11th June 2019
Designed in 2015, this style of prefab home was created as a forward-thinking, environmentally friendly, faster and cheaper alternative to traditional housing.
Not quite small enough to be a tiny house, but smaller than many places in which we live, Australian company Ecokit is creating prefab homes that look like a sustainable combination of Lego and IKEA.
Designed in 2015, this style of building was created as a forward-thinking, environmentally friendly, faster and cheaper alternative to traditional housing. It’s something Ecokit director Camilla Novotna was looking for personally.
“It was a house for myself that started it all. In 2015, I thought it was time to settle down and get a piece of land with a nice garden and a small house,” she says. “I started looking around and couldn’t find a builder who was making small, smart, well-designed homes. The quality wasn’t what I was expecting either.”
Although Novotna never intended the idea to go beyond her own home, her plans changed after she shared the design.
“I approached an architect with an idea of what I wanted. He drafted the house for me, and after sharing it on tiny houses groups, people loved it. They wanted the plans, they wanted me to build it for them, and I thought well, look at all these people looking for the same thing I am,” Novotna says.
So how do Ecokits work?
The homes are easy to assemble for anyone. Two designs are on offer, a two-bedroom single storey called StartUp and a three-bedroom double storey called GrowUp.
“Our homes are basically a portal frame that you assemble on the ground, stand up and then fill the frame with brick-like components. It’s really easy,” says Novotna. “Everything fits together like Lego, and it comes with an instruction manual like IKEA. It all comes in a box. All the parts, the fasteners and the tools.”
Their market is mostly made up of builders, but Novotna wants to encourage more people to build the homes themselves. “We want to sell to the end customer. The younger generation is returning to wanting to be able to create something with their hands. Imagine creating your house and having the satisfaction of looking back and saying ‘OMG, I created that,’” she says.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Ecokits is the fact that they can be assembled in as little as four days – even if you have little or no building experience.
Kit prices start at at $104,000 and go up to $146,400; considerably cheaper than the average home. That price doesn’t include interior finishes or installation by a professional. Despite this, they have had keen interest from around the country.
“I came out with the concept and had 3D pictures done. I created a website, and within two weeks, we had 200 expressions of interest. Over the past three years, we have collected about 6000 expressions of interest.” Novotna says.
Although Novotna never intended for the idea to span outside of her own home, her plans changed after she shared the design. Photo: Supplied
With interest picking up and the houses being developed, the goal for Ecokit is to have any style of home available. Multiple new designs are being developed at their HQ in Geelong, Victoria.
“We want to create designs that will be more versatile,” says Novotna. “People will be able to create more shapes and pretty much any house.”