New Homes' Modern Touch

Bay Area-based BluHomes' expanding line of pre-fab shows off roots in MCM design
New Homes Modern Touch
The flat-roof and modern Breeze pre-fab design (pictured here) may be a familiar sight, but not the other 15 pre-fab models currently being offered by Vallejo-based BluHomes. Photos: courtesy BluHomes
New Homes Modern Touch
Breeze model interior.
New Homes Modern Touch
Sidebreeze model.

Joe Eichler never saw a BluHome, but that company's line of pre-fabricated housing certainly evokes his spirit.

"He was absolutely one of the inspirations," said Robin Schick, marketing art director for BluHomes, based in Vallejo in an historic Mare Island monolith. "Frank Lloyd Wright was also."

Schick should know. Before working at BluHomes, he restored an Eichler in Walnut Creek's Rancho San Miguel, where he lives today. Upon first seeing a BluHome, he recalls saying to himself, "I get this product. I live in this product, the original!"

The company started in 2008 in Massachusetts, Schick said, but it wasn't long before "they found out most of these were selling out here" in California. From its initial six models, the company expanded its line last month to 16 choices, which will be on display at an open house Saturday, May 14, at company headquarters, 1080 Nimitz Avenue.

"It's a beautiful facility, just stunning," Schick said of the Mare Island building, which includes an 85-foot-tall glass wall that is thought to be the largest on the west coast. "It's like a cathedral."

For those who worship mid-century modern, two BluHomes models in particular are worthy of homage.

"The Aire model is really influenced by Eichler, [but] I would argue some of our others are also," said Schick, himself a dedicated modernist, who includes the company's original Breeze model among those so influenced.

"That's kind of our iconic, oldest model," he added of the flat-roofed Breeze, which comes in three variations ranging in price from $965,000 to $1,485,000. "They're substantially alike…[but] the 'Mini' one is really familiar to me as an Eichler owner because of the limited square feet."