One of the misconceptions about modular homes is that they have design limitations. Some of this misperception come from the assumption that modular homes are the same as manufactured (mobile) homes. Also in the decades past, designs have been more limited.
But today, hundreds, if not thousands, of modular home designs exist, and most manufacturers have architects who work with them to create a tremendous portfolio for their customers. The truth is that any home style can be made modular. If you have a set of plans that are your dream home, then it is completely possible for the manufacturer to create a modular plan to execute its construction.
Once you know what design you would like, typically you will sit down with your builder at a computer workstation where you will sample a variety of plans that meet your needs and wishes. What roof lines are most attractive for you? Is a cathedral ceiling something you always wanted? Many options are available. If a design is selected from a manufacturer's catalog of home designs, then you are set.
If you find a plan that almost works, then it can be tailored to meet your needs through the appropriate changes. Changes can be done by your builder on occasion, or by architects associated with the manufacturer or one you consult with directly. If none of the plans are exactly what you want, new architectural plans can be adopted into a modular construction process as well. Once the final plans are drawn and approved, the construction process begins. In the past, there were greater limitations in complex designs, however this has improved significantly. As a general rule, the more complex the design, the greater the cost, and it may be that cost at some point reduces the benefits of modular over a site-built structures.
This is where you must weigh all the factors such as time savings, higher quality, etc. before making a decision based on cost alone. Even though there are size restrictions in how long, tall, and wide a module can be for transport purposes, modules can still be assembled in a way that a variety of complex geometric designs can be accommodated. This applies to both interior and exterior structures. Designs for modular homes have even entered into the art scene.
This summer, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will showcase 5 different architects' work in modular home design. Each was commissioned to design and build a modular dwelling, and the style variety is reported to range from an efficient abode to a monstrous mansion. Magazines such as Dwell also routinely showcase modular home design.
This is no longer a limitation of this industry. Even though modular homes offer significant advantages in cost and efficiency over other types of home construction, consumers demand variety in style and fashion. Individualism is a necessity when choosing where you live and in what home style fits your family's needs and personality. By expanding the design options and architectural flexibility in modular home design, these needs are fully met giving the homeowner an excellent choice in new home construction.
Michael Zenga founded ZN Custom Building in 2002 which specializes in Custom Modular Homes in the Boston, MA area. Known as the Modular Building Specialist, Michael is an unabashed advocate for the industry and contributes related articles to many publications.