Modern day modular homes are discrediting the industry's stereotype as blah cookie-cutter homes sold off a lot and images of double-wide trailers taking up the interstate. Forget safe, neutral colored Formica and standard finishes. These pre-fabulous homes can feature kitchens with bold black granite countertops, colorful glass mosaic backsplashes, stainless steel appliances and bamboo flooring.

Pre-drab has become pre-fab!

If you peruse PreFabs.com, which is an online catalog of modular prefab homes, you can sort through floor plans and images, model data and information on many of the newest prefab home designers.

Barvista Homes is one such Colorado based modern pre-fab builder. Their home styles vary from a log-cabin mountain look, to ultra sleek industrial design, to the nostalgic row house style. The Barvista architects are known for their talents in contemporary design and the manufacturer is known for swift, economical construction.

Apparently this pre-fab trend is catching on, as a reported 38,000 modular homes were built nationwide in 2006. Keep in mind that there is a difference between manufactured and modular homes.

Manufactured typically represents homes pre-built to national code and sold through retailers, while modular homes are typically built one at a time according to local and state codes. This allows the home buyer to really customize their home.

Thayer Long, executive director of the National Modular Housing Council, a Washington, D.C. based trade association says, “In reality, most modular homes today are built specifically for one homeowner and "the sky is the limit" when it comes to customization. It used to be you could only get a basic colonial or ranch-style home. Now we have modular manufacturers building million-dollar mansions."

And of course there are some advantages to going the modular way. First of all cost. Because materials including appliances and cabinets are bought in bulk by the factory, a modular home can cost up to 15 percent less. Another plus is time well spent. These homes allow for site preparation and home building to take place simultaneously, so it can take a lot less time to build.

Also, modular homes are built indoors, so weather ceases to become a factor. And here's the real clincher, modular homes are earth friendly! They tend to produce less waste to begin with, and scrap wood is often recycled to make crates for the factory. Prefabrication techniques reduce waste, offer energy-saving designs and improve manufacturing and construction efficiencies which makes them a FABulous green option.

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