Monday, May 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Blu Homes installs Mare Island house

blu homes 1_27_14

Workers erect a Blu Homes prefabricated model home on Mare Island in Vallejo Monday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | January 29, 2014 |

VALLEJO — Blu Homes on Monday demonstrated how it takes three giant rectangular boxes and unfolds them into a house, a process that looks like a crane working with the world’s biggest Transformer toy.

The company on the same day announced that it is moving its corporate headquarters from Massachusetts to Mare Island in Vallejo, joining the Blu Homes factory there. But the installation of the model home made the visual splash and attracted dozens of people to a Mare Island hillside to watch.

Leo Vallely and his wife Ingrid of Berkeley joined the onlookers. The Vallelys are thinking of buying one of the prefabricated houses and received an email from Blu Homes informing them of the event. Monday marked the first time they’d seen one of the Blu Homes houses installed.

“We’ve been to the factory for a factory tour, but it’s a static affair,” Leo Vallely said.

Monday’s event was hardly static. A 100-foot-tall crane placed three modules a short distance apart on a concrete foundation. A small, white drone flew back and forth, photographing the proceedings for Blu Homes.

Using a crane to unfold a house and unite the three modules takes about a day. The modules already contain floors, kitchen, cabinets and other features, all built into the steel-framed structure at the Blu Homes factory a half-mile away.

The factory is housed in a 257,750-square-foot, World War II-era building with a central bay 10-stories tall. Navy workers once built parts for submarines there. Blu Homes offers factory tours, but prospective customers have been unable to see a model home.

“The experience of the house is different when you see one in real life, installed on a site,” said Milli Josifovska of Blu Homes.

Blu Homes on Monday set up one of its Breezehouse floor plans as a model home. It plans to ultimately have four model homes on display on Mare Island, with a Glidehouse, Balance Metro and Element to come.

Vallejo Vice Mayor Bob Sampayan was among the onlookers who braved a cold wind blowing off a fogbound San Pablo Bay to see the Breezehouse unfold. He praised Blu Homes.

“It’s really a feather in Vallejo’s cap to have a stand-up company like this have its home here,” Sampayan said.

Blu Homes brings technology, production and tax dollars to Vallejo, he said. He thinks the model homes will draw more people to Mare Island, where Vallejo is redeveloping the naval shipyard that closed in 1996.

Fifth-grade teacher Julie Nicholson of Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy learned about Blu Homes from Sunset magazine several years ago, before the company opened its Mare Island plant in 2012. She is on the company’s email list, which is how she learned about Monday’s event.

“I just got an email on Saturday and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, we can bring the kids,’ ” Nicholson said.

She and fifth-grade teacher Molly Behrens did just that. They led about 40 children on a walk of little less than a mile from the Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy in a nearby subdivision to watch workers unfold the Breezehouse.

Among other things, Nicholson said she wanted the children to relate what they saw to the math skills they are learning. Some of the children have talked about wanting to be an architect or some type of builder, she said.

Maura McCarthy, a co-founder of Blu Homes, came to watch the Breezehouse unfold. She talked about the recent decision to move the Blu Homes corporate headquarters from Massachusetts to Mare Island.

The Bay Area is a unique place, with such attributes as engineering and design talent from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford and a wealth of craftspeople in the area, she said.

Blu Homes has more than 260 craftspeople, engineers, architects, project management officials, business officials and other employees on Mare Island, a company press release said. When the Mare Island plant opened in 2012, it had 20 employees.

Bill Haney and McCarthy founded Blu Homes in 2008. Prices range from about $150,000 to more than $650,000, with the customer also providing the foundation and property for the homes. Go to www.bluhomes.com for more information.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • my2centsJanuary 28, 2014 - 7:30 am

    This is quite a coup for Vallejo. Prefab housing is a great alternative to ground up site building. Cool!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JBDragonJanuary 28, 2014 - 12:42 pm

    Those prices seem high to me. What size is the cheapest one? You also have land cost and foundation work cost on top of that pre fab house cost. That's still a lot of money. Am I off thinking when all is said and done that the $150,000 house will end up being a $230,000 home or more depending on where you locate it at? At least here in CA where land is not cheap and taxes are high! Great for Vallejo to bring a company like this into this State and onto Mare Island. What is the percentage in savings from the same type of house being build on site in comparison?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Papa BearJanuary 29, 2014 - 5:55 pm

    very expensive, in my opinion. And they don't have skilled craftsmen as they pay too poorly to attract good talent. Caveat emptor, from a former employee who shared their quality control issues. Overpriced, over-hyped.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

New Torah being written for Solano County Jews

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Napa Valley College site of Girls on the Run event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Council plans bat outing

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville Museum celebrates historic pioneer girl

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Chambers of commerce plan Cinco de Mayo event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Tickets available for Dixon May Fair, sneak peek

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local governments set to meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: May 2, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: May 2, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: May 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: May 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Biz Buzz: First Northern Bank announces earnings

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

 
Weather for Monday, May 4, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

Biz Buzz: Sleep Train continues clothing drive

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Biz Buzz: Solano College site of business expo

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Google embeds engineers as professors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Oyez! Town crier at royal baby birth captures attention

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Quakes hit California, but no damage or injuries reported

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
With rescue near, Boko Haram stoned Nigerian girls to death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Survey: States spent heavily to clear winter snow and ice

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
City: 2 gunmen killed outside Muhammad cartoon contest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Slain trooper’s parents say they forgive suspected ambusher

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Baltimore mayor lifts curfew 6 days after riots

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Italy: At least 10 migrants found dead in sea off Libya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Arab coalition ‘reconnaissance’ troops land in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Nepal shuts airport to big jets; more bodies found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Living

Catholics honor mother of church with special event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Today in history: Monday, May 4, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: May 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Returning home puts far-flung choices in relief

By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

Horoscope: May 4, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Family member has still not paid for commissioned artwork

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

Ashes of ballerina Plisetskaya to be spread over Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
New project in US South promotes music “triangle”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

‘Avengers’ sequel is second biggest US opener of all time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wanted by the US, Roman Polanski gets film award in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

.

Sports

JC softball: Solano eliminated after late rally comes up short

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
AP Source: Warriors star Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Dale Earnhardt Jr. cruises to 1st Talladega win since 2004

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

McIlroy top of the world at Match Play Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors roll past Grizzlies 101-86 in Game 1 of West semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Unusually wild Gray, Vogt HRs carry A’s past Rangers 7-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Texas the front line on high school ECG debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants beat Angels 5-0 behind Lincecum for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Mayweather takes his $100 million check and runs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vonn says relationship with Woods is over

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
5-year drought ends as Chelsea is champion of England again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Montoya fastest on opening day of Indy tests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
LeBron, Cavs ready to take on raging Bulls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Paul questionable as Clippers and Rockets begin series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
James Taylor debuts new song about Fenway, at Fenway

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Westbrook, Valiante win IMSA Tudor race at Monterey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Inbee Park wins North Texas Shootout for 2nd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ian Woosnam wins Champions Tour’s Insperity Invitational

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Royals’ Lorenzo Cain drops appeal, begins serving suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for May 4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Beal leads well-rested Wizards past Hawks 104-98 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
.

Business

 
.

Obituaries

Arthur Martin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Ora May Bray

By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

Lois G. Johnston (Leib) (Bayard)

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Bridge May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote May 4

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7