Home of the Month Summary
Builder: Dessau Modular
After taking a chance on an undeveloped lot that was not currently for sale, the owners of this modern cape cod home were able to realize a dream. Today they are part of the well-known mid-century neighborhood of Bywater Court, steps from the beach, with unobstructed views of Martha’s Vineyard and Wood’s Hole, and in close proximity to many of Falmouth’s best attractions. The lot was large but came with constraints that significantly impacted the building footprint and structure requirements. Conservation laws required over 300 native species to be planted in the backyard, abutting Fresh River. This reduced the building footprint to only sixteen feet wide when factoring in township zoning setbacks from the street. As any architect knows, these constraints are where home design really gets fun. Modular construction helped to make this home a reality despite these constraints, accelerating time to complete and reducing costs compared to site-built construction.
First, due to flood zone requirements, the home had to be elevated ten feet above grade (helping the views!). The ground level was overbuilt with steel and concrete rather than typical pressure-treated lumber to provide a heavy and elemental base that grounded the home to the site. This could be built during the winter months while the modules were constructed in the temperature-controlled factory. Working in parallel greatly helped the schedule, especially at a time when local builders had a 12 - 24 month wait list for new projects due to the high demand. Second, going with modular construction actually helped contribute to the project getting approved by conservation. The board reacted positively to this because of the inherent benefits of modular construction regarding the environment and actually made it a requirement in their order of conditions for the project.
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