Sunday, February 19, 2017

“The Loft,” a modern singlewide shed roof design by Palm Harbor

How many singlewides have you seen which look like this? I’ve photoshopped the color down several shades on the façade, because I thought it would look better with a unified color scheme, given all the windows and design elements they have going on. Gray and dark gray aren’t my favorite house colors, but unifying the palette emphasizes the modern look of this shed design. You can see the actual model colors in the video:

Manufactured home factories usually give a choice of colors for the home’s exterior, and sometimes type of siding, e.g., cedar or hardboard. Unless you’re buying the lot model, the interiors of manufactured homes usually come with white walls. The dealer will sometimes throw in some paint, if you ask, but it would be colors used in the model.  

Speaking of gray, you will notice in the video on the home’s website, the interior of the model is all soft gray, including the ceilings. Having worked with drywall on two my own homes, I hate gray walls. It’s the color of naked drywall. Yeah, I know, it’s a trend, like very dark cabinetry. I don’t like that either.

Gray walls and ceilings are depressing and remind me of unpainted concrete basement walls. If you’re afraid of color, paint your walls beige, and ceilings either white or a lighter shade of beige than is on the walls. That will keep the room warm and friendly, rather than cold and depressing.

The wells of skylights, and sometimes perimeter around windows look best in white, not in a color matching the wall color. No skylights here, I was just throwing it out as a tip.

Dark cabinets and dark wood in general look old, like colonial furniture and wood trim from the 1800s. Sometimes dark wood looks good in high-end kitchen cabinetry, I will give it that much.

In a small, modern home like this, light cabinetry would look better, and be in style forever. I’m pretty sure it’s an option. The rage for dark kitchen cabinets has been going on for over 15 years, and some day it will end and those cheap stained dark brown cabinets will look just fugly.

I remember around the year 2000 when a friend who follows trendy home design crap first told me dark cabinets were “in.” It looks good in some kitchens which cost as much as a singlewide trailer.

Scandinavians and the Shakers, they like light woods and design which look clean and simple. I bet some of these dark stained cabinets look awful after 10 years of wear. Then you can paint them white. That’s a big job, painting cabinets.

My other pet peeve about dark wood is when it is used as molding on any small home, but especially a home with a low ceiling, as in a strip of molding between the walls and ceiling. Thus the dark strip running around a room makes the ceiling look even lower, and it looks silly. On the more upscale doublewide manufactured homes, I have seen dark trim which was better quality and looked okay.

Natural or lightly stained wood cabinetry is beautiful, like knotty alder and other woods Palm Harbor and Karsten used. They will always be in style. Pine is soft and light, and probably not as suitable for cabinetry as harder woods, since it dents easily, but my favorite cabinets were the knotty pine ones I had in my last house.

My blog is opinionated, but I’m not shilling for any particular brand or company, even though I lean toward singlewide homes by Palm Harbor and Karsten. It just so happens I like their singlewides.

No company is paying me, except I’ve earned about $150 in the last 5 years from Google AdSense, which places ads in the right column of this blog. As some of my posts get older, they pick up more views, about 100 a day for the popular posts.

Anyway, the reason so many of my picks for fairly good quality and stylish smaller manufactured homes are either Karsten or Palm Harbor is that they have good home interiors. Besides having nice interiors, they are of better quality than most; simple, solid, and not too fake or cheap looking. For example, Karsten’s one piece tub/shower doesn’t look like the awful, cheap looking units that lower end homes have. Instead, I would prefer theirs to tile, having grout wear away, and having to re-grout around a tub because of the line where the tub meets the tile.  

You can buy a new low-end singlewide for $25,000 and I understand why someone might do that if that is all they can afford. There was a time when I had such a terrible problem with a major roof leak I couldn't locate, a low-end trailer with a good roof would have saved me from misery. 

However, when there are homes like this $51,000 Palm Harbor which in the long run may make you feel happier, save you money on energy costs, and last longer because things on it won’t fall apart as easily, then it is worth it if you can afford it, to buy a better quality home like this. Because of the better style—higher ceilings, drywall, nicer windows—these are the only homes I can really like, and would like to own myself.

With the shed roof singlewide and a home oriented toward the south, the slanted ceiling would pick up a lot of light from the clearstory windows, more than a flat ceiling, and I like this kind of slanted ceiling.

One reservation I have about this shed roof design is that when solar panels become more popular, and your house is oriented with the tall side to the south, which you’d do in climates that have snow in winter, the roof would be slanted the wrong way for solar. If you had room, you could either have a free-standing tracking solar array or in a decade or two, solar shingles or a thin panel which could be put on the front of the house.

This home appears to have 8” or 10" eaves on the sides and eaves of only a few inches on back and front. It’d look better with the same eaves on the front, or even a foot and a half of eave on the front, for best passive solar design.

Inside, unless you need extra storage, the structure with two shelves on each side, between the living room and kitchen, I think it has to go! I’m sure you could tell them to delete it from the build. It ruins the modern look of the house. I don’t know, maybe it would look better with books or something.

This model, "The Loft" is located in Albany, Oregon, which is a Homes Direct dealer which has this Palm Harbor model for $51,000. It's the only one, but you can probably put one on order at another dealer. HERE IS THE LINK to that website, which features a lot of other nice homes, all with prices, which I like. (I don't like when you have to call for a price.)

For example, HERE IS A LINK to a $35,900 singlewide called "The Perris" on the same page. It's also a Palm Harbor home. It's not as exciting as "The Loft," but with only one bathroom and less style, it's less expensive.

Paying $35,900 for "The Perris," rather than getting a bottom-of-the-line singlewide for $25,000, is probably worth it. "The Perris" would look nice inside, if it had one or two walls painted a color other than white. The whole thing is kind of a whiteout inside right now. I wanted to include this because sometimes the pricier brands like Palm Harbor produce some nice, inexpensive homes.

Some dealers offer granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances on their luxury homes, but on the inexpensive homes they're kind of cheap all through. Palm Harbor and Karsten both build quality in their singlewides and small homes. Again though, fail on the dark kitchen cabinet color.

State standards for manufactured homes are high in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. By law, they can't sell any manufactured homes with 2 x 4 walls, except if they are "park model" RVs. In states with lower standards, you can sometimes pay extra and get a home built to higher standards, and that's what you should try to do. For example, locally, for me, the Karsten factory in Albuquerque will build a home with R-21 insulation in the walls, instead of R-19.    

Back to "The Loft"...Perhaps because I’ve spent too much time trying to find roof leaks, like in places where buildings meet, the simplicity of a shed roof, one simple rectangle, it’s beautiful. Tell me what you think of this shed roof design in the comments. 

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