Tiny houses aren’t just for minimalist couples looking to downsize — they’re for rich Hamptonites, too.
At least, they will be if retail entrepreneur Christopher Burch’s latest venture, Cocoon9, catches on.
Along with his lifelong friend Edwin Mahoney, Burch is elevating the way we think about prefab, tiny houses.
“The goal was to create a thoughtfully designed product that is simple and elegant and can be used for many different functionalities,” he told the New York Times.
Basically, he’s marketing three modular units (from 160 to 480 square feet) as “plug and play” pool houses, guest houses, or other additional structures to sit alongside existing luxury homes. The smallest, 160-square-foot unit starts at $US75,000.
Burch told the Times that the houses — of which he has sold one so far — are delivered within 16 weeks of the order date, compared to his competitors, whom he claims take 12 to 16 months to deliver.
The three existing floorplans — the Cocoon Cabin, Cocoon Studio, and Cocoon Lite — represent a combined effort by Burch’s design team in Shanghai and Mahoney’s home building company.
The Studio and Cabin styles check in at 480 square feet and start at $US225,000; premium versions of these designs are available for $US20,000 and $US50,000 more, respectively.
But buying the units is not the only cost involved in installing one of these tiny prefab houses. You must first build a foundation on which it will sit, secure permits for its installation, rent a crane, set up utilities, and pay for shipping, all of which could cost up to $US85,000, according to the New York Times.
The structures come complete with cabinetry, concealed shelving, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and a Murphy bed.
Burch told the Times that he started playing with the idea for Cocoon9 about four years ago, which was around the time he launched C. Wonder, a now-shuttered lifestyle brand that quickly rose to fame and suddenly crashed into bankruptcy this January. Burch is the ex-husband of designer Tory Burch and was a co-founder of her $US3.3 billion fashion brand.
Beyond residential use, Burch thinks the units could be used by hotel developers wishing to create eco-friendly beachside resorts. Each design features a steel composition that can withstand winds up to 150 mph, insulated walls to cut down on heat and a/c use, and the use of LED lighting and non-toxic materials.
The company currently has a prototype of the Studio model at the Mecox Gardens home goods store in the Hamptons. It’s actually the one and only Cocoon unit that’s spoken for. Next it will travel to New Canaan, Connecticut to serve as a pool house and home office for financier Spencer Grimes and his wife Lindsay.