Jeff Wilson spent one of his two years as dean of Huston-Tillotson University in Texas living in a dumpster.
The experience made him embrace minimalist living, and inspired him to launch a tiny home startup, called Kasita, in 2015.
"While the experiment was extreme, the experience I gained by living small and simple made a big impression," said Wilson, who is a former postdoctoral researcher at Harvard and IBM project manager. "At the end of the year, I left the dumpster with the concept for a new category of housing — a beautiful, small footprint home designed as a solution for the growing housing crisis."
Based in Austin, Texas, Kasita offers housing units that can sit by themselves or stack to form apartments. The pre-fabricated homes can be assembled off-site and delivered in two to three weeks, Wilson says.
In 2017, the startup started selling its first tiny homes, which measure 352 square feet and cost $139,000. A newer iteration of the home — which features additional storage — was shown at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. The latest Kasita homes are now on sale for the same price.
Check out the newest units below.
Kasita sells tiny housing units. The startup gets its name from "casita," the Spanish word for "little house."
At 352 square feet, white walls help the units look larger than they are.
(For comparison, the average one-car garage measures about 260 square feet.)
The main, open-layout space functions as both a living room and bedroom.
In the model unit, a bed pulls out from the sofa (the units come unfurnished).
Across from the living room, there's a sleek kitchen.
There's an electric stovetop, full oven, and dishwasher, too.
Around the corner, there's a bathroom with a shower.
Since the units are so small, they are designed with space-saving storage.
Drawers are located inside stairs.
Each home also features tech integrations, including glass windows that adjust their transparency depending on the amount of natural sunlight.
The unit also comes with an Amazon Echo Dot, which lets users control the home's systems with their voice.
Kasita units can stack on top of each other to form a complex ...
... or they can sit on rooftops ...
... or in backyards.
"We want to take the noise out of buying a home. Imagine how great it would be to be able to buy a home as easily as you buy a product," Wilson said. "The long-term plan would be that you could just put in your address and credit card number and we would care of the rest."
Wilson got the idea for Kasita after living in a dumpster for a year in 2014.
Owning a lot of stuff felt burdensome, so he sold the majority of his possessions and moved into (and renovated) the small, empty dumpster in Austin, Texas.
He says that the Kasita is both "a product and a home."
Future Kasita designs will evolve based on owners' needs and wants.
"The way we build housing (and even skyscrapers) hasn’t changed substantially in over 100 years, and a lot of that lag is because we haven’t updated the way we approach building," he said.