Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Park Model is Resort Cottage to Go

Denver Post - Denver,CO,USA - When it became unbearably hot and humid last month in Houston, Jane Moore, a 60-year-old primary school reading consultant, left her house to stay in her park model trailer in South Fork, Colo.

"It's very cool and beautiful here," she said in a telephone interview, snug in her park model, which looks like an elongated cottage. It is surrounded by a white picket fence and overlooks the Rio Grande. She bought the land and the park model in October.

"People don't understand what park models are," she said. "They're not tacky."

Say trailer home and many people think of low-income housing or temporary quarters for those displaced by natural disasters. But in the last decade an upscale version has emerged, in various architectural
Pam Shaefer the deck of her floating home on the Illinois River. (John Gress/The New York Times)

Called park models because they can be parked anywhere, they are a maximum of 400 square feet under federal guidelines and therefore not taxed as permanent dwellings. This makes them an attractive option for beach, lake or mountain retreats. Manufacturers say they are having trouble meeting the demand for park models destined for private property, gated communities, resort campgrounds and even marinas.

Park models' affordability and their improved design from the generic boxy look of 20 years ago have resulted in a 46 percent increase in sales since 1997, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association. They can look like English country cottages, log cabins and even Modernist glass houses.

The association reported that 10,100 were sold last year.
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