Modern, luxurious, eco-friendly … modular? Will Birmingham embrace this home-building trend?

Birmingham, Alabama, modular home trend, Dvele
With contemporary design, eco-friendly materials and technological innovation, modular building is redefining conceptions of manufactured homes. Photo via Dvele.

The trend of “modern” modular homes is gaining a foothold in major Southeastern cities. In Charlotte, North Carolina, architect Frederick Laury recently launched the company MOD-CLT to serve the emerging market. Dvele, a high-tech modular home manufacturer based in California, has a sales office in Nashville, Tennessee. Will the trend come to Birmingham?

Alabama is no stranger to modular (or prefab) building

The idea that prefab homes can be constructed faster and more affordably than traditionally built homes is not new to Alabamians. Our state is home to 11 of 121 home manufacturing plants in the United States. In 2017, Alabama was second only to Texas in the shipment of prefab homes, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). And it’s not all about the single-wide.

About a third of the 6,o49 homes manufactured in Alabama in 2017 were multi-section homes, according to MHI. When multiple modules are put together, these homes can be quite traditional in appearance and offer luxe finishes.

Birmingham architects are innovators in modular building beyond the home industry. BLOX, a company based in Bessemer, designs and manufactures prefabricated modules – or rooms – that help streamline hospital construction.

So, will Birmingham homeowners embrace the ultra-contemporary, ultra-sleek modular homes that are gaining popularity elsewhere?

Lest we forget, Birmingham is no stranger to modern architecture.

While new home developments tend to embrace one architectural style or another, some of Birmingham’s older (and most coveted) neighborhoods are quite eclectic. Stunning mid-century modern homes fit in right alongside quaint bungalows and regal stone mansions in Mountain Brook. Consider, for example, this 1962 home.

Birmingham, Alabama, modular home trend story, example of traditionally constructed mid-century modern home in Mountain Brook
Built in 1962, this traditionally constructed mid-century modern home reminds us that modern aesthetics have a rightful place in Birmingham neighborhoods. Photo via Greater Birmingham MLS.

If a contemporary modular home is well designed and well sited, it seems it would fit into Birmingham residential areas just as easily as contemporary homes built onsite.

So, we embrace prefab. We love sleek contemporary design. How do we combine the two?

A number of manufacturers produce contemporary-style modular homes, from tiny houses to full-size family residences, and ship them nationwide. If you’re interested in the trend for your next Birmingham home, as with any major purchase, it pays to do your research to make sure you’re getting the quality and features that are important to you.

Based in southern California, Dvele is one company that produces contemporary, environmentally-friendly and health-minded modular homes and ships across the continental U.S. With a sales office in Nashville, the company is seeing increased interest in the South and is in dialogue with a family in Mississippi, said Lauren Cater, director of marketing at Dvele.

“The building environment is 100 percent controlled. We do not use harmful chemicals in our building process. There are so many factors in making a really beautiful but also healthy home. That’s were the modular process is key for Dvele.”—Lauren Cater, marketing director, Dvele

Birmingham, Alabama, modular home trend story, Dvele modular home manufacturer in California
Would you guess this is a modular home? Hint: It is. Photo via

A home “envelope” installed in the factory setting can define the air and water barriers, the thermal boundary and the vapor profile—all factors in a healthful living environment. Dvele has its own specially designed home envelope that’s put in place during production, said Cater, and after the home is moved to its permanent site, air quality is tested by a third party.

The availability of “smart home” features, solar panels, sustainability of materials and finishes that suit your style are all things to consider when choosing a modular home manufacturer.

So what say you, Birmingham? Would you consider purchasing a contemporary modular home?

Rushing Waters
Rushing Waters
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