Rocio Romero
Frank Di Piazza Rocio Romero

Since starting her company in 2002, the quietly confident Rocio Romero has completed more modern prefab houses than any other currently practicing designer (160, to be exact). Romero attributes the success of her kit-of-parts LV Series Homes to their sleek design, and to their ability to be easily shipped. “Early on we realized, this is a niche market,” she says. “People who like modern are all over the place in the U.S. The way to cater to them was that it had to be prefabbed.”

All of the LV’s pieces, which Romero gathers at her Perryville, Mo., facility, fit on one truck. Once the kit of parts arrives on the site, a general contractor hired by the client assembles it using plans, elevations, and detail drawings provided by Romero. Most of her clients want to customize the house, so she and her team revamped their computer models in November, making it easier for people to choose various design options.

Like everyone else involved in housing, Romero has felt the pinch of the recession. “We’re doing eight or nine homes per year now, which is really slow for us,” she says. “We’re managing, though.” Even in a soft market, the combination of good design and good value remains a powerful draw.

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architect: Rocio Romero, Perryville, Mo., and St. Louis

in the prefab business since: 2002

prefab homes completed: 160 (including outbuildings)

prefab method: Kit of parts

average construction cost: $120 to $195 per square foot (includes design fee)