In Austin, everyone knows you can’t swing a Torchy’s taco without hitting a tech or software startup. But have you heard about the city’s micro-housing startup? Instead of developing cutting-edge apps, Kasita is developing cutting-edge homes.
Capitalizing on the tiny house trend of the last decade, Kasita (named after the Spanish for “little house”) aims to take things a step further. The company has launched a line of 352-square-foot prefabricated micro-homes, whose various systems (everything from lighting to thermostats to window shading) are effectively controlled by a mobile app.
Designed to be affordable, mobile, and compact — and incredibly chic — Kasita’s housing units are truly unlike anything else on the housing market today. The company unveiled its newest prototypes, which are being sold for $139,000, at SXSW 2017. Each home comes with a fridge, walk-in shower, convection oven, washer/dryer, cooktop, and queen-size bed (that can be tucked away).
According to their website, they currently offer two primary products: a standalone Accessory Dwelling Unit, and a stackable product designed to fit in tight urban spaces. However, there are plans to increase offerings in the future. As Kasita expands, they’ll begin offering homes for rent, as well as larger family units.
So, how did it all begin? It's almost Austin legend at this point. Kasita was started by a former Huston-Tillotson professor, Jeff Wilson, who is known around town as Professor Dumpster. That’s because, for an entire year, Wilson lived in a 33-square-foot dumpster on the grounds of Huston-Tillotson, as part of an experiment to teach his students about sustainability and the benefits of simple living.
In addition, he and his partner, local writer and artist Clara Bensen, frequently take minimalist sojourns around the world with little else than their toothbrushes and passports in tow. Kasita was clearly a likely evolution of Wilson’s interests.
And those interests go further than just creating minimalist-chic, tiny dwellings. Kasita also aims to be a response to the high-stress housing crisis in Austin by revolutionizing the way we think about our homes. Rather than contributing to a city culture that continues to price out its inhabitants, Kasita’s approach is to create affordable, innovative homes that can ostensibly fit anywhere — even in the heart of downtown.