SOUTH BAY DIGS | Digital Edition Online

December 16, 2011

DIGS is the premiere luxury real estate lifestyle magazine serving the most affluent neighborhoods in the South Bay and Westside of Los Angeles, California.

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DIG THIS LOGICAL HOMES WRITTEN BY: QUINN ROBERTS "If we're all thinking the same, someone isn't thinking," General George Patton once said. Those exact words are behind the very essence of what Logical Homes stands for. Produced by DeMaria Design Associates, with offices based in Manhattan Beach, Logical Homes was formed in 2006 to explore the use of ISO shipping containers as construction elements. The containers, which take about 12 weeks to fabricate and construct, are locally made in Wilmington with less than 30 architects, engineers and producers seeing the entire process through. Architect Peter DeMaria believes the South Bay is the perfect place to implement such a unique idea. "The container home was born out of the South Bay because the cost of construction became so prohibitive, that I thought of these alternative ways," DeMaria said. "By doing things prefabricated in a factory, we are able to quantify exactly what it is going to cost. You'll know exactly what the end result is and that is an important part of what we do." Using such containers enables the homes to have reusable materials and a cost effective modular steel frame. Just a few other sustainable products in the homes include: rayon insulation (the same material used on space shuttles), ceramic based materials and paint (providing better insulation, which isn't petroleum based) and recycled denim insulation. When it comes to the idea of conserving water, toilet fixtures in the home have the option of a full flush or a half flush. The roof is also made of rigid foam or prefabricated panels, which snap together. "It isn't that we use containers. It is our philosophy to analyze other industries and adapt their process, materials and ideas into our palate, which is based in design and construction," said DeMaria. When building a Logical Home, it takes about 400 kilowatt hours of energy to modify an existing cargo container to a usable structural component for a building. In comparison, it requires 8000 kwh to melt down 8000 pounds of cargo container steel into new steel beams and shapes. This equates to structures with a reduced carbon footprint of 95 percent. Focusing on the idea of sustainability, such containers can also be converted into classrooms, restaurants and offices and are built to standard IBC/UBC building codes that adhere to the same regulations as an regularly built home. "I could have all of these things made in China, but when you think about sustainability, it just doesn't make sense," said DeMaria. Already having constructed 11 container homes, one is located in Redondo Beach--the first Logical Home DeMaria and his company ever built. While the home has many original and green features, one interesting attribute specific to the home includes airplane hanger doors, which are 20 feet wide and tall. Logical Homes has also constructed other houses and buildings in Venice, Boyle Heights and Long Beach, and has even expanded into Nevada and Arizona. Planning to extend their reach in the future, Logical Homes is especially interested in laying down roots across the South. "They march to their own beat and many of our clients are thinking ahead of the curve," DeMaria said. "They are somewhat visionary and are practical and pragmatic." Fully aware that Logical Homes is an untraditional product, the company is trying to change the landscape for what a home can be. With such a unique idea in a global climate that has become steadfast on promoting more environmentally friendly products, Logical Homes has received interest from such far away places as Africa, Dubai and Korea. DeMaria also said he gets inquires every day from people across the country, in nearly every state, hoping to learn more about the company and exactly what it does. Yet, many of the e-mails the company receives ask just how feasible it is for them to get a container home. DeMaria says their are a few important steps and variables to consider before making such a decision. The first step in building a Logical Home is to get the funding through a construction loan or what many call a "hard money" loan. And even with the added benefit of being able to plop down a Logical Home nearly anywhere, a flat, level piece of land is the most desirable location. A sloping piece of land can make the cost greater. Also, with so many moving parts during delivery and installation, including the cargo containers, trucks and cranes, easy access is highly important. That's the case with all 16 Logical Homes, which are a range of different styles and sizes. The smallest home per square foot is the Kara 320 model, which is only 320 square feet. With one bedroom and one bath, it's ideal usage is as a retreat or cabin. After that, the majority of the homes range anywhere between 640 and 3,580 square feet. A happy medium between both sizes are the Catalan models, which have two different styles with three and five bedrooms and are 2,027 and 3,210 square feet. The Seto style has four different designs, with the largest of all homes being 3,580 square feet and two stories. It even boasts five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. And just like any regular home, nearly every container has a garage, porch and deck. However, how much will such homes with their unique green ideas set the average interested buyer back? The Kara model costs $59,000, while for the two custom Catalan homes, the prices are $299,000 and $399,000. The most expensive homes are Seto designs, unsurprising considering they by and large have the most square footage of any home. For the one story homes that are under 2,000 square feet, the amounts are $269,000 and $299,000. For the two larger home designs, the amounts are $399,000 and $449,000. The nature of the building and the house configuration can also change the amount. Yet, De Maria says such costs are a high baseline, which depend on the market price of steel and other materials at the time of building. "We are always thinking about how things can be as opposed to how they are," DeMaria said. "The containers are a means to that end and it is great." 46 SOUTHBAYDIGS.COM | 12.16.2011

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