There was a time when modular houses were looked down upon. These days, they are still easy and relatively inexpensive to build, but are also easily customized to offer the best of both worlds. Robert M. Gurney kept that in mind when designing the bm Modular One House in suburban Washington, D.C.

Built as a spec house for a developer, this house in Bethesda, Md., is a modern, light-filled version of the typical modular home. It displays a contemporary look we have come to expect from modern homes; one could be easily fooled into thinking this was a custom-built house.

Thirteen modules shape the house, which was built in two weeks, shipped to the site and assembled in just two days. Polished concrete floors and the concrete basement were laid while the shells were being manufactured.

A geothermal HVAC system and plenty of insulation ensure climate control. The client chose finishes including maple flooring, walnut millwork and aluminum stairs. On the outside, the modular house showcases a mix of corrugated metal siding, stucco and Spanish cedar.

The potential buyer wanted a modern home with lots of natural light. Large windows make this wish come true, alongside clever space partitioning. It worked out for the builder, too, since its portfolio had previously lacked a modern house. [Photos by Maxwell MacKenzie]