Tiny houses are all the rage, but once you put more than a few people in one you have a problem: Where can you go from there?
What you do is, if you need that extra push over the cliff, you know what you do? Talk to Brian Gaudio. Gaudio is the founder of Module Housing, an incremental-building startup from Pittsburgh. Gaudio, formerly of Walt Disney Imagineering, has an architecture background and saw firsthand the need for incremental housing in his work in Biloxi and Latin America. His idea is simple: create a little house that grows with you over time, allowing a single room to turn into a mansion with a few turns of a wrench.
“We think of the home as a recurring revenue stream — buy a starter home today, purchase additions and upgrades in the future. All our homes are designed to change over time — as a homebuyer’s family grows, income grows or needs change,” he said. “We are capital-light compared to other prefab startups in that we don’t own the manufacturing facilities where our homes are built. We leverage existing network of high-performance prefab manufacturers on the East Coast.”
The service does it all: They offer multiple-room dwellings and work with you to order the modules, find land that lets you add on over time and assemble the houses. Like the Craftsman houses of old, you have a few basic styles, but in this case you can buy a one-bedroom Nook house for $212,000 and then add on over time instead of buying a house with seven rooms and realizing you only needed two.
Additional costs include building a foundation and land preparation. It’s also dead easy to add onto your house when you’re ready, said Gaudio, thanks to work they’ve done in modularizing the houses.
“We have patents pending on a removable roof and wall system that simplifies the addition process when a customer is ready to add on,” he said.
The company has raised $1.2 million so far and they have prototype houses in Pittsburgh. They already have orders and they’ve created a Tesla-like reservation system for the folks who want to try out their product.
“I moved back to Pittsburgh to start Module with the goal of making good design accessible to everyone,” he said. “Affordable housing is one of the most critical issues our country faces today. Module is a vehicle to promote responsible, equitable development in cities. We are reimagining housing to be more sustainable, adaptable and better designed.”