Despite more than two years of Russian occupation, Alexander Stepura’s resilient spirit is helping house those displaced by the Ukraine war with the latest in modular homebuilding 

Alexander Stepura did not intend to start a business in homebuilding. He had spent approximately 30 years in robotics, incorporating efficiency into human routines, until the war in Ukraine happened, and everything changed. With many of his staff left displaced by the Russian invasion, Alexander came up with a fast-assembling modular home that could be easily delivered from point A to B, and would keep them safe. “There were too many uncertainties. So we came up with a plan to use the CNC machines we have in Kyiv and apply the equipment we were already using to build these mobile homes,” Alexander shares. 

Of course, those first few homes experienced some ‘teething issues.’ However, now that initial issues have been ironed out, investor and close friend, Chris Baxter,

Chris Baxter
Chris Baxter

can attest that the product is sturdy, sleek and reflects modern architecture. HOMErs has gone on to achieve exceptional success, having been featured in The Times, BBC, Insider, The Financial Times, and now Modern Home Builders. Having covered the topic previously in our February issue, with Tony Bertoldi sharing the importance of destigmatizing affordable housing, Alexander’s story is altogether timely, poignant and inspiring.  

We had the pleasure of discussing with Alexander and Chris how this start-up is a compelling solution to the global housing crisis. “When it comes to innovation,” Chris elaborates, “manufactured housing has had quite a struggle, especially in the UK market. I think Alex has been completely unburdened by historic conventions that he hasn’t felt restricted by what others are doing, and that has worked to his advantage. As lifestyles continue to change so rapidly, I think he’s looked at providing a solution from the top down, rather than trying to make it look like a normal house, which is what so many modular homebuilders try to do.” At the time of our conversation, Chris shares that he and his wife are actually living in one of Alexander’s modular homes in his garden in Surrey, while their main house is being renovated.  “It’s been the perfect solution,” he says. “We are living in comfort and in the perfect position to oversee the renovation project.”  

The two gentlemen met each other three years ago. Chris was previously working in banking in Moscow and Kyiv. “In those days I had clients in Russia and Ukraine, and it was all one happily integrated market. For me this is one of the biggest tragedies about the war,” he shares. “I have friends in both countries that are in despair about what’s happening. 

“But Alex and I were introduced to each other through a friend when Alex wanted to expand his business and needed an international investment partnership. We immediately got on well and our skillsets really complement each other. Most importantly, we share a similar philosophy to life also, which has served our business partnership well I think.” With Chris’ entrepreneurial intrigue and Alexander’s ingenuity, the two seem an unstoppable pair.  

Design considerations 

One of the unique traits to the product is its ease of assembly. Alexander’s inspiration was to create something similar to flat-pack furniture, that would be easy to move, in a bid to support customers that are frequently moving. “It’s like a gadget; you can add and put all the parts together. The issue with that was trying to then also have a home that two people could occupy comfortably without feeling like they are living on top of each other. So, to solve this, an important aspect for us was to have as many windows and outside terracing as possible, so that the houses didn’t feel cramped.”  

Chris confirms this. “There are a couple of aspects in this regard. One is the practical side; do I have enough room for my stuff? Can two people move around without bumping into each other? Do the doors open and close without having to move pieces of furniture? But the other side is more psychological; do I feel claustrophobic? Or do I feel like there’s a generous space around me? Realistically, we only individually occupy less than cubic meter, but when you’re sitting down, and you look around, do you feel hemmed in, or do you feel, through the design, that there is lot of open space around you. The one I’m living in at the moment has glass across the two main walls, and we have a large terrace in front. We’re fortunate enough to have a nice garden and a good view, which, I feel, the living experience here really captures.” 

Alexander Stepura
Alexander Stepura

Expansion plans 

The goal for these two gentlemen is to encourage people to spend more time outside, and to do so, Alexander has designed the homes to maximize storage space so that the majority of the living space is encapsulated by windows. When asked about his favourite feature of the home, Chris expresses that it’s the terrace and garden furniture – the latter being exceptionally water resistant and ideal for the English weather. “I think what Alex is highlighting with these homes is that 15 years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to live so comfortably in a smaller space, but with technology, our need for space has shrunk. I can sit with my laptop on a small table, plug in my earphones and I’m sorted to get work done. I don’t need a huge office with filing cabinets as you would have needed previously. Alex has done so well to compact the space comfortably without losing its functionality,” Chris discusses.  

Not only are these modular homes ticking the design and build boxes, but they are also a feasible solution to one of the most pressing issues taking root across the globe: affordable housing. Currently, plans to build a HOMErs plant in Slovakia are well underway, and Alexander’s hope is that the new site will increase the production of the homes to meet the growing global demand. Furthermore, the company is also hosting a crowd-funding initiative to raise money for automation capabilities in the new facility. “We want to scale the business,” expresses Alexander. “Our plan is to install plants in as many countries as possible, and trigger growth in this sector.” 

Chris adds: “We can also increase the size of the homes, and accommodate a range of income brackets as well. If governments need a high-quality, affordable solution that is also budget friendly, we can respond to that. You could also very easily have homes like mine scattered around a golf course for example for the more luxury products.” 

Future vision 

Alexander is also an eco-warrior, and is determined to have the homes achieve net-zero. With reduced energy consumption and costs, a HOMErs house offers a complete solution for the end-user, produced and transported with greater efficiency than traditional homes, and can be easily connected to all essential utilities. Currently, the business is working on creating an eco-friendly version that operates independently from the household mains. This version will include an integrated solar panel and a battery-based energy system to achieve net-zero carbon living. 

Taking into account the geo-political instability across the world at the moment, Alexander’s solution to housing seems like a no-brainer. Having experienced the war in Ukraine first hand, his determination to keep going is admirable, making the homes seem even more special. From Chris’ perspective, Alexander’s ability to continue to produce a high-quality product, while mentally coping with the trauma of the situation in Ukraine, is a testament to his resilient spirit. “It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, he always has a smile on his face. It’s quite extraordinary for me to witness,” Chris shares.  

And so, with the same optimism, Alexander looks to the future with big plans to continue the success of the business. “This is the solution that best fits the current state of people’s movement now. Whether it’s work or wanting a new place to live, these homes are exactly the answer. They’re easy to take apart and rebuild, and we want to get them to as many people as possible,” Alexander concludes.