Start-up prefab house manufacturer Method Homes of Seattle has debuted its first model, The Method Cabin. Designed as a series of vacation homes by Seattle-based Balance Associates, Architects and available in three versions, the sustainably designed prefab cabin will strive for LEED for Homes Gold certification.

Second homes and cabins make up a significant portion of Balance's portfolio, according to principal architect Tom Lenchek, so the partnership with Method is a natural fit with the firm's skill-set. Stylistically, the natural-modern Method Cabins relate to some of Balance's previous work. And though they incorporate large glass areas, liberal interior and exterior use of wood, and low-sloped roofs, "They're not what most people would think of as a vernacular mountain cabin," Lenchek says.

Method's goal is to construct and finish its houses with a focus on sustainability. Its design and fabrication approach incorporates locally produced building materials, as well as water-saving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient systems, indoor air quality systems, and photovoltaic options. Each Method Cabin will be constructed in the company's climate-controlled facility at a cost of $150 to $250 per square foot, depending on finish level.

Once fabrication of the first Method Cabin is completed later this month, it will be assembled at the foot of Mount Baker in Washington state. It will do triple-duty as a prototype, open model, and vacation home for Method co-founders Mark Rylant and Brian Abramson and their families. Visit the company's blog at for updates on the cabin's progress.

The Method Cabin series currently is available only in the western United States, but the firm plans to have an East Coast manufacturer in place by early 2009. The company also is working on designing models for infill projects and plans to forge additional architectural partnerships. "Our goal is to have a portfolio of different models designed by different world-class architecture firms," Abramson says.