Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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 beberling@dailyrepublic.net. 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

Vacaville school board candidates sound off during forum

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police seek unknown man after female walkers, joggers attacked

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Memorial flight honors beloved Gordon Valley man

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Council OKs pact for backup water supply to Travis

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

Recology goes pink to trash cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Group announces driver’s license law presentation

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

City reaches milestone for train station project

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans advises Highway 12 delays likely

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

Supervisors take no action in closed session

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Curtola park-and-ride bill goes to governor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

Sandy’s 101 Omlettes closes in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Man convicted of failing to register as sex offender

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
DUI checkpoint nets arrests in Vacaville

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Library’s teen board to meet next week

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

South Solano Dems schedule candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Yippie job training program seeks applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Geiger sworn in as Fairfield planning commissioner

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Faith in Action puts out call for volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6

 
Love, a legend, come to theaters

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Fairfield police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 16, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Aug. 17, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Holder brings his civil rights push to Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Strong DOJ response to Ferguson seeks truth, calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

As protests rage, Obama struggles to find his role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Ferguson pledges outreach efforts after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

How can authorities restore order in Ferguson?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Some evacuees of Yosemite-area fire can go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Prison company pays $8 million in back wages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Committee approves higher pension calculations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Veteran rock climber killed in fall in Yosemite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Officials say Lake Tahoe imperiled by wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

US officials: Video shows American’s beheading

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

NY took quick precautions after in-custody death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tens of thousands march on Pakistan’s parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

No getting away from corruption in state government

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Editorial cartoons for Aug. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Serve and protect? Certainly not

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 21 Comments

 
Question of the week: Does school start too soon?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

Government trying to steal rights

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Our daughter says she hates her mother and refuses to talk to us

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

10 Things: 10 fresh ways to dress corn on the cob

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Think beyond the slice with refreshing watermelon

By J.M. Hirsch | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson set for DC Comics film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Don Pardo, iconic TV announcer, dies at 96

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Wife to bury Kasem in Norway, cites heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

49ers sign defensive lineman Dorsey to extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Dawson eager to get back out kicking after misses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rancho Solano women’s team vying for spot in nationals

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Joe Gibbs Racing hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis knows hoops, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders still waiting for Hayden to get healthy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

As Durant steps back, US team is moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement to avert lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Islanders announce sale of minority stake of club

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ohio State: Injured QB Miller done for the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Past US Open champs Djokovic, Federer seeded 1-2 in U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Competition heats up for Tesla’s gigafactory

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B7

Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s to sell packaged coffee nationally

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Consumer prices edge up 0.1 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks rise as US home construction rebounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US home construction jumps 15.7 percent in July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Horace James Sam

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joseph ‘Joey’ Kenneth Meyers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Defrances Jean Freeman-Jefferson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Eddie Lee Staten

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
June Canaris-Heath

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5