Strengs Go Prefab - Page 3

The Strengs' factory-builts were more than a mere challenge

"It seems to me manufactured houses should be able to compete on an even basis, and have more buyer-acceptance today," Bill says, adding, "So yeah, they may come into their own one of these days."

Mobile homes, he notes, have an even bigger cost advantage in remote sites, where costs are high to truck in materials and men. Manufactured homes also have a greater appeal today to fans of modernism—unlike the 1980s when, as Jim Streng notes, "People who live in mobile home parks didn't appreciate modern architecture." Today, with books and magazines proclaiming their virtues, manufactured homes are starting to appeal to people who want chic more than cheap.

The Streng manufactured homes may have failed as a business venture, but people still appreciate them. Linda Morgan, who moved into her Rio Linda single-wide a year ago (next to her son, who lives in what she calls "a real house"), wishes she had a dining room. But she appreciates the breezeway, the openness, and the layout. "It's kind of cute, the way they set it up," she says.

Photos: David Toerge, Dave Weinstein