This might look like a colonial farmhouse with the patina of 150 years of living. But it was actually just built, in a factory in less than 100 days, by Mark Jupiter and Tyler Schmetterer's firm, New World Home. Fifty percent more energy-efficient than a typical suburban house, this retro spin on modular could be a new model for home building.
"In residential housing, only 1% of revenue is spent on R&D," says Jupiter, who compares most new building to "polishing a turd." With college buddy Schmetterer, a tech entrepreneur, he reverse-engineered a farmhouse and made it eco-friendly. So the foundation is pre-insulated, the reflective roof is largely recycled metal, and the high-efficiency plumbing saves 10,000 gallons of water per year compared with a similar-size standard home.
New World Home is now licensing its seven prefab styles, which run a reasonable $150 to $200 per square foot, to builders and developers. It has teamed with Country Living and is eyeing other, bigger branding partners. "Why," muses Schmetterer, "doesn't Ralph Lauren have its own brand of homes?"
A version of this article appeared in the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.