Kasita, the local startup that introduced Austin to its tiny smart homes concept—emphasis on the “smart”—has proven to be ever-evolving, responding in tangible ways to feedback from customers and community alike. Last week, the company announced a new product line-up still focused on space-maximizing, efficient, and affordable living.
The company’s prototype, a model home and office that has taken up residence near the Scoot Inn for a few years now, is a 352-square-foot, prefab, ultra-sleek micro-dwelling unit that is extremely tech forward—so much so that company founder Jeff Wilson started referring to residing in one as a “user experience.” Units offered more than 60 integrated smart-home devices, including a doorbell and camera from Doorbird; a smart thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors from Nest, dimmer switches from Lutron; and a wireless stereo amplifier from Sonos.
The first units cost $139,000, but the major cost for buyers was, of course, the land to put them on if they didn’t already own or have access to such. Now Kasita is moving to address issues of both affordability and density, diversifying its line into two innovative ways.
The first is that the standalone Kasita homes, which the company is now calling Independent (as opposed to the Indie apartment complex up the road perhaps) keeps its basic style and size (374 square feet) but offers different smart-home and appliance options, changing the price range to $89,000–$129,00, depending on how tricked-out you want your home to be.
The second big step Kasita is taking is in some ways a return to its initial vision, which Wilson & Co. created shortly after his much-publicized stint as “Professor Dumpster” in 2014 (he lived in a dumpster for a year to test limits of habitable space).
Last week, the company announced that it is now focusing on its project for multifamily builds, called Community, designed for stacking a version of the Independent homes into a variety of grid configurations, depending on lot size.
Kasita intends to keep “both individuals and developers in mind” with the development of Community, according to its recent press statement, and it is inviting both to bring ideas for modifications, amenities, and outdoor features such as balconies and decks.
Independent Kasitas can be combined in a number of ways, whether they are part of a Community space or not; depending on parameters, one could have units opened up side-by-side or stacked for more room for families or multiple occupants. Community units (which are still in the planning stages) will start at $95,000.
Kasit also envisions a number of uses for its units, including live/work space, office space, corporate housing, vacation housing, and, of course, accessory dwelling units for long- or short-term rental.
Kasita’s new product rollout comes a couple of months after its announcement that the company is looking to expand, having received approvals to manufacture and sell its homes in major metropolitan areas of California and Nevada.