Prefabulous

2008 Robert Bruss Real Estate Gold Book Award

Normally, I am turned off by real estate books with clever, cute titles such as "Prefabulous" by Sheri Koones. However, I am "turned on" by this great, new, beautiful book that completely changed my mind about so-called "prefab" homes, which are custom built in factories to the specifications of the buyers. As with all Taunton Press "coffee-table-quality" books with lots of color photos, the only word to describe this one is "amazing." It includes all prefab systems that are used to engineer and assemble homes in factories, then ship them on trucks to the home site. Panelized, log, timber-frame, concrete, hybrids and steel-frame homes are included. As famous author and home designer Sarah Susanka says in her forward to the book, "For some people, words like modular, manufactured, panelized and prefabricated conjure up visions of ticky-tacky subdivisions in which every house looks just the same. But the biggest story in 'Prefabuous' is that just because something is made in a factory doesn't mean it has to be boring or the same as hundreds of other houses." This ultracomplete book not only shows the many varieties of prefab homes now available, but the author has done an admirable job of educating readers about what they need to know. If you are considering building your home on a lot you already own or want to acquire, this book will open your eyes to show what can be done with prefab homes, which look like custom homes but cost a lot less. The many examples and explanations show what can be accomplished. On my scale of one to 10, this superb book rates an off-the-chart 12.

--Robert J. Bruss, Inman News




Americans build about 40,000 modular homes a year. Imagine if new-home buyers and builders realized all the advantages of building a home in a factory setting. No exposure to the elements. No loss of materials. No work days lost to bad weather. The ability for more precise measurements. In Prefabulous: The House of Your Dreams Delivered Fresh From the Factory (Taunton Press, $25), Sheri Koones gives readers an up-close-and-personal look at the modular industry. Unlike site-built homes, modular homes often are built stronger, with tighter insulation and more efficient use of materials. Koones' book examines modular structures from Long Island, N.Y., to San Francisco and building techniques that range from sticks to concrete. If you're considering a new home, this book is a must-buy. - Newsday




[Koones] clearly explains eight types of prefab components and how they can be used to create custom log homes, traditional bungalows, timber-frame barns and concrete- or steel-frame contemporaries. All are welcome improvements over their often-ugly predecessors. Prefab construction saves time, money and materials because everything is made to precise specs indoors. Bad weather is simply not a delaying factor. Once the foundation is set, the rest of the house -- walls, floors, dormers and roofing -- can go up in a matter of weeks or months. How prefabulous. --Annie Groer, The Washington Post




It's clear from the title that Sheri Koones' new book isn't going to tell us that there's something wrong with the resurrection of prefabricated home building. Prefabulous glorifies the technique by showing beautiful homes that even an expert would not guess had been built, in pieces or in whole, in factories. That's OK -- as Koones tells it, this can be a cheaper and greener way to build than stick by stick. She does explain the various systems of prefab -- including modular, panelized, SIPs, concrete, steel and log -- and gives pluses and minuses for each. --Susan Fornoff, San Francisco Chronicle




"Prefabulous, the House of Your Dreams Delivered Fresh from the Factory" (Taunton Press, $25) will shatter your misconceptions about small, boxy and modern structures. These prefabs are customized and so rich in detail and style they are hardly distinguishable from "traditionally" built homes. Sheri Koones brings together the prefab building systems - new and old - describing and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each. It's hard to believe after seeing the photos, but each featured home was manufactured partially or completely in a controlled factory environment then moved to the site. --The Cincinnati Enquirer

Reviews