Right Out of the Box
Prefabricated homes are a good idea, and so is prefabricated furniture. Both can reduce waste and energy use during the manufacturing process. But perhaps combining the two is going a bit too far. When Ikea’s Portland, Oregon, store teamed up with local architecture firm Ideabox to create a nifty concept for a top-to-bottom, fully outfitted prefab home, word got out, erroneously, that the Swedish mega-retailer was moving into the prefabricated home business. "Someone reported that Ikea was producing a flat-pack house," Jim Russell, Ideabox's president, told Sustainable Business Oregon.
Though its Swedish-cute name “aktiv” may induce a migraine huvudvark (apologies to Swedes everywhere for the missing umlaut), the Ideabox house is compelling: Pre-installed with Ikea cabinets, flooring, and closets, the 745 square feet home includes one bedroom and one bath, and costs around $86,000.
“While bloggers had a heyday making jokes about assembling houses with dowels and Allen wrenches, Ideabox has been fielding two to three emails a minute from all over the world,” writes the Oregon publication. Ideabox’s Russell hits the nail on the head: “Most people are getting it. They're seeing that a small-footprint home is very livable.”
-- Reed McManus