Jeff Wilson was tired of how the high cost of living in cities can drive people out of the neighborhoods they love. So he decided to create a high-tech tiny house — or as he describes it: "an iPhone I can live in."
He took the concepts of minimalism and added smart technology like temperature control and windows that dim automatically, and made the 270-square-foot "Kasita."
"I'd like to see this in cities around the world with folks able to own a beautiful home in the heart of the city," said Wilson, standing outside a prototype. The tiny home — equipped with an Amazon Echo, Nest thermostat and View Dynamic Glass — is currently parked in Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest festival.
While this Kasita model is going solo for now, Wilson envisions multiple units being stacked side-by-side and on top of each other with a community space at the very top. Wilson says Kasitas could be shipped by truck from one city to another when owners want a change of scenery, though the company hasn't determined how much that could cost.
His inspiration came from an unusual place: a dumpster. After selling most of his possessions, Wilson lived in a used 33-square-foot dumpster for a year as a social experiment, then worked with an industrial designer to create his dream space with a tiny footprint.
"When you have less, you really can have more life," said Wilson, adding that owners of tiny houses may find themselves with more disposable income.
The tiny home's price won't be announced until April 5, when they're set to go on sale. The first Kasita is expected to be available in Austin later this year.