One Man's Getaway Solution: A Pre-Fab Blu Home That's Really Green
When Tim Disney decided to construct a vacation retreat in Joshua Tree, he asked for something compact, sturdy and hassle free, that would make a minimal impact on the environment. This is his answer.small towns throughout Southern Californina.
But homes manufactured offsite and then assembled onsite have come a long way, according to filmmaker Tim Disney, who selected Blu Homes to create a weekend retreat for his family of five in Joshua Tree, on a rocky lot near the entrance to the national park.“I heard about Blu Homes through friends who founded the company,” he said, "and this seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. He explained that he'd been involved in traditional construction projects before, and those projects experienced constant delays and took much longer than expected, not to mention the inevitable surprise cost increases. “With Blu, you have a fixed price going in, and it will be done to spec and on time.”
Disney's compound in Joshua Tree was created quickly. It has a main house made up of two “Origins” units connected by a site-built room. The main house comprises three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, dining area, and living room and sitting areas. All totaled, it measures about 1,600 square feet.
There's also a smaller pod they call “Baby Bear,” which is a 400-square-foot studio-type unit with a kitchenette and bath, nestled down among enormous boulders. “That’s everyone’s favorite,” he says. "They all like to stay there."
In California, the Origins units run from about $145,000 for a studio to roughly $210,000 for a two-bedroom. Then you can add about half of those amounts to the building total for typical site costs. Prices very from region to region.
The compound suits the needs of Disney's family perfectly -- he has a wife and children aged 17, 13 and 2. Sometimes the whole family drives out, sometimes there's a sleepover with several teenage friends, and other times it's just the two adults. The compound accommodates many different guest configurations. Someday Disney says he'd like to have a vacation home at the beach, but for now, the wild, "moon-scaped" desert suits them perfectly.
While Disney chose the Origins model for "its plain, flat top profile that’s very horizontal and seemed appropriate for the site,” it might not be for everyone. Those with a narrower urban or suburban lot might be more attracted to Blu's most recent addition, the Balance Metro, with 16-foot high ceilings. It includes all the same building and green features as all Blu Homes, plus some new high tech bells and whistles like motion sensor water-saving faucets, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, zoned heating and cooling, and optional features like electric car plug-in hubs and wireless multi-room Sonos sound systems. In California, it costs about $385 assembled. Always moving forward.