A spectacular home in the Palm Springs desert was the prototype for a whole range of high quality prefabricated houses.

Marmol Radziner & Associates, the Los Angeles based architects responsible for the renovation of Tom Ford's Richard Neutra-designed home, have redefined the prefabricated house. Join us on a tour of the Desert House, the innovative prototype for the Marmol Radziner Prefab range.

In the modernist Mecca that is the town of Palm Springs, California, the Desert House sits at ease. With its steel frame, floor-to-ceiling windows and apparent lack of walls, the house defines the notion of indoor/outdoor living. And from its low-lying site of 7.5 desert acres, there are sweeping views towards Mounts San Jacinto and San Gorgonio.

Designed and built in 2005 by the Los Angeles-based architects Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner, this 2,400sq ft home comprises a main house, guest house and independent studio. Their practice, Marmol Radziner & Associates, is well known for both its high-quality new build houses and outstanding refurbishments of important modernist architecture. Projects in the latter category include the celebrated renovation of Richard Neutra's Kaufmann house, also in Palm Springs, as well as the Richard Neutra-designed home of Tom Ford in Los Angeles.

Currently for sale for $1.2million with the specialist architectural real estate agent Crosby Doe, this is not the only opportunity to own such a spectacular property. For the Desert House was always intended to be something new for Marmol Radziner: a prefabricated residence that was constructed in modules, before being transported to Palm Springs and welded into the foundations to become a permanent structure. What's more, the house was a prototype for a whole range of made-to-order prefabricated residences.

Marmol Radziner Prefab, as the new division is known, offer a full design and build service that begins at the drawing table and ends with interior decoration and landscaping. Clients simply provide a plot of land, then either custom-design their home or choose from one of six standard floor plans. At Marmol Radziner's 65,000sq ft factory in Vernon, California, the modules, as well as the architect's eponymous line of furniture, are constructed on three assembly lines. Eco-friendly elements are integral to the design and include the use of recycled steel framing, highly energy-efficient glass and solar-assisted power.

The advantages of a high quality prefabricated home are abundant. Not only can they be more environmentally friendly, but they can also be transported to remote locations where building a new home would be otherwise impossible. And then there is the cost: Marmol Radziner prefabs begin at just $189,000 for a 660sq ft unit with one bedroom and a large deck. And at the price, who can resist the opportunity to live like Tom Ford in a mini modernist masterpiece?


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