First, it's a nice house -- a 2500sf (at $320/sf building cost... an overheard figure) modern home with many bells and whistles. Great neighborhood. Great schools. Walking distance to downtown. A dream home for sure and one that will make the owners (one of whom I used to work with) happy for years to come.
But what I really realized is that I really need to lower my expectations when stepping into these situations (even in fetching green booties). While the house was indeed a nice place, I wasn't overwhelmed by anything other than it being a beautiful mod-box. I was sort of expecting next-generation homebuilding beyond the fact that the home was premanufactured, but for the most part, the bits featured here -- a huge product showcase for the manufactures and advertisers in the magazine -- was stuff that could be fairly easily procured at the local big box (and by the proliferation of the tags on the walls, fixtures and furniture, it did feel quite a bit like I was walking into one big ad and magazine promotion).
Perhaps I was expecting solar panels for off-the-grid living. Perhaps a laundry gray-water irrigation system to help with the nicely manicured lawn. Maybe some new and somewhat untried materials, technologies or techniques. But I didn't notice anything like this. While it's touted to be pre-manufactured, nothing seemed really new-new (again, save that it was simply a very nice house).
For instance, when we visited the Sunset Breezehouse a few years ago, we were introduced to SynLawn... an odd, but new-to-us product that has since taken off. Additionally, I found the indoor/outdoor architecture of the Breezehouse a bit more intriguing and one which utilized passive solar and natural breezes (thus the name). Granted, these are two different cases, but since I do find Dwell a more avant-garde magazine and the fact that a lot has happened in the building industry in the past 2 years, I was expecting more when walking in.
One of the things I found delighting was the placement of a bedroom suite and desk-set by my friends at Semigood and the efforts of Branch and Design Public. This was a great contrast to the otherwise big-box-style products in much of the house (Kohler, Electrolux, etc.) and I'm glad that Dwell is getting behind up-and-coming talent when they can.
Anyway, as I mentioned, it's a beautiful home... some pix: