Ikea: We're not selling prefab homes, Ideabox is

Ideabox's Jim Russell has been overwhelmed by inquiries from around the world about the company's prefabricated home, designed in partnership with Ikea Portland.

Ideabox's Jim Russell has been overwhelmed by inquiries from around the world about the company's prefabricated home, designed in partnership with Ikea Portland.

Responding to rampant, false reports that it was getting into the prefabricated home business, Ikea issued a press release Friday aimed at snuffing the rumors and setting the record straight.

"Ikea has not launched and is not selling prefabricated homes in the United States. Any reports saying otherwise are not accurate," the statement read.

It went on to say that Salem-based Ideabox, as reported by Sustainable Business Oregon, was designing and building the green, highly efficient prefab homes, designed in partnership with Ikea Portland.

Sometime Thursday, a blogger got the story wrong, said Jim Russell, Ideabox's president, and it caught fire.

"Someone reported that Ikea was producing a flat-pack house," Russell said. "Our website has been crashing all day."

"It shows the power of Ikea," he said. "It also shows the power of a wrong story."

Fudging the details of just who was building the houses — Ideabox, not Ikea — sites like Gothamist and Jezebel suggested to readers that Ikea was getting into the house business. Even Time's headline suggests you can pick up a home at your local yellow and blue box store.

"There has been some confusion in the national press," wrote April Minster, marketing and PR specialist for Ikea Portland, in an email.

But while bloggers had a heyday making jokes about assembling houses with dowels and Allen wrenches, Ideabox has been fielding two to three emails a minute from all over the world.

"Most people are getting it," Russell said. "They're seeing that a small-footprint home is very livable."

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