A box full of parts. An Allen wrench. A piece of paper with indecipherable instructions complete with images that bear little resemblance to the parts strewn across your floor. We're all familiar with the pleasures of assembling Ikea furniture. But the Swedish company's newest product requires no construction at all. Meet "BoKlok," the pre-fab, Ikea house.
The somewhat blocky-looking residences have been around in Sweden for some time, on offer from the construction company Skanska. Now, though, Ikea has decided to export BoKlok -- which translates roughly to "smart living" -- to the United Kingdom together with the UK real estate firm Live Smart @ Home. Perhaps just the thing for the island's chronic housing shortage.
As one might expect from an Ikea product, the houses put function over form -- but form counts too. Nice wood window frames with double-paned windows, for example. They also come with your very own Ikea kitchen should you so desire.
And in 2007, they will be popping up across the country. That, at least, is what company strategists are hoping. And with Ikea selling some 800 such houses a year in Sweden, the optimism seems well grounded.
The houses' main selling point, of course, is affordability -- prices range from €150,000 to €222,000 for between 46 and 81 square meters (495-872 square feet). Hopes are that those in the lower income bracket -- earning between 15,000 and 35,000 pounds (€22,250 - €51,920) per year -- will snap up the pre-fab homes. A number of Ikea apartments will also be available for rent.
For now, Ikea isn't planning to introduce the BoKlok houses into the US or Germany. A company spokeswoman told SPIEGEL ONLINE that BoKlok wouldn't be joining its brothers Billy, Klippan and Forsby on their march of world furniture domination. The other major difference? New homeowners won't have to assemble the houses themselves.