Photos by Brian Dalbalcon
425 magazine partnered with Blu Homes to introduce an innovative and green approach to home building. Our 2014 Northwest Idea House on Vashon Island is a head-turner.
“People keep going outside, bending down, looking for wheels,” said Kristin O’Loughlin, the Pacific Northwest Blu sales consultant who conducted several open houses at the home. “I tell them there aren’t any wheels, and I explain the process.”
Blu Homes, located in California and Massachusetts, was born following the results of a two-year graduate study with the Rhode Island School of Design that focused on the future of housing. The study revealed prefabricated homes had less impact on the environment and could be built better and faster in a quality-controlled warehouse. The founders of Blu applied aerospace technology to reinvent the prefabricated home process.
Blu Homes begins with patented steel frames that fold into large, shippable containers and unfold and connect onsite. The frames help Blu homes stand up well to extreme weather and earthquakes and allow Blu to create high-quality homes with open floor plans, walls of windows and sky-high ceilings. The frames can be built in-factory within six weeks — the price fixed and transparent. The shipping, setting and finishing work takes about four to 12 weeks on-site. Blu facilitates the entire process, from financing to finding land, choosing the home and personalizing, building and delivering it.
This 2014 Northwest Idea House features a 60-foot wall of glass in the back that captures a postcard-perfect view of the sparkling Puget Sound and majestic Mount Rainier in the distance. This home fits this view as if it were a frame around a painting.
Photo #2: Sun Shades These wood panels look stylish and can block the sun’s rays or let them shine through the many windows.
Photo #3 & 4: Pod Power The original homeowners opted to add a“pod” to their home. This additional space stands next to the home and can be used as a guest suite, office or retreat, and has its own bathroom.
Photo #5: Entertaining The open kitchen is perfect for entertaining guests. It’s light and bright thanks to windows on either side.
Photo #6: Shelf Life Interior designer Nichole Jacobson put a bookshelf in the dining area to create more storage space.
Photo #7: Personal Finishes Blu Homes designers help you choose all the finishing touches — including counters, tile, cabinets and other customizations.
Photo #8: Table Time This sturdy table is from Room & Board in Seattle. The driftwood decoration was found on the beach.
Photo #9: Fun Idea The childrens’ room was decorated with book covers by children’s author and illustrator Leslie Patricelli. The art was placed in simple and inexpensive IKEA frames. Patricelli has a series of popular and colorful board books and she’s originally from the Northwest!
Photo #10 Quiet Time A chair, nice light and shelf are all you need to create a relaxing reading or napping spot.
Photo #11 & 12 Open and Airy The sliding glass allow the Puget Sound breeze to flow into the bedroom.
Photo #13: All-access This home is open and accessible throughout, making it easier for people with disabilities to navigate.
CEOs Bill Haney and Maura McCarthy co-founded Blu Homes. Blu has seven pre-designed and pre-engineered home models ranging from 650-square-foot guest homes to 3,600-square-foot homes.
Nichole Jacobson is owner of Jacobson Interior Design in Bellevue. She selected all of the décor for the 425 magazine Northwest Idea House and was inspired by the Blu home’s stunning location.
Fresh to the Northwest
There are a handful of Blu Homes in the Northwest, but the company is betting that more will be arriving soon and that consumers will find the green aspects, cutting-edge technology and modern design compelling. The average price for a smaller two- to three-bedroom home is about $300,000, plus the cost of land and other fees depending on your customizations.
Builder Blu Homes, California and Massachusetts \\ Interior Designer Nichole Jacobson, Bellevue \\ Landscaping Olympic Landscape and Irrigation Co., Puyallup \\ Furnishings Room & Board, University Village, Seattle \\ Framed Photography Kate Ashley \\ Outdoor Planters Designs by DeLeuw
Maura Mccarthy’s photo by Mark Longwood; Nichole Jacobson’s photo by Kate Ashley