Founded by architect Frank Vafaee in 2009, Los Angeles based Proto Homes is composed of architects, engineers and contractors with a shared vision of reinventing the antiquated approach of the homebuilding industry. Using technology, process engineering and modern architecture, homeowners and developers can now build higher quality custom homes, far easier and more profitably that what is currently available. To date, Proto has built over 60 custom homes throughout Southern and Northern California.
Featured in the Los Angeles Times, Dwell, and Forbes, among others, Proto Homes was “conceived in the spirit of making modern architecture more accessible, without shortchanging quality or architectural integrity.”
Utilizing technology including predesigned and tested components, Proto Homes is creating architecturally significant homes in the Los Angeles area founded on “efficiency, flexibility and innovation.”
How do they do it? Proto Homes has created a unique prefabricated technology, which is unprecedented in the homebuilding industry. This technology makes the construction process predictable and streamlined, from beginning to end.
The result? They are revolutionizing the home building process to make modern architecture more accessible while “fostering sustainability and environmental consciousness.”
We are grateful to have worked with the Proto Homes team for many years, and we recently chatted with them about their process.
What are the common misconceptions about your work or the process?
One is that we build “modular” homes. We refer to our process as “system-built” which means we take the site flexibility and unlimited customization that has come with traditional “stick built’ methods and combine it with the quality and predictability that comes with building components in the factory. The result is a custom, high quality home, built in half the time and half the cost than any other way of building. It really is the best of both worlds. (Of note is that the financing, permitting and logistics follow “traditional” builds, not “prefab” providing greater flexibility, customization and financing options for homeowners and builders).
When people hear that we are building homes in a fraction of time and cost of traditional, it is sometimes assumed that we are using lower quality materials in our builds and/or there is little room for customization in our plans. We use standard, industry proven, high quality components, it is our revolutionary system-built and assembly process, our use of intuitive software, and our patented Proto Core housing all key components in a central unit that unlocks the time and cost savings inherent in every Proto Home.
How long does the process take?
Our system-built approach enables us to build a high quality custom home, from conception to completion in about seven months – 50% less time and from 30-50% less cost than traditional builds.
What is unique about the process?
There are three main factors that make a Proto home unique. First is our process for building that we outlined above. It is system built and assembled – meaning once the site is prepped it only takes a crew of 5 people 48 days to lay the foundation, assemble all interior and exterior walls, build out all electric, HVAC and plumbing leads – everything ready for interior finishings.
Second is our Proto Core – this is the control center of every Proto Home. In almost every traditional build the central electric, plumbing, HVAC, and smart functions are separated and spread out throughout the home. This is inefficient in the build and subsequently forces the homeowner to inconveniently maintain and access all these systems separately. We have brought all of these into one unit, to access anything, from heating to plumbing to the CPU that controls your smart home operating system, you can do so by simply opening a door and walking inside.
Finally, we utilize software to efficiently translate custom plans into precisely engineered building materials and to provide unparalleled visibility into the build for homebuilders and developers. For the homeowner, our Proto App provides access to all key details of the home and shortly it will automate all service and maintenance, allowing them to operate all the home’s smart functions from their phone.
Are there any occasions you wouldn’t recommend a prefab home?
Though it can be done, hillside lots are more difficult and costly due to the site accommodations necessary.
Building a home can and should be a great experience. If anyone out there is considering building, buying or developing a home, let’s connect – we think you’ll be surprised at how easy, cost effective and flexible this new way of building can be.
How can someone get started?
For more information about Proto Homes or to view a gallery of their beautiful work, please visit www.protohomes.com and their Instagram page