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Credit: Built Prefab

Users can design (and budget) on their own with this free configurator

Ian Garrity and James Rosowsky, co-founders of Kelowna-based Built Prefab, have worked in modular home building for more than a decade—but until recently, their ventures have only been available to a very small (and very rich) population. “Our projects were pushing $400-plus a square foot, and not too many people are able to afford that,”  Garrity says. He and Rosowsky founded Built Prefab in 2019 with accessibility and design in mind. “We wanted all the benefits of modular, with an architectural, modern mountain design,” Garrity explains, “and to be able to distill that down into a product offering that could actually be purchased.” 

Built Prefab homes start at $185,000 for a full-size home, and can be customized using the company’s online build-and-price tool. Garrity and Rosowsky had used the proprietary software to help clients make design decisions in the past, but it wasn’t available to the public until two months ago—yes, just when everyone started spending more time online and getting a bit bored of their own walls. “We saw people more interested in how their homes would live,” Garrity says. “Now there is a lot more awareness that our homes really are our sanctuaries.” 

Instead of having to make an appointment and getting a maybe-not-that-accurate estimate from a contractor, users can log on to Built Prefab’s website anytime, make selections specific to their family, property and budget, and get a printout estimate. It takes about 10 minutes (my 960-square-foot home with a gas fireplace, built-in wardrobe, and hardwood floors came to $277,238.45, thanks for asking). The end result isn’t totally cookie-cutter, like you might expect. “It’s modular, so we want to build them efficiently in a factory setting,” Garrity says. “But all of the models can be semi-customized.”

The home I designed ended up being a little pricier because of transportation fees (I built it as if I were living in Vancouver, not the Okanagan), but Garrity says they have the means to build elsewhere, and that partners across Canada enable them to manufacture in the Prairies and Ontario. “Even though modular can go all over the place, it’s still a little bit regionalized in terms of actually realizing projects.”

It seems that plenty of us are using our new downtime to dream up new living spaces, and this is a pretty neat tool to bring your idea into virtual reality. You can create multiple iterations of the same home depending on different budgets (next up, my if-I-win-the-lottery home). I can see myself cuddled up to my virtual fireplace with my virtual partner and eight virtual dogs right now.