Designed by Alchemy Architects principal Geoffrey Warner, weeHouses are small, energy-efficient, factory-built dwellings customized to each customer and site. Back in 2003, when a customer requested a small retreat built for under $50,000, Warner responded by designing the original weeHouses’ Arado design and erecting it on his client’s Wisconsin land. The results commanded big attention, and Warner received a deluge of calls asking for information, and replication, of the design. Thus launched his weeHouse endeavor, today with multiple plans that are customized to each situation.
Small-space living lessons from the weeHouse:
1. Customize: Every weeHouse has some custom element, whether it’s something as simple as tile selection or as complex as a completely new floor plan. “We like to make site visits, as it helps us relate more quickly and fully to our clients’ needs and dreams and helps us fully appreciate each site’s hidden potential,” Warner says. Along with their small size, affordability and customization, quick delivery is a weeHouse selling point. Depending on size and style, Alchemy can design, build and deliver a weeHouse in nine months to any location in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.
2. Great outdoors: Floor-to-ceiling low-emissivity windows allow weeHouses to be efficient while connecting with their natural surroundings. Designed for passive-solar gain, the large windows also allow the sun to help heat the small interior. Conversely, white rubber roofs reflect summertime heat, helping keep temperatures inside comfortable.
3. Cold comfort: It’s easy to heat a tiny space with a single element. In this case, a wood-burning stove efficiently and inexpensively heats the whole home. Other weeHouses in cold climates employ in-floor radiant heat.
4. Material matters: High-quality materials become affordable when you’re talking about such a small space. weeHouse exteriors are offered in recyclable corrugated steel or corn crib siding from FSC-certified or local sources.