The 21st Century Version of the Kit House

  • January 17th 2012

by Shilpi Paul

The 21st Century Version of the Kit House: Figure 1
Modern kit house. Courtesy of AmeriSus.

If entrepreneur Charlie Kamps has his way, your next house will be delivered via FedEx.

Through his company the American Sustainability Initiative (AmeriSus), Kamps is creating the new kit house for the American homebuyer, The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

In the early 20th century, kit houses offered homeowners a relatively cheap, easy-to-assemble home, usually outfitted with modern technologies like indoor plumbing and central heat. The houses were delivered by train and Sears became particularly well known for its bungalow option.

Kamps’ 21st century version reflect the realities of our time. With people moving back into the cities, passive houses popping up even in DC, and sensibilities trending towards smaller homes, Kamps’ house aims to appeal to the next generation of buyers.

The 21st Century Version of the Kit House: Figure 2
Traditional facade. Courtesy of AmeriSus.

From the WSJ:

The company’s ultimate target is middle-class individuals and families who want to live in or near cities, but don’t want to be crammed into an apartment or be stuck in a crumbling older home.

The options are 12-, 14- or 16-foot wide properties, made to fit urban infill lots. They are relatively quick to put together, costing $75 to $110 per square foot, and ranging in size from 320 to 2,600 square feet. Tight construction reduces energy bills by 70 percent, Kamps claims, and U-valve windows, low VOC paint and recycled marble will appeal to eco-minded homeowners.

Right now, the houses are being marketed to builders, rather than individual homeowners, and they are really delivered by FedEx. The first home was just completed in Philadelphia, and 55 more are under contract. For DC residents, the main issue may lie in finding an empty plot of land where one of these could go.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_house_from_a_kit_the_21st_century_version/4934.

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