Cubist Engineering began in 2015 when we looked around and couldn’t find anyone bringing handmade modern design, careful craftsmanship and well-sourced materials to small pre-fab spaces.
The “tiny home” movement seemed dominated by low-cost stick-framed structures that all looked like dollhouses. Modern pre-fab companies made gorgeous buildings, but seemed limited in choices and a nightmare to install.
As lifelong makers, the thing that gets us out of bed every morning is building new stuff and learning with every project we take on.
So Cubist grew out of an idea: That through extensive R&D, we could develop a set of techniques and materials that would allow us to efficiently create custom pre-fab spaces. And that we could do it while never feeling like we were compromising on the finishes we chose or the work we did. Not luxury for luxury’s sake, just comfortable, beautiful, durable construction.
After more than a year of research, design and engineering, we began building, to test our theories and to demonstrate the kind of work we can do. With our first three builds finished, we’re now working on new projects for clients, applying what we’ve learned and learning new lessons.
John B. Carnett, lead sherpa
A Philadelphia native, John has been building and restoring houses since he was a teenager, including his current passive solar house, made from steel and a graphite-based SIP system.
As staff photographer for Popular Science magazine for 24 years, John traveled the world shooting and befriending the world’s most innovative thinkers, from Richard Branson to Richard Dyson, as well as hundreds of garage inventors. When he wasn’t on the road, renovating a residential project, or sailing the 38-foot sailboat that he lived on for eight years, John was building his own crazy contraptions: dropping a new bio-diesel engine in an imported ’79 Land Rover, adding a jet turbine to an ATV and inventing an all-in-one beer machine.
Before Cubist, John was the founder and CEO of BounceLinx, a wireless internet provider that brings low-cost, high-speed connectivity to rural areas. He lives on the Battenkill River with his wife, two sons, two dogs and a cat.
Mike Haney, design guy
Growing up in Austin, Minnesota (aka Spamtown, USA), Mike began tinkering early too, building birdhouses in the family woodshop and soldering AM radios.
He began his career as a graphic designer, then switched to journalism, earning a Master’s degree from Northwestern University. That landed him in New York, reporting on hackers and home inventors at Popular Science, where he and John quickly hit it off and started making weird projects (like a motorized skateboard) for the magazine together. In his spare time, he built furniture in his Brooklyn woodshop.
After PopSci, Mike became the founder and chief creative officer of a software company that built mobile apps for brands like Nike and Disney. He left that gig to become a corporate strategy and content consultant, and to team up with John again to launch Cubist. He lives in Upstate New York with his wife and two kids: a 4-year-old boy and a 5-year-old French bulldog.