This year’s Idea Home at the Minneapolis Home + Garden Show, Feb 26-28, is two homes — a barnHouse with a SIPs shell and utility core, and a lightHouse accessory dwelling unit — both designed by Alchemy Architects.
The home — actually two small dwellings — won’t be dismantled. Instead, both will be relocated to St. Paul as model homes for a proposed development on the East Side.
The homes are prototypes representing two new concepts designed by Alchemy Architects, known for its weeHouse, a modular prefabricated structure with a small footprint.
One of the new concepts on display at this year’s show is Alchemy’s barnHouse, a gabled shell surrounding a central module that contains the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and closet-storage space.
It’s basically “a kit of parts,” said Geoffrey Warner, Alchemy founder and creator of the weeHouse, describing the new barnHouse concept. It can be built on-site, giving a homeowner expanded options over the weeHouse, which is transported from the factory fully built and placed on the site.
The other new concept is the lightHouse, a 300-square-foot accessory dwelling unit that illustrates “bite-size sustainability, a way of living lightly,” said Alchemy designer Andrew Blaisdell.
Both homes are being manufactured and built by Energy Panel Structures (EPS) of Iowa using SIPs (structural insulated panels), making them extremely energy-efficient.
The homes will be furnished by Hom Furniture and landscaped by Garden in the Woods, with sustainable elements including a water feature that hydroponically hydrates a kitchen garden.
After the show, the two prototypes will be moved to the southwest corner of Payne and Maryland avenues in St. Paul, where Alchemy and the nonprofit Eastside Neighborhood Development Co. have proposed a tiny house cluster as a demonstration of how such homes could spur development of affordable housing.
And if you’re drawn to the tiny-home lifestyle, you’ll find other examples at this year’s Home + Garden show — a “tiny home village” featuring pocket-size homes from five Midwestern builders, including an off-the-grid, solar-powered tiny house.