Monday, February 20, 2017

Will Palm Harbor have a smash hit with their 2017 doublewide, "The Urban Homestead"?

After taking a second look at the 2017 doublewide version of Palm Harbor’s singlewide “The Santa Fe” (see my post on that HERE), I thought it deserved a post. The doublewide version is called “The Urban Homestead.”

Usually I post only about smaller homes, but this is so beautiful I wanted to do a post about it also. I still like the singlewide a little better though, but everything about this doublewide is a breath of fresh trailer, as I like to say.

Palm Harbor’s “The Urban Homestead” is a 1736 sq. ft. doublewide and also comes in two larger sizes. The base price is around $100,000. It’s supposed to be a blend of urban and country, and like the singlewide version (“The Santa Fe”), it does this well.

I have seen Clayton and a few other manufactures try to capture the farm or country look in a home, and it wasn’t this successful. Such efforts usually look dorky, although can have some nice elements.

By manufactured home standards, the front of the home, above, is balanced and pleasing looking, one of the better looking ones, for sure. It’s not going to be mistaken for a stick-built home, but inside, it’s nicer than any stick-built home I’ve seen of this size and price. It really has charm.

The exterior is nice looking, instead of odd, fake, or funny looking. It’s not urban or country, but it’s a good-looking doublewide manufactured home exterior, and better looking than the singlewide version.

My photographs look a little bit grainy, because I took ones off the Palm Harbor site and they were enveloped in fog. I turned up the contrast. Here's the original foggy exterior from their website, with flag blocking a window. See what I did on the photo above?

 I also photoshopped a different door onto the house, from an architectural drawing.

Here are three videos from YouTube, tours of the house.

You will notice in the video, the kitchen cabinets are not solid white, but have scratches or cracks, a distressed look to mimic those of an old, abandoned farm house. Just joking about the abandoned part, but seriously, they could have skipped the cracked effect I think, but it still wouldn’t stop me from buying the house. I’d have to see it in person to judge whether it’s cool or a little too fake looking.


Now, to two small reservations I have about the house...neither of which are that important. They wouldn’t stop me from buying it if I had a family and needed a house this big.

First, you will notice in the second photo of the kitchen, near the top of my post, the seam in the ceiling between the two halves of the doublewide shows conspicuously. I don't particularly like the look of that.

My other reservation is this one. This home has something you don’t often see in any manufactured home, a free-standing tub (see above) in the master bath, in addition to a separate shower. So there is no enclosure around the tub. I had an old clawfoot tub once and I loved it, but this tub sits right on the floor. I assume it’s fiberglass or resin.

One potential problem there would be with no or thin insulation in a free standing tub, the water wouldn’t stay warm for very long compared to a tub set in an enclosure with insulation under and around it. Old fashioned clawfoot tubs hold their warmth somewhat because they are made of cast iron and the cast iron gradually releases the heat it stores from the hot water when the tub is filled.

Here is a photo of the second bathroom. Can you believe they’d put something this wonderful in a manufactured home?

I’m just joking. It’s a photo I came across on the web and sent to friends as a suggestion of how they should remodel their bathroom. This bathroom probably costs over $100,000 and that’s no joke. It’s the kind of thing a rich person would do to make their house memorable to guests.

So, they say The Urban Homestead (click on this link to visit website where house is sold) is already “award-winning,” and it doesn’t surprise me. It seems like it would be a great home for Palm Harbor to send to manufactured home shows. Congratulations to the designer. It’s daring, different, functional and beautiful.

Palm Harbor Homes
The Urban Homestead FT32563C
Palm Harbor Model Center, Bryan, Texas

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