Hot on the heels of Bert's Barge – a design-led urban barge boat introduced in May – the property arm of London-based lifestyle brand Bert & May have now launched Bert's Box, a versatile prefab housing unit. Designed to be used as an affordable and transportable stand-alone dwelling or as an extension to an existing home, the boxes were designed in collaboration with with Lou Davies of architects Box 9 – the studio behind London's Riding House Cafe and Gail's Bakeries.
Like the barge boats, the boxes take advantage of Bert & May's extensive stock of reclaimed materials, which it sells from its East London showroom. 'We can produce Bert's Boxes to suit every setting,' explain Box 9. 'The personality of each box is defined by the materials. The exterior and interior walls are clad in stunning reclaimed timber, the floors are clad in intricate tiles, they have green roofs and huge opening windows and doors.' Available in four sizes, the boxes can be built to include anything from a single office pod to a full-blown lodge with a master bedroom, kids bedroom, bathroom, terrace, dining and lounge area, as well as a specially designed brass and marble kitchen, which is, incidentally, the first in the range from the newly-established Bert & May Kitchens, made in collaboration with Red Deer.
Sustainable heating solutions were top of the design agenda, so windows and doors are double glazed and heating runs underneath the bedroom's reclaimed timber floor. Optional extras include a solar thermal and air source heat pump, as well as edible exterior garden walls. And for those that want a little more luxury, there is the option of installing an AV system by Robert Taussig to provide seamless audio and visual as well as remote controlled lighting and heating.
Made to order, the Boxes can be delivered anywhere in the world and installed in woods, within gardens, as floating house boats or on flat roofs. In addition, because the boxes are technically classified as mobile homes they cannily sidestep the need for planning permission (subject to planning laws). For those who aren't quite convinced, there is now a chance to try before you buy at boutique hotel The Pig in Hampshire, where one of the freshly minted boxes has been installed and is open for bookings.