Move over, IKEA, this British developer is building flat-pack homes

Manchester might be best known to its cousins across the pond for its famous football teams and its infamous music scenes but due to rapid growth, the world’s first industrialized city is being transformed (again) right before everyone’s eyes. And one innovative developer is turning to ultramodern building technologies that include smart home technology, modular construction, and what some have called “flat-pack” homes that resemble something one might buy at IKEA but also operate as fully functional living spaces.

The U.K. developer Urban Splash, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is building a new set of smart homes that are set to arrive in Manchester later this year. The project, launched in partnership with the award-winning architecture firm Shedkm, is called Mansion House and will feature single-entrance apartment blocks that consist of between eight and ten homes.

The construction is groundbreaking compared to the traditional construction method used in regeneration projects of this type. Each apartment in Mansion House uses panels for walls, which enables construction crews to simply click the slots together just as one might assemble a piece of flat pack furniture. Interestingly, the inner walls are non-load-bearing, which gives the occupants the option of reconfiguring the layout even after construction has been completed.

To start, these future homeowners simply choose a layout, from among nine different configurations, that meets their needs, with choices ranging from a two-bedroom arrangement with a fully equipped kitchen to a completely empty layout with a simple kitchen that offers an ambiance close to loft living in a big city. With just two apartments per shared hallway, Mansion House units will offer large windows on both sides as well as dramatic views over the New Islington Marina.

In addition, Urban Splash has directed its architects to build smart home technology directly into each unit in what is a rare change for a new-build project. Homeowners will have access to a variety of features including app-enabled wireless control over their lighting, heating, and hot water. Urban Splash’s chosen smart home platform is the Lightwave Control System, which is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, for those residents who are prone to conversing with their smart speakers or digital assistants.

Ian McKillick, Director of Shedkm, told the Manchester Evening News, “Our starting point for Mansion House was to challenge and rethink the trend toward larger, monolithic, and increasingly impersonal apartment blocks and towers springing up in our towns and cities. Instead we have focused on creating great places to live – and, whilst the aesthetics are important – the design of Mansion House blocks mean that we are evoking community living and encouraging neighborly living.”

Urban Splash recently completed and sold out Town House, a series of modular apartment communities that were built in factories and then craned onto construction sites. The developer is also in the process of building an enormous modular housing project in the relatively new community of Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, which will eventually consist of 440 homes. Urban Splash won the job in a competition that will require the builder to complete eight homes per month.


Walmart drops prices on Google Home Hub and Lenovo smart displays

Walmart slashed the prices of Google Home smart displays for two highly regarded Lenovo models and the original Google Home Hub. We can't think of a better way to improve your smart home setup and these deals can help you save up to $100.
Smart Home

The best smart locks to increase your home security in 2019

A good smart lock should offer a combination of security and convenience. Fortunately, these devices keep your home protected, your family safe, and your belongings secure from possible intruders.
Smart Home

Smart light switches have become more affordable: Here are the best ones

The ability to control the lighting in your home can have a big effect on your living space. To have more control over your lighting, check out the best smart light switches on the market. 
Smart Home

Protect yourself: Here are some of the best home security systems

Looking for the best home security systems for your house? These systems offer the best mix of devices, smart features, monitoring services, and fees that you can afford (plus good customer service reports).

LG’s SnowWhite is a Keurig for lovers of homemade ice cream

LG's SnowWhite conceptual countertop appliance, on display at this year's South by Southwest, is like a Keurig machine for ice cream lovers that produces your favorite frozen desserts from nothing but a little pod.

Amazon shaves $50 off the Coway Mighty air purifier ahead of allergy season

When it's allergy season, a good air purifier is a must-have for sufferers. The Coway Mighty air purifier (now on sale from Amazon) is one of the best, greatly improving the air quality inside your home by removing dust, dander, pollen, and…
Smart Home

Dyson’s newest products strive to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit

Dyson launched products to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit. A Dyson intelligent task light cycles with nature and a personal air purifier harnesses unique airflow. Microprocessors in Dyson's vacuum self-adjust 8,000 times a second.
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Smart Home

Walmart serves up a rare deal on the Google Home Max at $100 off

Some deals are predictable and others are pre-announced, but today Walmart posted a rare deal: $100 off the powerful Google Home Max. Since it rarely goes on sale, waiting may not be prudent. If you want one, grab it.

Suck up the savings with these vacuum cleaners on sale for $100 or less

Keeping your floors clean around the home is a constant chore. To help make things a whole lot easier, we've picked out some great vacuum cleaner deals available right now, from full-sized upright models to robot vacs.
Smart Home

Is your coffee maker hiding mold inside? Here's how to clean it

Are you a coffee drinker? If you brew your coffee at home and you don't clean your machine, you could be drinking mold, yeast, and other bacteria. Here's how to clean your coffee maker.

Amazon lowers Echo Dot cost and slashes price of the Dot and Smart Plug bundle

Amazon just unleashed extraordinary price cuts on third-generation Echo Dot smart speakers. The Alexa device is back in stock following the blowout sales last holiday season. The Echo Dot is the best-selling Alexa smart speaker worldwide.
Smart Home

These best outdoor security cameras will keep porch pirates at bay

Worried about porch pirates stealing your packages, or intruders entering your home? Always be in the know about who or what is on your property by installing one of these outdoor security cameras.
Smart Home

Your Instant Pot can do it all. Research says it has another important function

Researchers at Dakota State University tested a variety of pressure cookers for sterilization and found that Instant Pot provides enough pressure and heat to kill off food-spoiling bacteria.