The "tiny home" concept just got a whole lot tinier.
It's becoming more and more difficult to find affordable housing within urban areas of major cities, and Austin, TX is no exception.
Millennials and many young professionals prefer to live in walkable neighbourhoods close to where they work. Unfortunately, real estate in these areas is often not within budget, or there's simply no real estate to be found as space is becoming increasingly limited.
We'd like to introduce you to an Austin company that's trying to solve that problem by taking the "tiny home" concept to a whole other level.
You may not have heard of Dr. Jeff Wilson, or the company he recently founded, Kasita, but maybe "Professor Dumpster" rings a bell. Wanting to teach his Huston-Tillotson University students about sustainability and the excessiveness of the typical single-family house, Wilson transformed a 33-square-foot dumpster into a living space and resided there for a year. While the dumpster had its downfalls, it also had its advantages: it was highly affordable, it could be moved from one location to another, it provided short commute times and made it easier for Wilson to spend more time out in the Austin neighborhoods he loves.
That got the professor thinking, and after teaming up with an industrial designer, manufacturer and micro condo unit developer, they designed a compact home with a focus on simplicity, elegance, comfort and functionality: the Kasita was born.
Compact Urban Living
Developed to revolutionize urban living, Kasita homes are compact, pre-fabricated, portable units that fit into a larger grid structure of up to 9 units (3 units across, by 3 units high). Since each unit is only 208 square feet, with 10-foot ceilings, each grid can fit into a space of about 1,000 square feet. While this might give new meaning to the term "micro condo", units are actually 30% bigger than shipping container condos that have become popular in recent years.
Since units are so small, every living space has been maximized to be as functional as possible. Believe it or not, each unit is equipped with a fridge, oven, dishwasher, washer/dryer, walk-in shower, queen-sized bed, desk, and table with storage spaces built into the walls. Walls are made up of individual tiles that can be customized for whatever purpose you like: tiles can hold shelving, outlets, speakers and much more.
Aside from using space efficiently, all Kasita homes are outfitted with smart home technology. This allows homewoners to control settings with a touch of a button on their phone, have lights, A/C and heating automatically adjust to their specifications as soon as they get home, use voice commands to turn on some music or roll out the bed, and much more. A grid system will provide Kasita homes with electricity, but future energy sources could include solar power and rain water.
Affordability and Location
With real estate markets trending upwards, people can no longer afford to live in the cities they love. Kasita homes will be about half the market rate of a studio apartment. Launching 2016, right here in Austin, that means these homes will retail for about $600/month. Another ten cities will be home to these units by 2017, including Denver, Seattle, NYC, and Stockholm. Eventually, a large enough network will exist so that people can move their unit between a variety of major cities. That's right, the entire unit is built to be portable, allowing you to be flexible on where you live.
It's obvious that Kasita homes (and micro condos in general) aren't for everyone, but for singles, young professionals and millennials who want to work, play and live downtown, they certainly present a feasible way to do so. What do you think of the micro condo concept? Will you try to snag a Kasita home when they hit the Austin real estate market next year?