Dream Home 2.0: Starchitect plans on a budget

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Hugh Newell Jacobsen often designed homes involving a large pavilion, which is at the center of the Dream Home

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There are lots of people out there who would like to have a home designed by a famous architect, but the majority of us have to make do with simply seeing such abodes on TV or on the pages of magazines. Realizing this in the 1990's, Life magazine ran a series of articles in which they asked some of the most renowned architects at the time to design homes that could be built for under US$200,000. They also sold the plans. One of the most popular of those designs, by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen has been revamped and made available for sale again – although inflation has had its way with the price tag.

The original Jacobsen Dream Home was first released in 1998 and, according to Jacobsen Architecture LLC, 945 of those plans were sold for the asking price of $250 each. The home features a simple H-shaped design with two wings adjoined by a central pavilion that is one of the trademarks of the architect's work. One one side of the H is the kitchen, dining room and living room, while the other side holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. There is an additional half-bath in the kitchen area.

Time shut down its presses in 2007, leaving the plans for the home in a bit of limbo. To get them out in the hands of the public again, the architectural firm revised the design slightly to meet modern sensibilities and building codes and licensed them to the Herring Bay Holding Company to make available for sale.

The new plans offer more customization options than the original design did, with purchasers able to raise the roof height, extend the sides of the "H," detach the garage, remove the gutters, flip the central pavilion and basically make the home their own. There are three exterior finishes available – masonry, wood clapboard, or board and batten – and there is an option to have the home built only from American materials.

The plans are retailing for $3000 and Herring Bay estimates that the house can be built for approximately $380,000 - $900,000 depending on finishes, local real estate markets and the particular challenges of individual building sites. Not quite the most affordable construction, especially considering what some other architect-designed homes cost, so it doesn't quite track with Life's original concept. Still, getting a "starchitect"-designed home for $3,000 is quite a bargain.

"Dream House purchasers will instantly recognize Hugh's iconic and timeless style encapsulated within the 2.0 plans," said Jacobsen's son Simon, who is a member of the architectural firm that's still helmed by his father. "Hugh Newell Jacobsen once said 'it is our art that has an opportunity to leave a footprint in the sand.' The Dream House is Hugh's indelible footprint."

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