March 19, 2019

Acorn Deck builds $600K homes in its factory

Photo | Courtesy
A home built by Acorn Deck House Co.

Acorn Deck House Co., based in Acton, manufactures prefabricated homes at its 85,000-square-foot plant. In an interview, General Manager Paul Buraczynski and Marketing Manager Valerie Graham spoke about the process of making a custom-built home in the factory.

What do these homes look like?

Graham: Acorn was founded in 1947 and Deck House was founded in 1959. Those companies merged in 1995 and have been under the same company name since 2009. Acorn homes were more traditional while Deck House homes were much more contemporary with exposed wood and beams.

When they merged, it created options to offer to clients. We offer those two categories and what we call Next houses, which are more modern.

A lot of clients are creating hybrids with us and a lot of our homes now tend to have exposed post and beam in larger rooms like the great room.

What are the prices of these homes?

Graham: It's hard to give a basic range. It depends on the materials and finishes. Usually, the finished homes, excluding any site work but including the on-site builder costs, start around $600,000.

What's the most expensive home you've built?

Graham: It was 25,000 square feet for about $7.5 million.

How long does it take to build a home?

Graham: It depends on the client's choices. In California, because of permitting, it can take two years. Around here, the turnaround can be very quick. On site construction takes around eight months, while the actual factory construction can take as little as five weeks.

Photo | Courtesy
Workers construct part of prefabricated homes in Acorn Deck's factory in Acton.

How is the home actually built in the factory?

Buraczynski: We take the designed plans we interpret from the customer's needs and make architectural drawings. We then take what's on the plans and make it into puzzle pieces. We label the wall panels, the beams, posts and make separate components.

A lot of people think its modular where a whole section of the home is built and finished in the factory and shipped to the site. That's not really what we do. We cut everything down to size, manufacture things like wall panels and roofing materials and include all of it into the package. Everything is shipped in a kit of parts to the site. A local builder will usually do the work of actually constructing the house.

Who are your clients?

Graham: The client already owns the land and 99.9 percent of them are direct buyers. We create a custom design meeting their requirements and preferences using architects on staff.

What is the benefit to building a home this way?

Buraczynski: We can complete the shell within weeks and make it watertight. When the permit comes in and the foundation is done, we can have the house there that day and start construction.

Where is most of your business?

Graham: We ship our homes worldwide. We've done business in England, Israel, Japan and we're working on projects in Mongolia. Most of our business is still in the New England and East Coast area.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau.


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