The front entrance of the home.
The front entrance of the home.
The main-floor great room, which affords dramatic views of the 400-acre property.
The lower level offers room for relaxing and playing pool.
A rear view reveals porches and terraces.
The lower level houses guest rooms, rec spaces and more.
A covered patio offers a sheltered area for dining.
A 9,200-square-foot home in Locust Grove, Virginia, was built by Shepherd Construction Company.
Acorn Deck House Company occupies an unusual niche in the post-and-beam, custom-housing market. Within the walls of its 85,000-square-foot factory in Acton, Massachusetts, the company manufactures the prefabricated components of custom homes it has designed in all shapes, sizes and styles. Once the parts are completed, they are shipped to building locations around the country and abroad, where local contractors oversee their assembly.
With 30 employees, Acorn Deck House Company handles all aspects of each project from inception until the components leave the factory. The process begins with a meeting between the client and a project director. “Our project directors get the big picture, the client’s wish list, what they’re looking for in a home,” says marketing coordinator Valerie Graham. After the client makes revisions, the project director relays the plan to the design department, which tailors the home to the client’s specifications.
A panelization department then breaks down the drawings into components: beams, posts, wall panels averaging eight-by-eight-feet and more—“the nitty-gritty details of the customer’s plan,” Graham says. Those are then sent to the factory for the fabrication process.
Acorn Homes began life in 1947. Deck House was launched in 1959, and the two companies joined forces in 1995, becoming Deck House, Inc. In 2009, the company was purchased by president Tom Trudeau, who merged the names. Today, there are three divisions: Acorn Homes, which designs traditional houses; Deck House, which designs with a contemporary aesthetic featuring exposed post-and-beam frames; and NextHouse, which is more modern than the Deck House system with cleaner lines and flat roofs. A fourth system, Collaboration, allows outside architects to bring plans to Acorn for fabrication.
The benefits of a prefab custom home are many—starting with predictability. “Since most of our building takes place in the factory and has so much planning behind it, our estimates tend to be very on-point, with no hidden costs or surprises,” Graham explains. “Customers see from the renderings in the beginning exactly what the finished product is going to look like.”
Additionally, there is very little waste, as the in-house production process utilizes almost all materials—and weather is never an issue, since the building takes place indoors. Once the parts arrive at the job site, the framing stage takes less time because everything has been precut and labeled at the factory.
Another plus: The company’s Parts & Service department has archives going back to 1947. “We take care of past clients,” Graham says. “We’ve built about 20,000 homes since the beginning and have been able to maintain about 18,000 of those plans. So if an owner calls with a house that was built in the 1960s, our Parts & Service department can consult the original plans, help replace parts and offer updates or renovation ideas.”
While most of the designs the company produces tend to be hybrids—a mix of traditional and contemporary interiors—the last couple of years have seen a shift toward more modern homes created within the NextHouse division. “It’s your house, your way,” Trudeau says. “We can do anything—whatever the customer wants.”
FACTS & STATS From start to completion, the process takes from eight months to a year, with the design-and-fabrication portion reliably lasting 10 weeks. Acorn has shipped houses to Israel, Japan, China and England; projects are currently underway in Mongolia, the Bahamas and Australia.
SPECIALTIES Acorn Deck House Company designs custom homes and custom additions. Twenty houses and 15 additions were built last year; this year, 32 projects are already in the works.
INQUIRIES Acorn Deck House Company, 852 Main Street, Acton, Massachusetts 01720 • 800-727-3325 • AcornDeckHouse.com