Get us in your inbox


Affordable and stylish prefab homes that will make you want to move ASAP

By Gail Goldberg

Sure, it would be nice to design a new house from scratch in the Bay Area, but that just ain’t in the cards for most of us. There is good news, however: Affordable and stylish prefab homes are becoming more readily available. And they’re not just slapdash, cookie-cutter designs. Proof is right this way. Here, we round up three of our favorite Northern California prefab builders, which offer luxurious and eco-friendly dwellings in a range of sizes, teensy to palatial. Fab, indeed.


Blu Homes

In business for almost 10 years, this Vallejo builder knows prefab homes better than most—and combines the best of American craftsmanship with high-tech innovation. Blu Homes offers a dozen or so styles for full homes, all of which stand out for their beautiful design, premium quality and eco-friendly bent (e.g., solar panels, low-flow faucets, cutting-edge thermal insulation, energy-efficient stainless-steel appliances, etc.). Whether you seek a 450-square-foot home (starting at $170,000) or a 4-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 4,400-square-foot house (starting at $1 million), Blu has you covered. A1205 Club Dr, Vallejo (866-887-7997,

AVAVA Systems Britespace M264
Photograph: Courtesy AVAVA Systems

AVAVA Systems

Think of Berkeley’s AVAVA as the Ikea of the prefab-home set: All the components of each Britespace microhome are delivered in flat-packed boxes. (No, you don’t have to put them together with annoying plastic tools—AVAVA’s professional builders do that for you.) The best part? Your dwelling should arrive in about six weeks. A kitchen, closet and bathroom space are included with each low-carbon-footprint model named for the square footage it provides: Model 264, Model 352 and Model 480. Base prices start at $59,000, $71,000 and $89,500, respectively. Clean lines, rich wood detailing and lots of light lend a chic, contemporary feel to every house. Plus, electrical systems can be configured for off-grid living. Sold! 767 San Diego Rd, Berkeley (844-452-8282,

TAYNR Studio
Photograph: Courtesy TAYNR


Ever thought of living in a shipping container? One look at a TAYNR-designed home, and you’ll be nodding yes in no time. The Sacramento biz specializes in creating cool, livable and building-code–adherent homes from modular steel containers. Durable shipping containers are ideal for tiny studios and flexible enough for multistory units. A standard 320-square-foot (40' x 8') container is $60,000. A rep works with buyers on every aspect of turning an empty steel cage into a dream home. This includes things like design, engineering, delivery, foundation and utility connections. While costs will accrue, the final price will, no doubt, be far less expensive than a traditional Bay Area property. 600 Sunbeam Ave, Sacramento (916-524-4997,

Latest news