After 15 Years, the weeHouse Just Keeps Getting Better Each Time

©. Alchemy Architects

This is the beauty of prefabrication; it is more like industrial design than architecture.

One of the big attractions of modern prefab housing was the fact that architects and builders got to repeat and refine their designs; every iteration got a little bit better. But it was like deja vu to see the Sonoma WeeHouse in Architect Magazine's Residential Architect Awards; TreeHugger first covered Geoffrey Warner's weeHouse in 2004 when the pictures and the stories were wee too.

side view of wee house

© Alchemy ArchitectsGeoffrey and the team at Alchemy Architects are still at it, with the latest upscale version. It has a few miles on it, being "designed in Minnesota for a client in San Francisco, built in Oregon, and shipped to its Santa Rosa, CA site 90% complete."

interior wee house

© Alchemy Architects

This small, ultra-minimal, high-end home is based on Alchemy’s weeHouse but customized to meet the luxe finishing requirements the client requested. The prefab house is composed of two minimalist open-sided boxes set on a concrete plinth nestled on the edge of gnarled oaks and an expansive view. Both structures feature steel frames, 9 ft. tall sliding glass walls set into custom corrugated weathering steel boxes and ipe interiors with oiled oak cabinetry.
wee house kitchen

© Alchemy Architects

According to Architect Magazine,

With such small footprints, not a single inch can be wasted. The main house features a whitewashed oak bed in the middle of the structures, with the frame forming the bedroom walls, and privacy screens pocket into the bathroom ceiling in lieu of traditional swinging doors. In the guest house, a built-in oak wardrobe serves as storage, and the wall of the bathroom. But throughout, the minimal palette is used to great effect.
wee house in TreeHugger

TreeHugger/ a wee photo of the wee house/Video screen capture

The great thing about this is that there is a direct lineage right back to the original weeHouse, which was a design icon.
The client for the latest version understands the importance of iconography; he is an architect and director of store design for Apple.

wee houes bed box

© Alchemy Architects

Here is a client who could afford anything by anyone, but instead chooses a 15 year old design, refined and buffed. It is not big; he could afford an iPhone X of a home, but goes for the SE, 640 square feet of main house and another 330 square feet of guest house. Small, but it does everything you need.

wee house in trees

© Alchemy Architects

15 years ago, there were a lot of us experimenting with modern prefab. Geoff Warner had the drive and attention span to stick with it, to keep getting better at it; the results speak for themselves.