Beginning in mid-November, home center Lowe's (lowes.com) will begin selling four different versions of the Katrina Cottage (cusatocottages.com/index_content.html), a residence intended as a more permanent housing alternative in disaster-stricken areas than temporary Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) trailers, in 30 of its stores in Mississippi and Louisiana. The retailer will also offer floor plans for the houses in their stores nationwide and online.
Designed by New York-based based architect Marianne Cusato, the steel-and-wood Cottages will be sold as kits in 544-, 700-, and 900-square-foot sizes, as well as in a model that expands from 612- to 1,200-square-feet; all are engineered to withstand winds up to 140mph (a Category 4 hurricane). Lowe's spokeswoman Jennifer E. Wilson estimates the structures will start at $25,000 to $27,000, with the price including rot- and termite-resistant siding; metal roofing; moisture- and mold-resistant drywall; framing; insulation; fixtures; electrical; plumbing; and appliances. The fee will not cover the cost of land, HVAC, foundation materials, or labor. A 1,300-square-foot version and a universal design model are also planned.
Although time will tell if the public will embrace the Cottages, its prototype has achieved some critical success. The structure won the People's Choice Award (peopledesignaward.org) at the seventh annual National Design Awards (cooperhewitt.org/NDA/index.asp), held October 18 in New York City. The Cottage beat out nearly 500 objects nominated by and voted on by the public. —Julie Taraska, Articles Editor
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