Wedge House – Prefab Modular Plus Custom Design

The Wedge House in Durham, North Carolina is part modular home, part custom design. The home’s wedge shape was created by using 3 modular prefabricated homes. A single modular is on one side, while the other two are stacked opposite with a slanted roof connecting the two. As prefab homes have greater control on tightness and building quality, they are often considered to be more efficient homes built with less waste. Custom homes though, tend to fit the lifestyle of the inhabitants better. This wedge house is a great example of a blending of the two design styles – prefabricated modules worked into a custom design.

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Studio B, a Durham-based architecture firm is responsible for the wedge design andBuildSense took care of the construction of this 1,829 sq ft home. A nearby factory built the three modulars, in a controlled environment with the aid of computers and specialized machines that helped maintain building integrity. Factory fabrication has many advantages over on-site building, like minimizing waste, higher tolerances, less gaps in the building envelope, properly installed insulation and less exposure to moisture and the elements. By the time the modulars were delivered on-site, they were ready to be dropped into place.

methenymodule-2Before the modulars even arrived, careful site work was done to determine the optimum orientation for the house to maximize solar passive design. A concrete crawl-space was poured and then the modulars were placed on top and then sealed tightly. A shed roof was laid over the modulars to create an open, airy living space.

The kitchen, dining and laundry occupy the single modular, while the bedrooms are placed in the stacked modulars – the master bedroom and bath are downstairs, and two bedrooms with a shared bath are upstairs. The living room is airy, open and still cozy at the same time. Because the house is modestly sized, what would seem like a giant space, is actually quite comfortable. An outdoor/indoor screened-in patio sits right off the living room for a nice place to sit and relax.

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High efficiency windows and doors were installed along with 2 x 6 wall framing for larger insulation cavities in order to improve energy efficiency. The homes floor plan was designed for energy efficiency, comfort, usefulness and natural ventilation. Rain screens were installed along with the exterior siding to prevent moisture damage and improve the efficiency of the envelope. Exterior cladding and materials were chosen not only for their looks but also because they were low maintenance. Polygal Fenestration, Galvalume corrugated metal siding, and Cyprus wood were used as cladding materials. With the busy lives we lead now, spending time and money maintaining homes these days takes away from quality time with our families.

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Inside the home, modern finishes and rapidly renewable materials give the home a clean yet natural look. Interior rooms were well designed to maximize the space, which included built in cabinets, study nooks, and a screened-in porch. The large windows in the living and kitchen area provide ample daylight to minimize the use of lighting during the day. And to top it off, the house was built on a modest and very affordable budget.

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