SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Prefabricated housing doesn't typically inspire images of luxury or the stylish designs of top architects.
Made famous by Sears, Roebuck & Co., which sold more than 100,000 kit houses during the early 20th century, mail-order homes (as they were known then) had two primary attributes: They were inexpensive and quick to assemble.
Those quaint beginnings, however, are about to be eclipsed by a new chapter in prefab homemaking, this one spearheaded by Fred Carl, founder of Viking Range.
With his new venture, C3 Design, Carl has set out to create luxurious, technologically advanced homes that he says will establish a higher standard in prefab that is appropriate for this century.
"The architecture in itself will be great-looking architecture. The materials, the specifications, the features, the amenities will all be luxury quality," says Carl, who has enlisted some of the country's most notable architects to develop home designs for C3.
Among the first with a prefab design for Carl is award-winning David Rockwell (of The Rockwell Group), best known for designing W Hotels in New York, Paris and Singapore, as well as The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and Nobu restaurants and hotels around the world.
At the recent Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles, Rockwell unveiled the first of several homes he will design for Carl and C3, called Pinwheel -- a 2,400-square-foot house made up of four rectangular units that pinwheel around a 500-square-foot central courtyard. His design features two bedrooms, a study that can be converted into a third bedroom, two and a half bathrooms and a luxe open kitchen and dining area that includes a 10-foot-long statuary marble kitchen island and professional-grade appliances.