest model,must be rather intoxicating.

Of course,there are caveats and drawbacks. A decently-sized home will set you back $295,000,and that’s even before the land and foundation are factored in. If you don’t live close enough,you’ll have to pay for the transportation of the homes,as they’re completely prefabricated and furnished at the factory and trucked to the building site to be bolted together.

The homes are approved for sale in California,with Marmol Radziner working to secure approval to build in most Western states by the end of the quarter. The homes take six to eight months to build (less time for financing,building permits,etc),and the final installation process takes two to four weeks to finalize. The homes come with a three year warranty on labor,a 15 year warranty on the roof,and warranties on all the appliances inside. They use recycled steel and wood harvested by eco-friendly companies,and come with the option of solar panels as well.

Frankly,I think this is an idea that will come into its own. The buildings are very attractive and should generate plenty of interest in the housing market. They have a unique,almost mid-century Modernist look to them,very technically beautiful and interesting to the eye. Park a Maserati Khamsin in front and furnish it with some furniture by the Eames brothers or your favorite Norse designer and you’ve got something going there.

Then invite me over for dinner so I can gawk at the place for a while.


In a follow-up to my Wednesday post,my conversion to iTunes has been pretty painless. I love the software,and going through and organizing my music has been easy. Adding album art has been a lot of fun,and I discover something new about it every hour or so.

3 comments to Prefabulous

  • Great concept,but who wants a house with that many windows in the middle of the desert? Looks kinda like a pre-fab oven to me! Gorgeous designs,though.

    • Anonymous #3:Yes the Marmol Radziner house (dark gray stucco and stone) is their home. If I rmeember correctly it was around $6 million so I think you are correct,and it was bought from some big producer but I forget who. The Times [ridiculously] reported that they paid $15M for that one and $7M for this one –and boy,were they off. The other home is sort of u shaped I guess…more like a t intersected with a u. Beautiful,nonetheless. The master bedroom and bathroom are wall to wall custom walnut cabinets,and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so much Lagos Blue stone counters in my life! It really is one of the finest homes I’ve seen in LA lately. It was in the July 2006. I guess it is obvious that I’ve been drooling over this place for quite a while…

    • I LOVE THIS HOUSE.Aunt Mary,I don’t mind if Mama puts us to work as long as we all get a turn staying here. Mama,I’ll be woikrng Peacock Alley at the Waldorf when you want to pick up the cash . . . ;-) Joel,funny you should mention Taliesin East;I was thinking more along the lines of Taliesin West when I saw this. Wright is one of my most favorite architects and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many of his homes (public &private) and there is something about the compression of space leading to the outdoors of this house that reminds me of Wright. It’s almost a spiritual experience.Our summer home was a prefab and my brother builds them as well;most of his are of the dull neo-colonial type –if he were building something like this,however,I’d be woikrng for him in a hot New York minute.There could be just a little more xeriscaping around the house to accent the bold geometry;but the color palette is perfect for the desert,the openings wide and generous to let the outside in while keeping the strongest rays of the sun out,the furniture placement comfortable and subdued,and the siting is perfect. I want this house.I’m off to the Waldorf to earn my share . . .

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