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New line of prefab homes emphasizes custom design

OpenHome is putting a bespoke spin on prefab

Rendering of timber home with asymmetrical roof.
Lake | Flato’s OpenHome design.
Rendering by Lake | Flato

When it comes to prefab housing, the promise of efficient construction can sometimes lead to less than inspired designs. OpenHome, a new prefab home design system, wants to prove otherwise.

A joint venture from veteran timber-frame builder Bensonwood and architecture firms Lake | Flato and KieranTimberlake, OpenHome will offer a series of prefab homes that can be customized based on the buyer’s site, layout needs, climate, and lifestyle. The initiative tightens the architect-builder relationship, and as a result, offers homebuyers the appeal of a bespoke design without prohibitively high costs and drawn out timelines.

Rendering of the interior of a wooden home with floating staircase and open dining area.
An interior view of Lake Flato’s OpenHome design, which will feature a material palette that enhances indoor air quality.
Rendering by Lake | Flato

Each OpenHome design can be tailored to the owner’s desires—think variations in floorplan, roof profiles, and exterior cladding—but construction follows a consistent, streamlined system. House components like floors, walls, and roof panels are designed digitally, then produced in a factory in New Hampshire, then finally assembled on site.

“Our ultimate goal is to build 80 percent of the home off-site,” says Bensonwood founder Tedd Benson, “but to start, we expect between 60-75 percent of the construction to be completed in the factory and increase as more products and finishes become available.”

Rendering of single-story home with slant roof.
KieranTimberlake’s OpenHome design.
OpenHome
Rendering of a room with glass doors to the outside.
A view of an indoor-outdoor studio space in KieranTimberlake’s OpenHome design.
Rendering by KieranTimberlake

The designs, which include an expandable single-story home by KieranTimberlake and an asymmetrical modern timber home by Lake | Flato, will start at $400 to $600 per square foot, but the studios hope to eventually bring down the cost.

“We recognize the OpenHome standards are currently a luxury that we aren’t able to bring to everyone,” says Benson. “But through this process, we intend to achieve an economy of scale that will start to tip the benefits of better building quality to every homeowner.”

Sales for Openhome designs will launch in April.

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