Modules by Method Homes are joined to make a home open to the landscape for a young family.
WHEN AMY STAUPE and Chris Roy lived in Los Angeles, in a neighborhood heavily patrolled by police helicopters and shrouded in filmy gray skies, they took a trip to New Zealand.
And they had an epiphany. This one: “Man, there’s another way to live.”
Then they took another trip, a Valentine’s Day getaway to Vashon Island. It was all fresh air, country livin’ and green acres up here. And it was all they could stand.
Staupe and Roy went home, packed up and got themselves an exploratory apartment in Ballard. “I fell in love with Seattle,” Staupe says. “I didn’t want to leave.”
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The couple considered their options. Stay in Ballard and remodel? Build custom? Buy a condo? Keep renting?
“We considered e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g,” Roy says. “But e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g was so expensive.”
Well, not quite everything. Their solution, in fact, drove right past Roy one day on the freeway. “I saw these big trucks coming down I-5 with the Method logo on them, and I thought, I should look at those guys.”
Prefab. The answer was a home made of prefabricated modules built in a factory and trucked to its final destination. The box that whizzed past Roy was headed south out of Method Homes’ plant in Ferndale, Whatcom County.
“Just because it’s prefab, that just means it’s built in a factory,” Roy says. “Our home was built in a controlled environment where everything was warm and dry — no mold. And we didn’t have a bunch of guys who had to drive a long way to work on it every day.”
Indeed. We’re nowhere near Ballard today. We. Are. Out. There. Took a ferry. Drove through woods. And ended up deep among the gnarled and moss-coated maples on the family’s wooded acreage near Port Orchard. Property that Roy, a pilot, previously bought fooling around online at aviationacres.com. (Motto: “Matching pilots to properties.”)
“We went from helicopters over our house at night to Ballard to the country,” says Staupe.
“We wanted to start a family,” adds Roy. “We wanted clean air.”
After deciding on Method, the rest of their new life fell into place.
“We birthed the house and the baby within a couple of weeks of each other,” Roy says. Daughter Maisie arrived May 15, 2013. Gestation for the house was quicker: three months at the factory, 2½ months under construction on the property, almost 4 acres.
The Staupe-Roy home, two modules offset to create a long, wrapping porch, is based on a Ryan Stephenson design, an option offered by Method. Stephenson’s Elemental Series skews modern, efficient. Finishes, interiors and sustainability upgrades come preselected, or, like here, homeowners can go their own way.
“Everything is custom,” Roy says. “We called out everything.”
At the factory they placed outlets, cable and light switches. Later, they chose floors (bamboo/ radiant heat), the island (Caesarstone), lighting (Insteon), cabinets (apply ply/bamboo ply), and “the least baby-safe steps in the world, but we love them,” floating concrete. The couple added so many windows (Andersen Eagle, aluminum) “the house wouldn’t hold them, so we had to take some out.” They also extended the upstairs module for a bathtub and larger closet.
The main living space is open with a sense of Scandinavian calm. (Says Staupe, “We watched a lot of HGTV. They said the words ‘open concept’ so much we thought it’d make a great drinking game.”) Walls are mostly windows, color accents by Maisie; in toys and dolls.
The contemporary prefab stands proudly alone in this neighborhood of homes and hangars (and a shared grass airstrip). “We get interesting reactions,” says Roy. “When the pizza guys come up here they’re like, ‘Oh, is this a house? You live here?’ ”