For over a decade, brothers Kurt and Kris Goodjohn have been pioneers in the prefabricated home industry. The duo started out with Karoleena Homes in British Columbia and eventually made their way to California after its sale to continue developing luxury, factory-built homes.
This time, the team recruited third-generation U.S. home builder Brandon Weiss to join them, and together they established Dvele in 2016 with the goal of creating the smartest, healthiest, and most sustainable homes on the market.
For the past five years, the San Diego–based modular building company has been working hard to develop its luxury prefab product that not only delivers an attractive home—that is built and assembled in a factory—but also places emphasis on sustainability, efficiency, resiliency, and health and wellness.
“I think looking back to when I met Brandon and how he, Kris, and I started to come up with ideas on what this company could be, what we could do together with all of our collective experiences; fast-forward to today, and that original vision is real now,” says Kurt Goodjohn. “We were telling people we were going to do it, and now we are actually doing it.”
In 2020, Dvele acquired Blu Homes, a Vallejo, California, prefab builder and launched a whole-home artificial intelligence system, DveleIQ, to be included as an integrated smart home platform in future homes.
In 2021, the company produced around 45 modules, including the featured Aspenwood project in Truckee, California. By the end of this year, Dvele will be at a production pace of 250 modules per year and will complete roughly 120 modules in 2022.
Whether potential home buyers want a modern full-sized home or a mini one, Dvele offers a wide array of customizable options. The two-story Trinity floor plan is one of the builder’s largest options with 3,523 square feet, four bedrooms, and three-and-half baths, while the Baldwin mini home offers 419 square feet with two bedrooms and one bath.
Interested buyers start the design and build process by choosing a desired plan and creating a custom look book that features exterior and interior finishing packages. And if the buyer chooses to answer a few questions about a specific build site, the company can provide an estimated budget.
Then, the team will review the site, finalize a design agreement, and lock in the budget for home production, installation, and finishing.
Production at the company’s facility and site work, including the home’s foundation, are done simultaneously. By completing these two items at the same time instead of one after the other, the company is able to save a significant amount of time compared with traditional builders. According to the firm’s website, a reasonable estimate from design to move in would be about six months.
The new home, including all of its exterior and interior finishing, millwork, bathroom, and kitchen fixtures, arrives complete by truck, and each module is craned into place. Then, besides some minor cosmetic finishing and connecting electrical and plumbing systems to the on-site utilities, the house is ready for final inspection and move in.
From an architectural standpoint, the 2,193-square-foot Aspenwood dwelling—with a 777-square-foot garage—builds upon the company’s existing Laguna Blanca floor plan. It was designed to be modern and embrace extreme simplicity, an open-concept floor plan, and a blending of indoor living spaces with the outdoors via thoughtfully placed expansive glass.
Upon entrance to the one-story home, owners pass through a foyer to the living area outfitted with an electric fireplace, as all Dvele homes are electric-powered and combustion-free. The adjacent kitchen includes a quartz-topped island with seating for three, stainless steel appliances, and two-toned cabinetry; a hallway leads to a media room for more private television watching.
The owner’s suite features a luxurious en suite bathroom and custom built-in wardrobes. Two secondary bedrooms, each with their own en suite bathrooms, complete the bedroom offerings for this particular project. Bathrooms feature European-style, wall-hung toilets with in-wall flushing mechanisms, custom built-in vanities, and modern plumbing fixtures throughout.
The Laguna Blanca plan also doesn’t skimp on outdoor living space. Stretching from the side of the master to the media room, various lift-and-slide doors open to the home’s deck that overlooks the pine-covered landscape in Truckee.
Every Dvele home comes equipped with DveleIQ, which communicates with over 300 real-time sensors built into the home’s crevices.
From the air circulation and water filtration to in-wall moisture and performance monitoring, the whole-home solution was designed to promote the health of its occupants, the health of the home, and the health of the planet.
A few examples of the system’s capabilities include:
- Each room employs a ventilation strategy that supplies fresh, filtered air in down low, while drawing stale, used air out from above for a continuous fresh-air experience;
- Even though the homes are designed to decrease the likelihood of moisture buildup through condensation, in-wall detectors alert the homeowner as soon as possible in order to avoid mold growth; and
- Simple voice commands can control various time-of-day preferences, such as securing itself, slowly dimming the lights, changing the temperature, and increasing airflow.
“We set out to build the healthiest homes in the world for our occupants and the planet. In order to do that, we had to innovate,” says Goodjohn. “We’ve found that through software and embedded intelligence, not only can we deliver healthier homes today, but they will continue to evolve and improve tomorrow.”
In addition, each Dvele home is solar-ready for the easy addition of a solar array later, or home buyers can add a solar package, including solar panels and battery storage, to enjoy energy benefits from day one. By making the prefab homes as airtight and well-insulated as possible, they require significantly less energy to operate, and, when outfitted with solar capability, they can be a net positive energy source.