Friday, September 25, 2009

The Clayton i-house model, a second visit

The first time I toured the i-house model in Albuquerque in July, they were still working on it. I wanted to see it again, finished and get some more photographs. All the finish work is done, everything gleaming, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is really beautiful!

Sometimes modern interiors can feel sterile, but the i-house doesn’t. It feels warm, clean, spacious yet comfortable. There’s something about the wedge shape of the roof line that makes the rooms in the core feel less boxy than most houses. At each end, the wedge shape opens the house out, to the outdoor deck spaces.

I took some more photos, HERE. (These are mixed in with my older photos, but the first 40 or so are the new ones, click on "slideshow" for full page.) Looks so much better with the furniture in, without dust on everything, and with the railings and roof deck.

Here's another Flickr photoset of the ihouse, of 16 photos taken by Kelly. If something looks a little different from my set, not only is the outside light not as intense, but the floor plan is flipped on this model.

Sitting inside the flex unit, it had a comfortable feel too. On my first visit, if you read my more extensive review, film hadn’t been removed from the doors, there was a thick layer of dust and drywall coating spatter on the edge of the floor, and other things hadn’t been installed. Worse, it was a hot day, over 100 degrees inside because the air conditioning hadn’t been installed and windows had been shut. Today it was cool, the A/C wasn't even on.

This time it felt a lot different. I could think. The rooms all have pleasing proportions, nice light and are visually pleasing. The roof deck makes all the difference in the appearance of the flex unit.

The salesman said they are selling well. I could see three more i-houses in the lot ready to go out,getting the finishing touches before delivery. No one has ordered the one-bedroom core unit yet from the Albuquerque factory. I was hoping to take a peek inside one of those, but they were all 2-bedroom core units like the model.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another green model from Clayton, the ehome

Here's some more photos from a dealer's site.

An article in BusinessTN, announces that Clayton is introducing another green home, the "ehome," which will be priced at between $50 to $60 a square foot. (The i-house is priced at $92 to $120/sq. ft.)

While I like the window placement, and transom windows, the insulation seems poor, even compared with a single-section model I toured, the Karsten SF-50

The Karsten single-wide had R-19 insulation in the 2 x 6 walls and R-50 in the ceiling. The 9 foot flat ceilings in the Karsten give it a stately, spacious look inside, and it has to be the best regular (non-i-house) single-wide interior I've ever seen, although I haven't seen them all.

One thing better the new ehome does better compared to the Karsten single-wide, is the exterior appearance.

It doesn't say on the site, the ehome appears to have 2 x 4 walls which is disappointing to say the least. The Karsten SF-50 has 2 x 6 walls, something which I think is well worth the money. Thicker wall structure means the wall will be less likely to warp, and also it allows for more insulation and more substantial feel to the interior. For example, window sills are thicker.

With this ehome, if you are considering it, get the drywall option. The panel with the seams...well, I hate it.

I think it is good they are offering a house for people on a very low budget, but this design is nothing to write home about. I was hoping for a small double shed-roof, double-wide, with clerestory windows, or at least a shed roof. That is, something different and a little bit exciting.

Now that I've seen more photos, it has a unique roof line. The gable side in the front is very short compared to the slope in the back. That's pretty cool, but will have to see it in person to tell you what I think of that. The other thing that is nice about it, is the deliberate placement of most windows one side of the house for solar gain in the winter.

Although conventional builders are doing it only in a few places, I would like to see a manufacturer do double 2 x 4 walls, with almost a foot of insulation, like about R-40 in the walls. Either that, or SIPS, which are structurally strong and can be insulated to about R-30 or more.

Clayton is still working with their existing factory setup, as are all manufacturers of homes, so it would cost a lot to change something like wall structure.
June 24, 2010 blogger's note:

This month, I saw the ehome, took video and photos, and review it in my blog post HERE. After seeing one with drywall, and touring the interior space, I love it.

Also, the sidewalls are upgradeable to 2 x 6" and better insulation. The website doesn't mention this upgrade but if you ask they can do the 2 x 6" upgrade for under $1000.

One comment below is from a person who says they work at an architectural firm and this ehome isn't green. I thought the same when I first looked at it to see the standard insulation. However, with good insulation, this is a green house, for this price range. Most people can't wait around in the rain or live in a cheap apartment until they have $600,000 for an architect to design them a zero energy home.

It is also green to select a home like this, that is HALF the size of the average new home. Green has to take place in small steps.