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Video:Characteristics of the Katrina Cottage Style

with Fred Abler

Katrina Cottages emerged as a quick and affordable housing solution for displaced residents after Hurricane Katrina. Learn about these charming, eco- and budget-friendly pre-fabricated homes in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Characteristics of the Katrina Cottage Style

Hi, I'm Fred Abler, Graduate Architect and CEO of FormFonts.com. I'm here today for About.com to talk with you about the characteristics of the Katrina Cottage Style.

History of the Katrina Cottage: Hurricane Katrina and FEMA Trailers

This particular style of home emerged as a quick and affordable solution to housing Gulf Coast residents who'd been displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With the intention of replacing FEMA trailers, construction on these low-cost, pre-fabricated shelters began around 2006. Since then, the cottages have gained in popularity due to their charm, turn-of-the-century style, durability, and overall simplicity.

Characteristics of the Katrina Cottage Style

Most are single-story, ranging from only 500 to 1,300 square feet, and include, but are not limited to, the following features: a front porch; turned columns and brackets; steel studs and roof; and rot- and termite-resistant siding.

When examining these homes in Southern or flood-prone regions, you'll find that they're often raised three feet or more as a preventative measure against future flooding. 

The interiors of these homes are compact, with most having one or two bedrooms and a single bathroom.

Katrina Cottages After the Hurricane Relief

Having served their purpose on the Gulf Coast with positive response, there is currently a marketing campaign to expand their installation nationwide. Touted as ideal primary homes, vacation cabins, and even student housing, manufacturers hope to appeal to those looking for a home that's quickly and easily assembled, as well as inexpensive.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Katrina Cottage-Style Home

Some of the floorplans are quite unorthodox, particularly in the smaller models, with simplicity and functionality ruling the overall square design. This is definitely something to consider when contemplating the purchase of one of these homes.

Pre-fabricated homes don't hold up as well in most markets, and gain less equity, and take a little longer to sell than most homes. However, Katrina Cottages are a relatively new architectural style and may experience a different trajectory in the coming years. As the saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention." The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina created a need for affordable, compact, and disaster-proof housing, and Katrina Cottages were the solution.

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