Washington Home and Design: the modern modular home
written by Melissa Dalton photos by Andrew Pogue
In early 2010, the couple took a Valentine’s getaway to Seattle. This became a scouting trip when they saw a real estate listing for an available lot on the Kitsap Peninsula, just a ferry ride away. “We thought, while we’re up here, let’s just check it out,” Staupe said. When they did, the nearly 4-acre property nestled between Olalla and Port Orchard exceeded their expectations. “It was like a picture postcard of what we had always envisioned,” Staupe said. They bought the land. Now it just needed a house.
In the interim, the couple moved to Seattle and settled into jobs—Staupe works in marketing and Roy in user experience—while they debated prefab construction versus a custom build. Prefab, short for prefabricated, applies to structures that are primarily manufactured in an off-site factory. Prefab was first made popular in the United States from 1908 to 1940, when Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold 75,000 mail-order kit homes. While residential prefab building continued throughout the twentieth century, it regained in prominence when a plethora of modern architects returned to the form, as promoted in a 2003 design contest sponsored by Dwell magazine. Staupe and Roy were searching for a prefab builder who clicked with their personal aesthetic, and found one in an unlikely place: the freeway. Roy was driving when he saw an intriguing module from Method Homes being transported on a trailer.
Washington Home and Design—Method Homes: a new approach to modular
After visiting Method’s factory in Ferndale, Staupe and Roy appreciated the company’s craftsmanship and green qualities, as well as the potential to customize their pick. During the design phase, they selected finishes, expanded and added windows, and tweaked the principle suite to fit a tub. Even better, once plans were finalized, construction was quick—just three months for fabrication in the factory, during which the foundation was poured on-site and the garage built. “Once they actually delivered the modules to the site, they had us in within just over two months,” Staupe said. “It was an incredibly fast process, and it felt even faster because we had a baby right towards the end!”
The couple chose the Shift Model, designed by architect Ryan Stephenson of Stephenson Design Collective. For it, he stacked two modules, then “pushed them apart” to form a long, shaded exterior breezeway, which connects copious deck space and extends the interior living outdoors. The exterior was then faced with charcoal standing-seam metal and untreated cedar, which will patina to a silver-gray over time.
Washington Home and Design—perfectly prefab
During the design process, the couple “were really inspired by the Scandinavian aesthetic and what they do to welcome light into the house,” Staupe said. To that end, blonde bamboo floors meet crisp white walls, and kitchen cabinets in the same wood are wrapped with snowy quartz counters. Additionally, the enlarged windows bring in plenty of sunlight no matter the season. Thanks to the home’s more narrow footprint, the effect is that of being surrounded by the natural setting, which is just what the family wanted. “We bought our property because we loved the views,” Staupe said.
Since moving into their home in 2013, Staupe and Roy have acclimated well to their new life, despite having been city dwellers for decades. “The house is such a welcome, comfortable place to come home to,” Staupe said. Moreover, their two young children are having a blast, whether they’re building mud kitchens, spinning in tree swings or racing scooters down dirt hills. “Between the property and the house itself,” Staupe said, “it’s kind of a dream for a child to grow up in.”