If in the past few weeks you have stopped and stared at the strange little container house that’s popped up on the corner of Washington and Charles streets in the West Village, you are certainly not alone. This amazing 320-square-foot prefab shack has been drawing in curious passersby, including me, since it was installed on October 29. The home is the brainchild of MEKA World (mekaworld.com) founder Michael de Jong (pictured here), who gave me a tour of the country’s first MEKA (pronounced make-a) house earlier this week. He got the idea of building prefabs after working on luxury homes in Belize. “Especially since the recession, people are looking for ease and affordability,” he says. “They no longer want the monster houses that were popular years ago, but intelligent, practical living spaces.” This particular home has already been sold to a client and will remain here for at least two more weeks (possibly longer if the site’s landlord permits it).
Photographs by Wendy Goodman
MEKA stands for modular, environmental, kinetic, assemble, and to those terms I would add budget-conscious (they start at $39,900). The homes, which are designed by Jason Halter and Christos Marcopoulous, are made from durable ISO shipping containers and arrive for clients almost fully built.
One side of the modular house opens up to create a deck. Here it is partially closed. The exterior is paneled in cedar wood over a steel frame. Solar electricity is optional.
Here is the nifty built-in kitchen. The interiors are lined in walnut wood, and eventually there will be a Shaker-style wood oven installed.
Lower the container wall and presto! You have an open deck.
Not surprisingly, the bathroom is small but great-looking, with a walnut sink cabinet and a shower closet with skylight and porthole window.