HOMES

Modular Prefabrication for a Modern Ottawa Semi

June 18, 2018 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GORDON KING

A modular home goes modern in this glamourous west-end Ottawa semi.

Our Homes Ottawa Summer 2018A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of  OUR HOMES The City of Ottawa, p.28. Find local businesses in our Ottawa directory.

You might have trouble believing this two-storey semi-detached home, oozing glitz and glamour in the heart of Westboro, is a modular home that originated in a factory setting in Morewood. But owner Catherine Jolicoeur had certain expectations for the house she had built – including lots of mirrors, glass and shine – and no one’s expectations of what could, would or should have stopped the retired biology teacher from reaching her goal.
 
She bought the end lot on a quiet residential street with intention of updating the existing 1940s bungalow. Estimates for renovations came in on the high side and she hesitated to proceed. But then she met a Guildcrest Homes representative who piqued her interest in a modular home. She learned that modular homes, built completely inside the controlled environment of a plant or factory are then transported and assembled at the final building site. According to a recent article in Global Construction Review, nine per cent of new residential building permits in Germany are for prefabricated buildings, while in Japan up to 15 per cent of new detached/semi-detached houses are prefabricated.
 
What clinched the deal for her was that not only would Guildcrest oversee the entire construction process, but two houses would be built on the same lot, one of which could then be sold. Catherine arranged for the bungalow to be demolished and the lot excavated, then worked with Plotnonplot Architecture Inc. to design two homes.
 
The end result is two completely different houses, each containing its own unique floor plan and layout, but joined by a common wall.
 
“Each house has its own roof,” Jolicoeur explains. “They aren’t touching, they’re independent of each other. Even the entrances offer privacy: because they’re on the end lot, the front door on one house faces the street while the other has a side entry.”
 
When the big day arrived, the two homes arrived in eight sections altogether. Jolicoeur recalls a crowd of neighbours and passersby gathering to watch as a large crane placed the sections together as if they were giant Lego blocks.

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