Katrina Cottages Rolled Out by Lowes Nationwide

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A blue Katrina cottage built after the hurricane.

ParkerDeen / Getty Images

Some say it is an exercise in bad branding, like naming a line of prefabs ‘Mt. St. Helens Villas’ or ‘Hurricane Andrew Mobile Homes.’ But in fact Marianne Cusato's original Katrina Cottage was so cute that "Katrina Cottage" became a meme for cute little New Urbanist designs. Now Lowes has rolled out a whole line of them nationwide. And not just by Marianne; other New Urbanist designers like Andres Duany, Eric Moser, W.A Lawrence and Geoffrey Mouen get a kick at it. 11 plans range from 544 sf to 1800 sf. You can buy the plans or an entire package, just like Sears and Aladdin did almost a century ago.

Lowes doesn't give the exact price, but says "The only difference between the cottages and a traditional house is the size. The cottages are smaller to make them more affordable and faster to build." and "The price for the materials will vary depending upon the size and style of the Katrina Cottage and the current commodity prices."

For years around TreeHugger the mantra on prefab was that it would make good design by talented architects available to everyone at a reasonable price. While my personal preferences do not lean toward New Urbanist, I certainly appreciate the care and skill it takes to do it well, and am thrilled that efficient, small plans with exteriors that just jump out at you, full of charm and history, are available off the rack. We are on the cusp of a revolution, where small, efficient and affordable houses on narrow lots in walkable neighbourhoods will be the new normal and the new hot commodity.