Picture this: You are working in your home office (a.k.a. at the dining room table), while your children take a break from their distance learning to play with the family dog. After a few minutes, …
Picture this: You are working in your home office (a.k.a. at the dining room table), while your children take a break from their distance learning to play with the family dog. After a few minutes, the scene turns a bit loud as your children and the dog switch to a game of chase — the children laughing and the dog barking as they all run around the house.
Good luck with that work of yours.
This described scenario was exactly what Anders Hanson and Andrew Naperotic had in mind when they came up with the idea for their new business, ADDASPACE.
About nine months ago, the Barrington residents and longtime friends began discussing the idea of building a company that would bring additional living spaces to people. ADDASPACE offers homeowners the opportunity to add a custom-designed, environmentally-friendly modular space alongside their current home, and it makes the process of increasing living space more user-friendly.
"We can build these units in as little as four weeks," Mr. Naperotic said during a recent interview, "and we can build them for a third of the cost of traditional construction."
The ADDASPACE co-founder also said the company is focused on making the design, construction, permitting and installation phases of the work easier for the customer.
"We want to make it all turn-key," he said.
Lock-downs, stay-at-home orders, and quarantines.
In March, as much of the world struggled to cope with the early stages of the pandemic, Mr. Naperotic and Mr. Hanson began discussing their new business venture. Both men had started working from home, and their children were experiencing the early days of distance learning.
Their homes were functioning as offices, classrooms, fitness centers and more.
"We needed additional space," Mr. Naperotic said.
They visualized a modular unit that could be installed on a property near a home, separate from the living space but well integrated with the house and landscaping. They also wanted to make the process as easy for the customer as possible: construction takes place off-site; the unit can be designed to exact specification; the company will assist with permitting required by the town and handle the on-site installation.
"We're also trying to make it as environmentally-friendly as possible," Mr. Naperotic said.
The modular units are constructed from repurposed shipping containers — the larger is a 40-foot container and the smaller is a 20-foot.
"The 20-foot container is perfect for a home office layout," Mr. Naperotic said, adding that the unit could also be built to include a bathroom. The larger model can accommodate a guest suite with a bathroom, and also a small home office.
Mr. Naperotic said the design and construction of the modular units completely transform the shipping containers, making it hard to believe that they were once used for that purpose. Instead they look more like an additional room from your home, he said. The exterior and interior finish materials range from eco-friendly composites to Kebony, a wood product that turns soft woods, such as pine, into a harder building material through a process of repurposing sap.
"We didn't want to skimp on it," Mr. Naperotic said of the materials used on the units. "We don't want it to look clinical or cheap.
"It looks really sharp."
The co-founders had planned to use their first unit as a model to show potential buyers and Realtors in the area, but once word got out, an interested party purchased it for his own property. The ADDASPACE website offers a virtual tour of what someone can expect from the product.
Meanwhile, the increased interest from buyers has been eclipsed only by the potential markets opening up daily for the ADDASPACE units. Mr. Naperotic said his company is working on plans to address needs in the elder-care or assisted-living environments, and affordable work-force housing. He also spoke about the "Tiny house" movement around the world, including in his native land of Australia.
He added that there is also a discussion about "stacking" the units.
Mr. Naperotic said there are products similar to ADDASPACE on the market, but his company sets itself apart with its turn-key approach.
"We wanted to take that headache away," he said.
ADDASPACE offers key assistance, Mr. Naperotic said, through the permitting process as well as site preparation and installation. The company will assist with hookups for electricity and plumbing, and the foundation necessary for a unit.
The living spaces are secured to metal piling foundations — metal cylinders that about three inches thick and are hammered into the ground.
"When you secure it on a foundation, it's not going anywhere," Mr. Naperotic said.
ADDASPACE builds the modular units off-site at a facility in Bristol and transports them to the homeowner's property, installing with a crane-truck.
Many towns require accessory dwelling permits be obtained for any structure larger than 80 square feet. Communities also have unique zoning restrictions and codes. Mr. Naperotic said ADDASPACE will offer assistance to customers as they navigate each municipality's requirements.
ADDASPACE's founders believe the need for additional living/working space is likely to grow in the future. Mr. Naperotic cited a recent study that revealed 75 percent of corporations polled are confident the "work from home" approach is here to stay.
"The way people work has changed forever," he said. "What Covid has done, is that it's been a major disrupter and forced change overnight. The new norm is the house is now being utilized for something above and beyond."
The ADDASPACE units range in price from $30,000 to $80,000, depending on a number of variables.