The McMansion has worn out its welcome, hope for prefab is fading, and anyone with a sense of contemporary design taste shudders at what homebuilders are producing these days. But for most people who want to build a modern, “architectural” house, the price is out of their reach.
That’s where Hometta, a new Houston-based company, comes in. Launched in late June, coinciding with . The three-story, 1,585 square foot residence has a small footprint, leaving extra room for a yard. And its interesting volume combines alternating glass and corrugated metal panels, single and double-height spaces, large sliding glass doors, and cost-saving modular construction. Other plans include Roger Sherman’s copper-clad, upside-down offering home plans online: designer cache. That, and the sense of community the company attempts to foster through its playful, interactive site.
All projects are single family houses, and none measure more than 2,500 square feet, part of the company’s niche-oriented business plan—“If you can afford to build a larger house, and you can find an architect that you like, then you should,” said Johnson—and also a way to assure that the non-custom projects don’t overwhelm contexts. Johnson notes that if clients do want to customize the homes after buying the plans they are welcome to work with the designers.
Johnson estimates that after buying the plans, most clients will pay from $100 to $300 per square foot, depending on where they choose to build, and what contractor they choose. “Most people can barely afford to buy a generic tract home,” said Johnson. “We’re trying to meet a need of a size and type of house that it’s hard to do economically.” While spurring interest, the idea has raised a few eyebrows in an architectural community where customization is still king.
Johnson acknowledges this drawback, but says his firm is a needed alternative that will open architecture to a wider audience. “We totally believe that custom is the best way to do it,” he said. “But we also want good design and we want exciting, progressive residential design to get out there in the world,”