Welcome to Home of the Future, a four-part video series co-produced by Curbed and The Verge. Each month, we’ll take you inside one innovative home and explore how the technology of today informs the way people will live in the future. To follow along, stay tuned for new video episodes on our Facebook page. This month’s location? A tiny prefab billed as the “iPhone for housing.”
Tiny houses have long been a dwelling of choice for those who appreciate a minimalist lifestyle, but they’ve become even more trendy in recent years after an ongoing affordable housing crisis (and, admittedly, HGTV’s House Hunters spinoff on the miniature homes). But tiny doesn’t have to mean it’s missing out on any special features of a futuristic home either. Kasita, an Austin-based startup, is hoping to fit all the latest tech into just 352 square feet of living space. In fact, the company calls its micro-homes the “iPhone for housing.”
Kasita is outfitted with the latest voice-activated tech, so you can program your home to recognize “moods.” Tell Kasita to prepare for theater mode and it’ll know to dim the lights, raise the flatscreen TV out from a hidden wall, and open your favorite streaming app. The model unit Kasita founder Jeff Wilson showed us has more than 60 smart home devices that are preprogrammed to talk to each other, and span areas including home security, indoor temperature, and even the shower room to help save water consumption. Wilson says to buy these devices separately, it would cost over $20,000, plus the amount of time it takes to connect the devices together under one system. Kasita’s turnkey micro-unit costs $139,000 with everything ready to go and controllable from the main Kasita app.
The home isn’t just designed for those looking to live on remote land or strap the unit to their van and move around the country either. In dense, urban areas like Houston and Brooklyn, Kasita units can be stacked to create a tower of micro-apartments, or used as commercial space for tiny restaurants and shops.
The company is currently working with local governments to pilot Kasita communities as an affordable housing solution. Earlier this year, the company opened a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in East Austin that can churn out a unit in just eight weeks.