The Newest Cut at Prefab

The kit home was introduced in 1908 by Sears Roebuck, with the parts shipped by railcar. Price: $1,500 to $1,800 for the popular bungalow style. "An ideal cottage for a summer home," proclaimed the catalog copy. Since then generations of architects have taken a crack at improving on the kit concept. Among the most recent are Douglas Gauthier and Jeremy Edmiston of SYSTEMarchitects in New York City. Their take is called the Parish House, and a century after Sears, they used computer design and manufacturing. The result: a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,000-sq.-ft. bungalow that costs $184,000 and whose structural system consists of...

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