Appointed by then-Gov. Haley Barbour as housing commissioner for Gulf Coast rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Fred Carl Jr. oversaw the designing and building of cottages in a traditional style as a better alternative to trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Association.
The so-called Katrina cottages contributed to the “tiny house” trend.
Now in a crowded field – with cable television shows and magazines touting the little spaces – Carl believes he has found a niche.
Carl founded in the mid-’80s Viking Range, maker of one of the premier brands of residential cook stoves and other appliances.
He and other investors sold the Greenwood-based company to Middleby Corp. of Elgin, Ill., in 2013 for $380 million. Middleby sued the owners in 2015 for $100 million in a case that is still pending.
Now he has launched an equally upscale line of small dwellings.
Carl announced his new company, C3 Design Inc., two years ago. Carl said he would build what he called “modular” homes.
Instead Carl has introduced its first product line, the Retreat Series. Looking for all the world like houses, they are technically recreational vehicles, according to the company’s website, C3spaces.com, which was launched last week.
They are small, no more than 399 square feet not including the porch, which adds another 120 square feet.
Yet they are not really tiny houses in the usual sense.
Classified as “park models,” they are built “in compliance with Standard A119.5 of the American National Standards Institute,” the website states.
The website puts some space between the Retreat Series and tiny houses.
“There is no code or standard governing the design or construction of ‘tiny houses’ mounted on wheels, nor is there an established definition or specification for ‘tiny houses,’” the website says.
Chris Galusha, president of the all-volunteer American Tiny House Association, confirmed that there is indeed no such category.