When Kelly Sean Karcher renovated a century-old farmhouse near Lake Michigan and listed it on Airbnb, he was surprised by how much people loved the house.
"I had no idea people would find the house to be so special, but it sparked something in me to want to create unique, high-design homes that people could stay in and experience," says Karcher, who then created Hygge Stay, a short-term rental management company for his renovated properties. Ultimately, after an inspiring revamp of a Wayfarer kit house, Karcher founded Hygge Supply, a contemporary kit home company.
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"My intention was to create a simple and inexpensive way to build a home with a high-design concept that could also be built relatively quickly," Karcher explains. "It made sense to create a system for the build concept, employing a panelized structural design with prefabricated pieces and parts for rapid assembly."
For the proof-of-concept house, Sean purchased a lakeside property—"It was the least expensive piece of property on the lake because of its wetland nature," he adds—and designed a 1,500-square-foot, prefabricated dwelling integrated into the marshy landscape. Dubbed the Lake House, the modern design takes inspiration from Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House.
What sets Hygge Supply apart from other prefab home companies are its minimalist, Danish-inspired aesthetic, sustainable materials, and contemporary approach to kit home construction.
"Though we use prefabricated and modular pieces in the homes, the houses are still a package of goods which are delivered to be constructed on-site," notes Karcher. "This allows the customer to basically proceed with any financing and permitting as if they were building a traditional home."
A hallmark of Hygge Supply houses, highly durable metal SIPs feature foam cores with high R-values (50+) and allow for floor-to-ceiling windows and a panel exterior wall system.
The steel-framed structures are pre-assembled and pre-cut in the factory for zero-waste assembly on site. Zero-VOC powder coat finishes are applied to the exterior and custom cabinets, while eco-friendly products and brands are sourced as part of the company’s commitment to sustainability.
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Completed in approximately six months, Lake House is Karcher’s personal home, which he shares with his partner Christen and their dog Lucy. "I had a vision of being able to duplicate it as a kit home, and the rest is history," says Karcher.
Read more about Hygge Supply.
Project Manager: Kelly Sean Karcher
Structural Engineer: A.S. Engineering Services
Cabinetry Design/ Installation: Hygge Supply
Photographer: Diana Liang