This startup wants to disrupt vacation homeownership

Klein, a new company led by designer Soren Rose, aims to sell affordable cabins and guest houses by big-name designers.


Behold the first prototype of the Brooklyn-based Klein, a new company that wants to make the process of building small houses more affordable all over the world. A45 is a 13-foot-long wood and glass cabin for one, two, or three people (if one of them is tiny) designed by the Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group.


“BIG’s A45 is meant to be the first of many designs [that will fulfill the fantasy] of having a home outside the city, outside the city, at our favorite vacation spot, or deep into the woods,” Klein’s founder, Soren Rose, says over email. Rose–an interior architect and product designer who founded Klein in 2017 after nine years heading the New York and Copenhagen-based Søren Rose Studio–claims that this dream is common to many people who live in cities (about 54% of the population according to the United Nations). However, real estate prices and the cost of construction makes vacation home ownership a daunting challenge to many.

[Photo: courtesy BIG]
Rose thinks that a self-contained unit like A45 will solve this dilemma, fulfilling this dream of “owning a sustainable tiny house in a location you truly love.” Klein will set up a fully customizable nest anywhere you want within six months of placing an order–no matter if it’s a house for “weekend getaways to a guestroom to a music studio to a creative retreat.” Rose says that the company will assemble this structure in just two weeks, including the excavation and installation of four concrete pillars to support its weight. Because the structure is slightly elevated by these pillars, it can be placed on any site without heavy machinery. Everything is assembled in place by Klein–the homeowners or developers are simply responsible for the excavation needed for the foundation. “Then [our] pre-fab manufactures delives all the components to the site, and we use their network of skilled carpenters to install and finish the house,” he says.

Klein isn’t alone. Over the past year, a long list of companies and architectural firms all over the world–like Nice Architects, Kodasema, or Anna Rocha Architecture–have recognized a market for small, relatively inexpensive vacation homeownership. It’s led to a glut of small, cheap micro home prototypes. Rose believes that this trend is here to stay and that it’s inevitable that people will have to live in smaller homes in the near future due to space and economic constraints. He also thinks that as transportation gets faster and cheaper, more people will live farther outside of cities.

But you can’t buy a Klein house directly–yet. “We are taking preorders on a case-by-case basis and have a strong pipeline of A45 primarily in America, but are currently handling requests from all over the world,” he says, adding that you’ll be able to order the home via Klein’s website later in the year.

Rose can’t confirm a final price per unit yet either, but Klein’s catalog of small homes will range from $50,000 to $300,000. I’ll keep my tiny hope for a tiny home–with a tiny price tag–alive.

About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.