Cozy. Charming. Traditional. Of the many descriptors that leap to mind, prefab isn’t one of them. Yet this island guest house, designed by Studio 29 and built by Method Homes, arrived on Orcas Island as four modules, and was put together with cranes in less than a day.
The modules employ traditional stick frame construction, most of which happens in Method Homes’ Ferndale, Wash., factory. The benefits of factory construction boil down to time and efficiency. Buildings proceed side-by-side, allowing for bulk purchase and economic use (and reuse) of materials. The company claims a material waste of less than 10 percent. Factory construction reduces exposure to the elements when sections are not yet finished, and limits disturbance caused by trips to and from the home site.
Modules are constructed side-by-side in the factory with standard “2 x 6” framing and plywood sheathing. Framing lumber is regionally harvested Douglas-fir. Clients can request FSC-certified lumber.
Modules take four to eight weeks to build, and arrive on-site 85 to 90 percent complete, with interior finishing, fixtures, windows and siding. The Buoy Bay modules arrived only partially sided, so workers could install the steel straps necessary for the building’s structural integrity.
Though barges and ferries carry modules to the San Juans, most of the time they’re shipped on flat-bed semis, one per truck. Method Homes uses Acc-U-Set Construction to deliver and install many of its projects. “They go just about anywhere we go,” says Peterson.
Acc-U-Set and Millican Crane Service work together to set the modules. Reps from Method Homes are always on-site the day of the set, too.
Modules are insulated and partially sided before shipping. The Obstruction Pass modules feature board and batten rainscreens and cedar shingles. Rainscreens are often used in the rainy Pacific Northwest.
The back side of the house includes a shallow pitch roof sited to optimize the 3.4kW solar PV array.
The cottage includes many Craftsman touches: beadboard ceilings; nooks and built-ins; knee braces; frame and flat panel wainscoting and classic Craftsman cornices.
The house includes an electric radiant floor, aluminum-clad windows, and Jenn-Air Energy Star-rated appliances.
1500 square feet or less,
aluminum clad wood windows,
radiant heating systems,