There is no mistaking Morgan’s house. Compared with others in her neighborhood and most everywhere on the Cape, everything—materials, location, interior design, and aesthetic— about Jennifer Morgan’s house is distinctive. It was in fact, the first of its kind ever built. “I was the first person ever to build with this kit, called Noble Home; I was the guinea pig!”
Completed in 2008, the house is a pre-fabricated kit, a rarity on Cape Cod, but part of a growing trend driven by those with a certain penchant for 1950s design who are also looking for green credentials, smaller size, and a lower price tag. The kit itself cost around $45,000, including materials, with a little extra for shipping. All the construction materials down to the fasteners (framing nails not included) arrived at the lot on a flatbed truck, ready to be built according to the included assembly handbook.
While Morgan gathered a small team of professionals to help her piece together the house (an electrician, a plumber, a builder, an excavator, and various sub contractors), as the general contractor, she took a decidedly active role in this construction project. This process, both exhausting and thrilling, was ultimately rewarding,
“You end up learning so much about the house, all the codes, the details, “ says Morgan. She also marveled at how long it took her to find people willing to take on her project. Many builders wouldn’t do it, perhaps intimidated or just uninterested in trying something that was so different.
The Noble Home kit was a perfect fit for budget, maintenance, design preferences, and sustainability. Morgan worked with the founder of Noble Home, Noah Grunberg, to design a two-story house that she could use as a living space and art studio. Her goal was to create an industrial interior/exterior space, achieved with touches like an open loft-style plan, concrete floors, galvanized steel roof and siding, and exposed wiring.
The rigidity of such materials is softened through the use of natural materials such as a white pine tongue and groove panel ceiling, white pine rafters and collar ties and unusual accents like a rustic soapstone farm sink.
Typical of modern design, the house is simple: a 20’ by 40’ rectangle, with 1600 total square feet of space split equally between the two floors. Jennifer and her dog, Friday, live in the upper floor’s open plan divided by sliding partition doors that carve out a bedroom and bathroom with the remaining space devoted to a living and kitchen area. It is a very spacious 800 square feet.