Sarah Rich

PREFAB FRIDAY: Rocio Romero's Fish Camp House

by , 10/13/06

rocio romero prefab friday fish camp

Rocio Romero is perhaps best known for her LV Home, but her Fish Camp house has been our pet favorite since we first saw it. She talked about Fish Camp at Dwell on Design last month, and in this month’s issue (which is all prefab all the time), there’s a beautiful piece about all of Romero’s true-to-the-tradition prefab series.


The Fish Camp was conceived as a getaway abode. At just 312-ft-sq, it’s perfect as an office, studio, guest house or backcountry cabin. It achieves a rather rare and totally clean fusion of modern and rustic. Best of all, the place can be assembled DIY-style (after foundation has been secured) by two people in one weekend with a set of basic tools. She showed slides of the process during her talk at Dwell on Design and it was almost unbelievable how easy it looked.

rocio romero prefab friday fish camp

Romero is big on affordability, and wanted to outdo even her own LV series by creating something truly within range. Fish Camp comes in around $20,000, which amounts to $64/sq. foot; quite reasonable for this market. While many prefab designers claim to honor the original intention behind the style, Rocio Romero truly stays mission central. Her homes are accessible and utilitarian, but still warm, inviting and thoughtfully designed.


$20,000 from Rocio Romero

+ Dwell November 2006: Prefab Now

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38 Comments

  1. Pablo Castrel February 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Be it a house or a camp house, a solid plan, a good blueprint and a solid foundation is always needed. Build it well and build it to last!
    http://www.adirondackcabinplans.com/how-to-make-small-cabin/

  2. Douglas Scott Treado September 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Here it is, two years later! (9/11/08)…I agree with Jill, BJ, Brandon, Jill Danyelle, Fancyfox and Kenneth, to name most of ‘em…Nice “camp” or “shed” or whatever you want to call it…no frills, but nice, basic lines…Cost, OK–get real, $20k for this is OK–
    Guess maybe “Whistler” has a good design of his own? Let’s see it! And build it….
    With materials costs going out of sight since the 2006–actually before then–today’s cost would probably be $30k…and it’s quickly built–it’s not a house, but it doesn’t pretend to be…Keep it simple, folks…!
    Douglas Scott Treado – Fingerlakes area/Ithaca,NY

  3. rejuvenator June 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Many participants that are being critical should remember to walk in someone else’s shoes every now and then – keep the proper perspective. I am a gc specializing in remodeling restorations of older traditional residences – however, have a strong affinity and interest in newer building technology, use of reclaimed materials and the movement to a smaller, lighter footprint. The shed is architecture, though minimal, and provides a fit for certain market individuals – those that do not have the time, knowledge or werewithal to construct their own structure, especially in a remote location. For Rocio to have provided such a structure to the marketplace successfully for 20k is an achievement!

  4. Brandy March 2, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    try putting together a shed or garage that’s nice enough to spend a weekend
    (or a month) in and do it for less than 20K.
    and do it yourself without hiring anybody. then complain cause she has all the hard work done for you already.
    it even includes windows. come on, if you don’t like it, don’t buy one.

  5. James March 1, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I do not think the price is not to far out of line, considering, the Shed has ceramic tile, sliding glass doorwall,
    SIPs, and a deck. The deck seems a little high off the ground not to have a railing. Where I live the labor cost for ceramic tile costs about $10.00 per Square foot; Thats $3000.00 just to install the tile. Understand, labor costs are more than half…….more so if the project was stick built.

    Best Wishes,
    James

  6. Rob January 6, 2008 at 3:22 am

    There’s probably $10k of materials in the FishCamp.. $20k for something that’s ready to set up in a day or two? come on.. cheapasses!

    If you want something less rustic & don’t want to finish it out yourself, shell out $60k for the Breckenridge faux modernist trailer:
    http://www.breckenridgefinerliving.com/us/glassic/interior.php

  7. Dave Edwards May 11, 2007 at 4:44 am

    Why don’t we have enovative designers like this in Australia?
    Cheers Mate

  8. Trip May 7, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Folks, I’m not an architect, or a designer or developer, I am just a fisherman. Recently I bought a 3 acre waterfront lot to build a fishcamp. I think what you are missing is the idea or intention of the design. Its meant to be small and cozy. Just a place to sleep after a long day on the water. Well I think this peice has met i’s intetions. This is just what I wanted to build near my new peir. Its also a staging point before I build my less than 1000 sf bungalow. Kudos on the 60′s style furniture it reminded me of my grandfathers camp from long ago. Still it’s overpriced I hope that the 20k was a typo.

  9. uncle wilco March 27, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I think its great but i’am not a designer just a sheddie.

  10. Randi March 20, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I appreciate the comments by the architects – this is supposed to be a healthy discussion – which means you don’t shout down dissenting voices.

    I am looking to build a small structure on some lakefront property I just purchased. Without a bathroom, this one is not for me, but I am going to look at some of her LV designs.

    If anyone has any ideas of where else I should look for a more affordable small pre-fab like this, please let me know! But I do appreciate the fact that this little “shed on stilts” is out there! I just wish it were a lot cheaper, like $12k or so.

  11. beverly weeks March 4, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I also love her concepts(more affordable?)The plans that were sent to me were a 100.000. Out of my price range.LV price 33.900?I missed that one.I fell in love with the simplistic home I saw on TV.I think she built it for her parents.I was so excited.I live on the Great Miami River.In the summer the canoes and kayaks color the river like rainbows.I thought it would be the perfect place to show off one of her LV homes.(I bought the old fish camp I am living in for 71.000.(Not exactly a Hyde Park or Park Place address.) Waterfront property (no matter whear it is ,is slowily becomming extinct.)My income last year was 24,000.This place has many problems.But in the summer it is filled with as many as 30 people at a time.The lot is only about100x80.Horseshoes,cornhole and cards in the front yard.Hot tub canoes and Kayaks in the river in the back.(My back door is approximately 30ft. to the river.)Her home would show like a Frank Lloyd Wright here.My house is paid for.Does she do kits that would allow a face lift?(I think that is a great idea!) An affordable package to change the look?Bev

  12. Brandy March 2, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    I love it.
    “This “shed” is more than 90% of the human world gets to sleep in…”

    I agree.. I have seen and could take you to places in the States that are not this nice, but people live in it cause they have to. I think these are for fun, and becasuse you can. But in the event that you HAVE to, it would be an affordable option. It is modern AND rustic, but if you aren’t going to buy one, then why such the harsh criticism
    I can build a shed in a weekend with my own two fingernail painted hands, but if i have the choice of having to figure out the boring stuff myself and putting together an oversized lego-house, then I choose the fun one for sure! They’re nice, and chep. Better than a “tuff-shed” by FAR!

    I have been pouring over the LV series for over 2 years now.
    With a father that is a contractor, (and a grandfather, uncles, cousins etc…) I can see the pros and cons to all of her designs. But this is cute, affordable, and weatherproof. I would summer in it any time over a high priced hotel…it just needs a bathroom! Any do-it-yourself-er can add that. Ad as a summer campsite or day away, it is definitely and affordable option over a cabin kit or some other over priced pre-fab.

    And who can build a cabin in a weekend?
    Not me, can you?

    I plan not only to buy an LVL when we move to Colorado… But I also plan on putting a Camp in also, as a playouse/guest camp for my kids…. and to use as a place to spend the day in the beautiful outdoors.
    I prefer Rocio Romero over most prefab modern archirects.
    She is Modern. She offers an Affordable housing option.
    And she offers something that most cannot. Time.
    And less time building, is more time LIVING.

  13. jamie February 25, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    This “shed” is more than 90% of the human world gets to sleep in…perhaps we should be considerate of the fact that applications for such architecture goes well beyond our own 2000 sq ft boxed-and-delivered lives.

  14. Mason February 20, 2007 at 2:09 am

    You guys are all pretty harsh. I have seen Romero’s work in person. It’s quality stuff. I suspect that these photos don’t do the site or the building justice. I am seriously considering her LV for some property I have on a lake… this could be a fun bunk house… 20k is a lot of mone to some, and not to others… THe one thing I can say… is that she is DOING it… she’s out there… she’s learning… not every project will be a grand slam.

    My dad was a car dealer for 30 years…. he used to say, “There’s an ass for every seat.”
    Maybe this one just isn’t your seat!

  15. davidvogt February 3, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Your article is very informative and helped me further.

    Thanks, David

  16. m. burton December 31, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve designed and built (and subsequently occupied) 3 homes in the Hudson Valley. This structure, with minor modifications, is suitable for perhaps a horse or two as a “run-in shed”, at best.

  17. DAVID RHODES December 28, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    I LOVE IT. IVE JUST COMPLETED MY OFF-GRID HOME NEAR FLAGSTAFF. I WANT TO BUILD A GUEST COTTAGE IN THE DESERT. THIS CONCEPT HAS INSPIRED ME.

  18. Eric Hegwer November 20, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    Is it expensive, sure.
    Overpriced, maybe.
    Sytlish, yes.

    I think many of you are missing the point. Anyone could have done a shed for less cost, or better modern design, or this or that.

    The big point is that not only did Rocio do it, she is continuing to do so, and leading the way in sales. Why buy a BMW when a Honda will get you from point a to b. Style, class, status, features, performance. Why have a shed, when you can have a FishCamp.

    I’ll probably buy one just to see how they go together, as I am looking at the LV…

  19. Kenneth October 20, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    I am with Jill and ac on this. It’s one thing to talk about a prefab house, it’s another to actually get it built–and many times at a consistant affordable cost. I’ve been following prefab in North America for a while now and there are not many affordable prefab houses out there at all. Whistler mentions that All Terrain Cabin, which is interesting enough but still only a protoype. I see protootypes all the tiem and very few of them ever becaome reality. And I’d like to see that built for anywhere near the same amount.

    What I woudl really LOVE to see, and would actually be happy to pay for, is a fishcamp that is JUST a TINY bit longer, with a small bathroom tucked in behind the kitchen area. Just a toilet sink and shower -could be a very small footprint,…I’d just build in a murphy bed and some storage on the far wall…and you could plunk on a piece of land somewhere and actually spend some time there. I’d love it. I’m very much aminimalist and I find thi space pleasing and warm and understated, no waste at all. It totally works for me.I love the fish camp.

  20. Whistler October 18, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    Now for some real Design check out the All Terrain Cabin. Same concept but a whole lot more effort put into the “idea”.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/10/all_terrain_cab.php

  21. ac October 17, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    you can’t build a proper detached garage (1 or 2 car) in portland, or, for less than $20K. I believe the cost. I suspect the folks that are outraged are probably a little out of touch with the true cost of making a structure like this come together.

    write out a materials spec list with prices for us, then double it for assembly labor, then add delivery charges, and then add site prep…I’m sure there are other charges I’m not considering…

  22. Fancy Fox October 16, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    I am not an architect. I will start with that important point.

    I am a consumer. I have a good job paying a decent salary. I own a condo in downtown Dallas. I am looking to buy a second property as a weekend getaway.

    As soon as I saw this post and the pictures, I emailed my gf and asked her if we should do this.

    I think the design is great (remember I am not an architect) and the pricet tag is manageable – buy some land for 50k and this “house” for 20k and you are good to go.

    It’s only for weekends!!!! comfort is not a huge issue. and it looks cool!

    NOW IF SOMEONE CAN TELL ME ABOUT A DIFFERENT PLACE SIMILAR IN PRICE, I WOULD LOOK AT THAT ONE INSTEAD.

    good day!

  23. Chris October 16, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    Having built a couple hunting camps myself, if you can’t use the materials you have on hand (i.e. log cabin) you’re looking at probably $6-7k at least (probably $10k given the cost of lumber these days) to get something this size. And construction time is often measured in years, not days.

    A 100% premium might be a little on the high side, but I can think of a few people who might be willing to pay it get get something up in a weekend – time is money, after all.

  24. Lee October 16, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll take an LV Home please. Rocio Romero is quite successful at what she does. I doubt I’d ever by the Fishcamp in my lifetime, albeit I don’t own a secluded piece of land worthy of such a weekend lodge, but I’d own almost every other design of hers in a heartbeat. I can, however, imagine myself and some friends in the woods for a weekend enjoying every minute in a structure such as the Fishcamp.

  25. Ryan October 16, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Reminds me of the lean-to I stayed in Vermont this weekend for $24 a night. For $20k I could get 833 nights at different lean-tos all over the state. So unless I used this camp a dozen weekends a year for 34 years, it’s not worth the price. (Unless I rented it out of course) I love Rocio, but I don’t see myself paying that much for a little weekend retreat. I suppose if you had money, but then if you had money, you would probably want to get a ritzier posh camp.

  26. Sharon Langer October 16, 2006 at 8:02 am

    I am amazed at the amount of vitriol displayed on this site!How about just discussing pros and cons?
    Many of us looking for an affordable home can’t even begin to consider a “High-end” prefab, and I think the latter is what you are all arguing about. If you are all so creative, give us a home that a person making $50,000 a year can afford.

  27. blackcomb October 15, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Totally agree with the majority of comments. I think what is most reprehensible is the high level archi-babble sales pitch used to market “the shed” as if it were a must have accessory. I find the the language and tone used in the article above distasteful and more akin to bad TV renovation shows. I don’t mind simple, and I don’t mind complex like the others noted ( Ray Kappe, Marmol/Radziner, etc. )

    I do mind being pitched simplistic building as high level Architecture..

  28. E.J. Bisch October 15, 2006 at 3:10 pm

    No way for 20k. There has to be some kind of mistake in the price! This is an insulated shed that could be built by a handy man or landowner for much less…..

  29. jill danyelle October 14, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    I love the Romero “camps” and was actually just saying to Jill the day before Sarah posted this piece how much I liked her prefabs. Sure, if I had the money I might rather go another route, but even her LV Home comes in at a base price of $33,900 making her prefabs extremely affordable options. So much so that I spent the better part of yesterday looking at land for sale Upstate. Plus, I like the design of the LV. I know we are talking about the camps, which may be less aesthetically pleasing, but to me, a New Yorker who lives in an old walk-up building in an apartment about the size of the “base camp” (a bit larger than the fish), I’d love to have a mod cabin in the woods. I certainly cannot afford to buy anything near it’s size in my own neighborhood.

    I agree that Romero is not trying to win any awards, but to offer decent, affordable solutions which I for one appreciate. People have made businesses out of renting yurts out as hotel rooms in the wild and others even call the canvas their home.

    http://fiftyrx3.blogspot.com/2006/01/five-best-eco-chic-hotels.html

    Since my summer beach house on Fire Island is actually a small tent, I would be more than happy to have my country house be a shed in the woods. It’s either that or an Airstream trailer.

  30. Brandon October 14, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    I don’t think the intention behind the fish camp was innovation! however if you look at the more branded versions of prefab such as resolution 4, Marmol Radziner among the others that were featured in Dwell not too long ago, they come in at over $200/sf, now if you ask me thats not prefab, maybe the methods used are but certainly not the price. Here we have something rather conventional in form, but at $64/sf thats more like it, granted something of this nature could probably be done cheaper using different materials, but atleast she’s made the point that while using the more popular materials today it can be done for under $100/sf which is what I think Prefab should be striving towards. So get off you righteous high horse and come up with something better for the same price per SF, otherwise give it a bit more credit.

  31. BJ October 14, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    My my, aren’t we a cranky bunch! I think what you’re missing here is that this IS basically a shed. At least here in New England, “camps” are a common vernacular form usually resulting from a guy with an inexpensive piece of land in the woods and a few pickup loads of lumber, nails and beer. Sleek modernism is not the driving force, it’s basically a play house for adults. With a FISH camp (note the close proximity to the river or stream) you also have to face the fact that it may end up under water occasionally. The sliding barn doors allow you to open up to the setting you came for and then securely lock up your belongings in a secluded area where your camp will be unoccupied for long periods and an easy target.

    Keeping that in mind, I think this blend of rustic modernism is quite apparent and successful.

  32. Rob Bowers October 14, 2006 at 7:16 am

    It’s a shed alright and an expensive one at that! Sure I understand the high cost of insulated panels and windows, however, after spending cash on this one it is just a shed on poles with some furniture in it. I use Custom Orb by Lysaght (corogated panels) and for walls, especially those with long spans vertical placement of the ribs is more pleasing to the eye (for example on the Fish home the horizontal panels make the slliding doors look very low).

    rob

  33. Whistler October 14, 2006 at 12:00 am

    I’ll take that challenge $ 20 k for a shed for my lawnmower is still way out of line. Really if you actually know about building an insulated shed of this sort could be built for less in a conventional manner so what’s the advantage or innovation to do it as prefab?????

    Still not sold, and I think the general public shoudl be able to smell that fact their being sold a load of manure.

  34. Jill Fehrenbacher Jill October 13, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    I respect the fact that everyone has their own style, and corrugated aluminum may not be to everyone’s taste. That said, however, Rocio Romero really needs to be given more credit for designing some of the most affordable and practical modern prefabs on the market – and actually getting them built! While some of the fancier prefabs designers like Marmol Radziner, Talman Koch and Ray Kappe have only built 1 or 2 homes – Rocio Romero has built and sold over 20 of her prefab designs – proving that her simple, small and affordable models work, and there is a demand for them. Remember people – this little structure is more than just a shed – yet it costs under $20,000 and can be put up in a weekend. ALSO – it comes completely insulated with SIPs, insulated glass windows and according to the specs is quite weather-tight. Thus, to answer one of these uninformed commentors – its will be just fine in cold climates in the weather. Rocio originally built this as a cabin for eastern rural climates.

    I find it interesting that whenever we write about these sleeker, more expensive prefab designs, we get a barrage of complaints about how “unaffordable” the designs are – but when we feature cheaper, simpler, more affordable designers like Rocio Romero, everyone complains that the designs are too simple / boring. People need to realize that there is a trade-off between space, sleekness and affordability. If you want a bigger, fancier prefab, then look into Ray Kappe’s Living Home. If you want affordable, but still nicely designed, look into Rocio Romero. You can’t have it both ways. I’d challenge the architects who are complaining about Romero’s designs to try and build their own prefab models to sell for under $20,000. Its a serious challenge, and if you can do it – we’d love to hear about it! I’m sure you will have a ton of buyers beating down your door immediately.

  35. Ian October 13, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    I can’t imagine spending $64 a square foot on a shed. And in a cool or cold climate this has nothing on most prefabs…

  36. buck October 13, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    I agree with whistler’s comments on this one. Also, “A fusion of modern and rustic?” I get the rustic…I mean it has plywood interior walls. But is corrugated metal siding and stilts all it takes for a structure to qualify as modern?

  37. dugan October 13, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    agreed, it is unfortunate that this is featured as “modern perfab”, architecturally it is boring and come on I am so over the corrugated siding and large sliding door, give me substance/architecture.. it is such a one liner. Sorry

  38. Whistler October 13, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    It’s a shed!…… sorry but whether its prefab or not I’m embrassed to call this architecture. As an architect and someone who strives for good solutions, even prefab ones. I don’t see any innovation here. Mostly find it shameful to even describe it as “warm, inviting, and thoughfully designed” …… for my lawnmower!

    Come on people we can do better than this.

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