I recently stumbled on some great new discoveries in my quest to find affordable ways to build my dream house. First, I was ecstatic to discover a fellow Chicagoan who is living my dream and blogging about her experience. Kathy is a city planner who had all but given up on her fantasy of building a stylish, affordable prefab home in Chicago. Then she found Square Root Architecture and Design, a Chicago-based firm that has grand plans for their Urban-C3 home concept. The mini-site for the project states, “The U-C3 is designed for the middle-income budget, integrating a holistic approach to the building process by merging economy with ecology.”
The main components of Kathy’s new home will be built in a factory in Indiana and assembled on site in the lot she and her significant other have purchased in East Village. (I believe their max budget for land was around 70K.) The architect estimates the home can be completed for about $125 per square foot (cost of land excluded), but Kathy’s craving for high-end appliances and a few pricey design features have pushed her budget up to around $175 per square foot. Still, that’s fairly reasonable considering most modern single-family homes in Chicago sell for $300 per square foot and up (at least from what I’ve seen).
Kathy’s blog details some of her efforts to build a home that is both hip and eco-friendly, including her quest for the perfect kitchen cabinets. She wanted something that was a bit higher-end than what you might find at IKEA and low on toxic chemicals. She settled on cabinets from Eco Urban, a Chicago-based cabinet manufacturer of modern, NAUF (No Added Urea Formaldehyde) cabinetry. The site doesn’t offer any pricing info, but given the company’s emphasis on affordability, I’ll definitely be checking them out when I have new place with a kitchen calling out for a remodel.
In other prefab housing news, I recently found a site with very concrete pricing info on some cute, boxy homes called the “LV Series” that are being built near St. Louis by design firm Rocio Romero. The base model LV home has two bedrooms and two baths and the price of a kit starts at around $36,000. The homes can be shipped around the country for between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on your distance from St. Louis.