If you’ve never slept in a loft before, don’t be too concerned about the height.
The side of the bed closest to the ledge is guarded by a mesh net.
In total, this area can sleep two adults and two children.
Moving along, the window-lined kitchen and living room are at the base of the ladder.
Taking a closer look, the kitchen has amenities like a dual induction cooktop, a coffee maker, and cabinets.
Now, let’s head outside to the last part of this tour, the covered patio.
Don’t want to cook in the kitchen? You’re in luck. The outdoor space has a barbecue and view of a park and the nearby Kootenay Lake.
Almost all of the home’s elements that aren’t based in concrete are made up of sustainably sourced wood from a nearby community forest.
The revenue from the Airbnb listing will be donated to World Housing, a home building charity that’s currently looking to construct a community of affordable 3D printed homes for single mothers in Canada.
The community – currently called “Sakura Place” – will have five three-bedroom homes that will form the appearance of a flower.
Like other companies that specialize in a 3D printing construction method, World Housing believes 3D concrete printing can address two aspects of the housing crisis: the labor and housing shortage.
Similarly, TAM believes that home construction needs to pivot to decreasing building material use and energy consumption while “rewiring … how people think about the process of designing buildings,” according to the press release.
“In addition to affordable homes, the market increasingly demands innovative housing concepts,” Yasin Torunoglu, the housing and spatial development alderman at the municipality of Eindhoven, said in a press release regarding another 3D printed concrete home, this time in the Netherlands.
To expand its reach, Nestron is now in the process of preparing its debut in Northampton, UK, a little over 65 miles from London.
Toh says Nestron will close about 10 deals before the homes actually debut in Europe …
… but estimates that by the end of the year, it’ll sell over 100 units in the UK.
“We believe with the increase in marketing activities upon our debut, there are nearly 100,000 potential users in the UK, which will bring explosive and continuous growth to our local distributors,” Toh told Insider in an email statement.
Like other companies that ship products internationally, Nestron has struggled to move its tiny homes in the face of jammed ports and shipping delays.
But before we dive into how the company is overcoming these issues, let’s take a look at the two futuristic tiny homes that will debut in the UK: the $34,000 to $52,000 Cube One and the $59,000 to $77,000 Cube Two.
These prices vary widely due to a list of possible extra add-ons, such as solar panels, heated floors, and additional smart appliances.
The Cube One is more popular with solo occupants, while the larger Cube Two has been a hit with families, couples, and as a backyard unit.
Nestron debuted both units well before its UK plans but has since made sizing changes ahead of its overseas delivery: the Cube One’s size was boosted about 16.2 square-feet, while the Cube Two was expanded by about 25 square-feet.
Let’s take a closer look at the Cube One, which stands at about 156 square feet.
This square footage holds the living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen space (which comes with cabinets, a sink, and a stovetop, according to renderings of the unit).
Like any typical home, the living room has a dining table and sofa, while the bedroom has a side table, closet, and of course, a bed.
Moving towards the bathroom, the tiny Cube One comes with a shower, towel rack, and sink, all in one enclosed space.
The little living unit also has built-in necessary amenities like lights, storage units, electric blinds, and a speaker.
There’s even room for a modern-day must-have: air conditioning units.
Now, let’s take a look at the larger Cube Two, which can accommodate three to four people with its two beds, both of which sit on opposite ends of the tiny home.
Like its smaller sibling, the almost 280-square-foot Cube Two has a living room, two beds, a kitchen, and a bathroom, all with the same furnishings as the Cube One.
However, the dining table in the Cube Two is noticeably larger, and there’s a skylight for added natural light and stargazing.
Both models come insulated and have smart home capabilities using Nestron’s “Canny,” an artificial intelligence system.
Canny can complete tasks like brewing your morning coffee or automatically adjusting your seat heights.
Everything is “smart” these days, which means the Cube One and Two can also come with motion-sensing lights and smart mirrors and toilets.
You might be wondering how Nestron plans to move its Cube One and Two tiny homes overseas in one piece. Well, let’s move on to everyone’s favorite topic: logistics, and how the company managed to ship its tiny homes despite global delays.
According to Toh, Nestron has had a “solid foundation built in the industry … allowing it to have a good relationship with experienced and professional forwarding partners.”
Despite this foundation, like other companies, Nestron has experienced delays related to the global supply chain jam, specifically congested ports in the UK.
As a result, the company’s forwarding charges were tripled what it initially expected, according to Toh.
But instead of charging its clients extra money for immediate shipping, Nestron decided it would pause shipping until costs were lowered.
To bypass these congestion issues, Nestron also decided to reroute its original plan to ship straight to the UK.
“In the end, [we] decided to travel over to Antwerp, Belgium, and then land in the UK,” Toh said. “This way, by the time we reach the UK port, the congestion would’ve been clear.”
Despite this detour, shipping costs were still higher than expected, in part because the company and its distributors still wanted to make the debut timeline.
“Since the demands are growing and people want to experience touch and feel with Nestron, we took the chance and sent the units off earlier this month, expecting them to arrive late July [or] early August,” Toh said.
To aid in the transportation process, the tiny homes have built-in retractable hooks to help make it compatible with cranes.
The homes’ structures are also stable enough to withstand the stress of moving, according to Toh.
And all the little living units are also packaged in waterproof fabric to both avoid rusting and to allow for easy inspection.
Being in the UK will allow potential consumers to “engage with Nestron units directly,” Toh said. “The experience will definitely influence the market interest and purchase power.”
A Pennsylvania-based company is creating do-it-yourself kits that turn sustainable construction materials into 140-square-foot tiny homes and offices.
Let’s take a closer look at the Traveler DIY kit, which was first launched on Earth Day in April.
The design of the home – which starts at $26,000 – was inspired by the co-founders’ times in California.
Coexist was co-founded by Anastasiya Konopitskaya and Drew Oberholtzer, a wife-and-husband team.
Traveler has a midcentury modern Scandinavian appeal with a design that “merges the indoor and outdoor,” according to Konopitskaya, a licensed architect. This was done by integrating a 12-foot-wide glass-paneled wall with a sliding door and mesh screen.
But if that’s not enough, extra windows can be added in.
In total, the home can fit three queen beds, accommodating up to six people throughout its first floor and loft, which is accessible using a ladder.
There’s also room for a half bathroom, couch, coffee table, and more, depending on the customers’ needs.
The loft can also either come with a solid plywood or netted floor, which evokes the image of a hammock, according to its maker.
Even the exterior of the kit home is customizable.
Customers can pick between three facades: a “sandy beach” cedar, a plaster and hemp combination, or a recyclable corrugated metal.
The unit stands at 19-feet deep, 14-feet long, and 15-feet tall.
But if that’s too small, several Travelers can be combined into a larger compound.
Now, let’s dive into what makes the Traveler stand out from other kit homes: sustainability.
This includes the wooden pegs and mortise and tenon, both of which are built by a nearby craftsperson.
The company also sources the timber framing’s wood from a local sustainable forest, which allows Coexist to bypass some of the pricing complications other homebuilders and DIY-ers have seen throughout COVID-19, Konopitskaya said.
The team tries to source most of the materials from its home state in Pennsylvania, but due to supply chain bottlenecks in the hemp industry, the raw hemp needed for the homes’ insulation still has to be imported from Europe, mostly France.
It’s 2021. Why not sow some cannabis seeds and reap some home insulation.
The Traveler uses hemp-based insulation for a greener living environment and customers can select between three hemp options: “hemp blanket batt” insulation, precast “hempcrete block” infill, or both.
Hempcrete blocks can maintain interior temperatures, among other uses, and are made of the plant’s woody core, a limestone-based binder, and water. They’re also biodegradable, lightweight, and have no carbon footprint, according to Coexist.
The hemp blanket batt is made of 92% hemp fiber (the remaining 8% is a binder) and is “superior to all insulations on the market because of its high density and thermal mass properties,” according to its maker.
The inspiration for creating a hemp-based home came when the couple was still living in Los Angeles.
“We started building guest and single-family houses in Los Angeles and we were looking for materials that perform well that are also healthy and good for the environment,” Oberholtzer said. “We really couldn’t find anything,”
Then, the couple found hempcrete.
“We went down the rabbit hole trying to learn everything we could about it,” Oberholtzer continued.
That’s when the couple decided to move from California to Pennsylvania, where they bought a small research farm to produce a “seed-to-structure where we could create proof of concepts,” Oberholtzer said.
The farm also grows other products, including flax, and has already received research grants from the state’s department of agriculture. It’s also working with Thomas Jefferson University to create 3D printed hemp bioplastic home products to create a local “hemp farmer-to-end use” supply chain with carbon sequestering capabilities.
Coexist also designed the Traveler to be a healthy unit to live in.
Part of the home is compostable, and none of the wood or hemp materials have been chemically treated, according to its brochure. This means no formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, or latex paint throughout the home.
Coexist is even in the “early stages of trying to apply carbon credit” to the Traveler, according to Oberholtzer.
So why tiny homes and offices? Well according to Oberholtzer, the idea for the product came out of COVID-19-induced demand.
The couple has two children at home and experienced the same parenting and work-life balance difficulties that have been all too familiar for many parents during COVID-19.
This then led the couple to look into the cabin and tiny home markets, where they found that there was nothing hemp-based “that’s really focused on health, wellness, and performance,” Oberholtzer said.
That’s when Traveler was born, inspired by the working parents’ drive to create their own “well-performing and healthy” DIY kit using their area of expertise in hempcrete.
At first, the couple thought more people would use the Traveler DIY kit as a backyard office since that was the original plan for the build.
But after its market debut, the team realized most of its customers wanted it for uses other than an office, whether it be a backyard home or a family compound.
Unlike other tiny homes that ship prefabricated or almost fully built, the Traveler comes as a DIY kit, construction materials included.
This allows savvy customers looking for a construction project to build their own unit. And all it takes is one week, some power tools, and at least two people.
Despite the extra customer effort of a DIY unit, interest in the Traveler has been skyrocketing, and the response has been “pretty crazy,” Oberholtzer said
At first, Coexist was only selling five units per season. But now, the company is taking unlimited pre-orders for the spring 2022 season. It’s already seen hundreds of inquiries, including some that want to create entire communities out of Travelers.
“We had to pivot a bit because we weren’t anticipating the response, Oberholtzer said. “It’s been great, but we need to do some things to be able to fulfill potentially 50 or 100 [orders], so that’s going to require a little preparation for the spring.”
All of these inquiries have also given the team ideas on how to improve the Traveler. Some customer suggestions have included releasing a bigger build or a build with a kitchenette or full bathroom.
City officials first scouted the teardrop-shaped infill lot when they were looking for a place to build “bridge” homes, or shelters meant to aid in finding unhoused residents a permanent home.
Now, 43 residents call the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village their (temporary) home, just a few months after the community’s February grand opening.
Lehrer Architects, which designed the tiny home community with the city’s Bureau of Engineering, had a $3.49 million budget for the project. But foundational work – including street leveling and sewer lines – became the most expensive component of the project.
Despite this cost, the beta project’s shelters “add real value” to the once vacant lot, according to Lehrer Architects.
After being temperature checked by a guard at the entrance of the community, I walked past a series of lockers into the fenced village.
The lockers are meant to secure the residents’ items that aren’t allowed inside of the village, whether it be drugs or personal defense weapons, Vansleve told me while we toured the Alexandria Park location.
An outdoor smoking area and the restroom facilities with showers sit right across from the entrance.
From there, I turned the corner and was immediately greeted by the line-up of tiny homes, an outdoor seating area, and shipping container-like buildings.
The shipping container-like buildings make up the communal facilities, which include a laundry room. It’s also where the case workers are located.
The village also offers its residents three meals a day here.
The outdoor communal tables are located right next to these facilities and in front of the small dog park, which sits at the center of the village.
Surrounding these public amenities are the tiny homes.
Several of these tiny homes have already been personalized with flowers, flags, and posters.
Each tiny home has an entry door that can be locked, a luxury some of the residents might not have had prior.
“Achieving this level of privacy and security is not possible in a traditional shelter,” Michael Lehrer and Nerin Kadribegovic, Lehrer Architects’ founding partner and partner, respectively, told Insider in an email interview in February. “The evocation of a child’s drawing of a ‘house’ and even Monopoly’s homes reinforces the idea of ‘home.'”
The interior has all of the basic amenities needed to live in a tiny home in Los Angeles, including a bed, a heater …
… an air conditioning unit, windows, shelves, and a desk.
The units were all created by Washington-based Pallet, which specializes in creating prefab tiny homes that can be quickly assembled to create homes for people who may have been unhoused due to natural or personal disasters.
“What we felt was really missing from the housing spectrum was a dignified shelter option that honored their individuality and allowed them to have autonomy in their rehabilitation process,” Amy King, founder and CEO of Pallet, told Insider in January.
However, it wasn’t the community’s bright colors that caught my attention. It was the people.
The village’s residents were friendlier than my own neighbors: almost every person I walked by smiled and said “hello.”
And before I left, I had a chat with someone in the village who told me about their daughter, son in college, and interest in other cultures.
The conversation reminded me of something Vansleve told me during our chat at the new Alexandria Park location: “I look at people on the street [in their late 60s, early 70s] and some of them could be my mum. They’ve experienced incredible amounts of trauma and they’re left on the street. I think it’s a moral issue.”
Think of Chandler Street Tiny Home Village as a transitioning place for its residents.
The goal of the village, and Hope of the Valley’s upcoming sites, is to provide its residents with stability and a temporary home while helping them eventually transition into more permanent housing.
When a new resident arrives, the community’s employees, which include case workers, will help the new individual with a list of personal needs.
“Here it’s more supportive, more in-depth,” Priscilla Rodriguez, a case manager at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, told Insider. “When somebody comes in, they could be at the very beginning.”
From there, case workers will help the residents receive necessary paperwork like an ID, a social security card, or a birth certificate.
The team will also help its residents find income. This could be unemployment benefits at first, but will hopefully lead to a job or Supplemental Security Income.
The case workers even help with life skills, which could include teaching them how to keep their tiny homes clean or encouraging them to bathe everyday.
Workers will also connect the residents to doctors and physicians for both mental and physical healthcare.
“Some of them wanted to bring their tents into their home because they’re not used to coming out of that setting and transitioning back into permanent housing,” Rodriguez said.
This is the “transition” case workers like Rodriguez are trying to help with.
“They are going to be housed on their own one day, and we want to help support them in every way so that way when they get there, they feel confident to be there and to keep that house on their own,” Rodriguez said.
The program lasts for 90 days, but can be extended for an additional 90 days if they find the resident is making good headway and improvements, and is “actively working” with the case managers to meet goals.
“All we need from them is just to connect with us,” Rodriguez said. “Just tell us what you need.”
Every resident in this current batch has already received an extension because the village and program is so new. But moving forward, the goal is for residents to meet the 90-day timeline.
Each resident gets to dictate the pace at which they move, and right now, many of them are showing “tremendous progress.”
The majority of the 43 residents currently being housed at the Chandler site are on track to be housed independently, which is the ultimate goal of the program.
“We really are showing that the program is working,” Rodriguez said.
In order to qualify for a bed at the village, an outreach worker, often from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, has to verify that the potential resident is homeless and resides within a few miles of the village.
The Chandler site has been so popular there’s already a waitlist for the beds.
The team will accept anyone into the village, even if they have substance abuse or mental health issues, physical disabilities, or legal problems.
“We’re just people who were trying to help these participants better their life,” Rodriguez said. “They’re not trying to harm the community in any way, they’re trying to get themselves back into that community.”
And despite the ongoing pandemic, the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village hasn’t had any COVID-19 outbreaks.
The tiny homes each typically shelter up to two people, but due to the virus, only couples are allowed to share a unit.
And every one to two weeks, the village offers COVID-19 testing on-site.
Several residents have already received their first round of vaccines as well.
Many of the residents have also been complying with face mask wearing, social distancing, and sanitizing protocols, according to Rodriguez.
Despite the work Chandler Street is doing for the homeless community, the program has experienced some protests and hecklers.
The hecklers “just want to cause a scene saying we’ve got drug addicts and criminals in here,” according to Rodriguez.
“It’s sad to see the pushback because any one of us could be here at any point,” Rodriguez said. “You never know what it’s gonna take to make you homeless, especially during a covid year.”
Despite this, the village and its program has so far been a success, and has already attracted international attention.
As a “test case” for future tiny home communities, and since most residents are on track to be permanently housed, the concept has served as an inspiration for people around the world.
The Chandler site has even seen out-of-country visitors who have been interested in incorporating a similar idea in their own city or state.
“It’s making a big impact,” Rodriguez said. “They see that we have had a lot of success with this program, so I definitely see it expanding … hopefully all over the country and in other nations as well.”
Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis has been quietly brewing for several years now.
To address this issue, nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission has opened two colorful tiny home villages in the city this year: Chandler Street and the newer Alexandria Park.
The villages aren’t meant to house millennial tourists or trendy minimalists interested in tiny living.
Instead, the two communities were built to temporarily house Los Angeles’ unhoused residents.
This serves as an alternative to “congregate” shelters that can often be more expensive and less time-efficient to construct.
The goal of Hope of the Valley’s tiny house program is to help its residents find a permanent home by the end of their stay.
The program starts at 90 days with the option to extend for an additional three months depending on the progress of the resident, Priscilla Rodriguez, a caseworker at the Chandler Street Tiny Home Village, told Insider.
The two villages are about two miles away from each other and were opened only two months apart.
The first tiny home village on Chandler Blvd. (pictured below), opened in February as a “test case” for Los Angeles, Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told Insider.
The North Hollywood-based community has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds, but as of now, only couples are allowed to share a unit due to COVID-19 protocols.
So far, the program has been a success, according to Rodriguez.
The village’s on-site caseworkers help the residents with a variety of tasks, from obtaining a social security card, to finding income, to teaching them life skills, such as how to keep their tiny homes clean.
“Some people come here and they’re used to being in a tent and not having their own space,” Rodriguez said. “They’re going to be housed one day on their own, and we want to support them in every way so when they get there, they feel confident to be there and to keep that house on their own.”
Many of the residents at this first site have already made “huge progress,” and the majority of the community’s 43 occupants are already on track to be housed independently, according to Rodriguez.
Now, Hope of the Valley is looking to continue this success with its latest tiny home community just a short drive away from the original Chandler site.
The new Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village is the largest tiny home community in California, according to the nonprofit.
The new site, which is also located in North Hollywood, is over double the size of the original Chandler location with 103 tiny homes and 200 beds.
The new community will begin welcoming its first round of residents this week.
The Alexandria Park and Chandler Street sites are both filled with 64-square-foot shelters made by Washington-based Pallet, which specializes in building tiny homes for people who have been unhoused due to natural or personal disasters.
Like any typical home, the shelters have a lockable entry door.
A locking door may seem like a no-brainer for most people, but many of the communities’ residents may not have previously had this security measure.
This sense of privacy and security isn’t possible in a “traditional” congregate shelter, Michael Lehrer and Nerin Kadribegovic, Lehrer Architects’ founding partner and partner, respectively, told Insider in an email interview in February. Lehrer Architects designed the Chandler site with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering.
“Ethically and morally for people who’ve experienced trauma, having a locking door can sometimes become the difference between accepting help getting off the street and making a step towards permanent supportive housing,” Rowan Vansleve, CFO of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, told Insider.
A 64-square-foot space may seem small, but it has enough room to accommodate all of the unit’s amenities, which include temperature controls like an air conditioner and heater …
… lights that can be used when the four windows don’t provide enough natural brightness …
… and outlets.
The beds are topped with a navy blue duvet, which is meant to invoke a calm feeling, according to Vansleve.
There’s also a small desk, a smoke detector for an added layer of security …
… and storage space underneath the bed frames.
The new Alexandria Park tiny homes also come with toiletries bags customized for men and women.
Several of the new shelters’ furnishings are sourced from Hope of the Valley’s five donation and thrift shops located throughout the greater Los Angeles region.
Several residents who have been living at the Chandler location have already made themselves at home with plants, posters, and artwork.
The tiny homes either come with one or two beds, and some of the single-bed units have enough space to accommodate a wheelchair.
The shelters don’t have room for a private restroom, but both communities have shared individual bathrooms that each come with a sink, toilet, and shower.
Same goes for laundry, which can be done at the sites’ communal laundry facilities.
Pallet’s shelters typically have a lifespan of over 10 years, and the units can be easily disassembled and reassembled, according to Pallet.
But external costs such as sewage, electricity, and internet bumped the cost of each bed at the Alexandria Park location up to about $43,000.
“It doesn’t feel like a homeless shelter, it feels like a launching pad,” Vansleve said about the Alexandria Park Tiny Home Village. “As you walk through, it almost has a college dorm sort of vibe to it, which is exciting.”
This includes Dvele, a technology-forward prefab home maker with a focus on improving both human and planet health.
Dvele’s lineup of home models combine several major topics that have since popped up during COVID-19, specifically home buying, prefab homes, and health. Keep scrolling to see how:
Prefabrication allows Dvele to produce its homes regardless of the weather conditions, all within four to six months.
Once the homes are ready, they can be shipped to its final destination and set in place using a crane.
According to Matt Howland, Dvele’s president, smart prefab homes are “absolutely” the future.
“Can you imagine an iPhone being built in normal construction conditions?” Howland told Insider in an email interview. “To achieve a self-powered, intelligent home, factory production is the way to go.”
Like many prefab home builders, Dvele saw a boost in business during COVID-19.
However, Howland attributes this more to the nature of Dvele’s “healthy” homes (more on this in a bit) than the prefab aspect.
Dvele emphasizes a mid-century modern design with an open floor plan throughout its homes.
Peeking around inside, the units all look similar to that of any traditionally built home.
Aspects like the large windows, sliding doors, entertainment areas, custom cabinets, and modern utilities make its prefab nature almost unidentifiable.
The homes all have robust air quality, water filtration, and energy saving systems.
The homes can also be customized, and customers can pick from one of Dvele’s six different exterior finishes.
Most of Dvele’s clients slightly customize their homes to fulfill their “dream home and lifestyle,” according to Howland.
Dvele has 13 models of varying sizes, but it’s Elsinore model is its most popular.
Elsinore has been a hit with the customers due to its design, open floor plan, and “popular bedroom and bathroom mix,” Howland told Insider.
The $640,000 Elsinore home is 2,940 square-feet with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
The popular home has an open kitchen, dining, and living room layout. There are also separate laundry and powder rooms.
The kitchen looks like any normal cooking area with its cabinets, pantry, stovetop, dishwasher, oven, and refrigerator.
Moving on, the living room has its own cabinets, an optional electric fireplace, and sliding doors that lead occupants out to the patio.
The primary bedroom then has its own bathroom and a walk-in closet with wardrobes …
… while the other two bedrooms share a bathroom.
The fourth bedroom – which can function as a guest room – has its own restroom.
The full bathrooms all have the typical necessities, including wall-mounted toilets, showers, and vanities.
Other models in Dvele’s arsenal include the 3,523 square-foot Trinity. This option, the company’s largest offering, starts at $670,000 and includes four bedroom and 3.5 bathroom.
Tiny home enthusiasts can also find their fit with the company’s three 419 square-foot tiny homes ranging from $150,000 to $180,000.
No matter the model, all Dvele homes are built with DveleIQ, the company’s proprietary “whole home solution” that integrates artificial intelligence “from the foundation up” to make a home’s interior environment healthier.
“While DveleIQ facilitates the normal convenience features of smart home tech, it also provides an intelligent system that will enhance the health of the occupant, the home’s energy efficiency, and even the durability of the home,” Howland wrote.
Smart homes aren’t just about lights that turn on and off automatically.
To Dvele, a smart home is a home that creates a healthy environment while learning to become become more efficient overtime.
The “software-defined” homes use over 300 sensors and DveleIQ to monitor different aspects of the home, from mold to carbon dioxide.
The home can then look into the reasons of any issues that have popped up.
For example, when the humidity level falls under a certain point, the home’s system will check for potential causes, such as open doors and the number of people in the home.
Another example: if the system notices potential water or mold damage, it will let the homeowners know, and can notify Dvele for any possible solutions.
However, the units still have all the typical “smart home” features.
For example, the home can monitor its occupant’s schedule and preferred thermostat settings to set the interior temperature before the homeowner arrives back from an outing, preventing the thermostat from working even when the home is empty.
To monitor its occupants, the home can use tools like smart phones and “energy consumption patterns,” according to Howland.
“Our homes are constantly learning about their occupants and adapting to them as they start to understand a user’s interaction with the home, anticipate their needs, and facilitate them through the home’s systems,” Howland wrote.
Dvele currently has a growing list of about 100 “intelligence home automations” that include detecting maintenance problems and helping its occupants relax at the end of the day, according to Howland.
“The goal of DveleIQ was to build a software-defined home that could sense in real time the state of the home and react accordingly,” Howland wrote. “Because of this, every Dvele home is continually getting better, like how software updates to a Tesla make it continually better.”
According to Howland, the public has received DveleIQ well, especially as more people have begun understanding that a “smart home” isn’t just automatic lights and temperature settings.
Beyond technological innovations for healthier homes, Dvele also excels in the sustainability space.
Dvele is able to decrease its waste output because its homes are prefabricated with different models that use several of the same materials.
With the help of DveleIQ, the homes are also designed to be planet friendly by incorporating aspects like solar power, insulation, and efficient hot water heaters.
Keeping in line with the company’s green forward mission, Dvele plants 10,000 trees for every home built, and uses “sustainable material sourcing.”
Like other sustainable prefab home makers, Dvele aims for passive house certifications.
The homes are also all self-powered, taking away any reliance on larger power grids.
This is possible with a Dvele home’s insulation, energy efficient amenities, and solar power use.
A Dvele home’s solar panel output changes per location and home type. As of now, most of the company’s units are based in California, according to Howland.
The prefab units also have backup battery and energy storage systems just in case.
Are you an EV owner? No worry. A Dvele home’s systems have enough energy to charge an electric vehicle.
“DveleIQ and our ‘Self-Powered’ initiative were both very well received by the market and we saw an uptick in owners looking for quality healthy homes,” Howland wrote. “Our sales and interest have continued to exceed our boldest expectations, it’s been awesome to see how our core tenets are resonating with prospective owners.”
Expensive tiny homes have been in high demand since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, a tiny home maker specializing in personal units for the homeless has also seen a surge in interest.
“What we felt was really missing from the housing spectrum was a dignified shelter option that honored their individuality and allowed them to have autonomy in their rehabilitation process,” Amy King, founder and CEO of Pallet, told Insider.
The company’s main customer base is municipalities, although it’s received orders from nonprofits, religious organizations, and people who own plots of land.
According to King, while the tiny home community concept has been present for some time now, it’s definitely become more of a trend as of late.
Like other tiny home makers, Pallet first started seeing an uptick in interest in March 2020. However, when early October hit, municipalities started realizing they would need individual shelters for people without homes during COVID-19-plagued wintertime.
This realization then created a second wave of Pallet interest in the same year.
The units were initially designed to serve as shelters for people who had lost their homes due to natural disasters, such as fires.
However, the company started opening its scope of potential occupants when homelessness began reaching a similar “disaster emergency level,” according to King.
Despite the potential to capitalize off of the tiny home boom, Pallet currently does not sell any of its units to one-off costumers looking for a backyard tiny home.
“Right now, we are heavily focused on the humanitarian crisis in front of us,” King said. “We will not stop until homelessness has ended in this country, so that’s where we’re focusing our attention for the time being.”
Last year, Pallet built over 1,500 new beds across the US. There are now Pallets in states like California, Minnesota, Texas, and Hawaii.
It took Pallet five or six different iterations before it settled on this final design.
Pallet offers two shelter sizes: the 64-square-foot Pallet 64, and the 100-square-foot Pallet 100. Prices start at $4,900 and $7,000, respectively.
The sleeping cabins consist of an aluminum frame and fiber-reinforced plastic composite walls.
These walls are insulated, but the home also comes with a heater and an air conditioner.
Like any home, the shelters are equipped with safety elements like a lockable door, a smoke detector, and a carbon monoxide monitor.
The shelters can accommodate up to four beds with a folding bunk bed system, although the beds can optionally be replaced with desks.
In terms of storage, the tiny home has shelves and room for under-bed storage.
The structure can withstand up to 100 mile-per-hour winds and manage up to 25 pounds per square-foot of snow.
If that’s not enough, Pallet also has an “extreme weather” version originally developed for a Hood River, Oregon location.
However, none of the homes have bathrooms. This was intentional: the company wants its units to serve as “temporary stabilizing shelters” while its occupants wait for a more permanent option.
Also, plumbing is expensive and more difficult to maintain, which would have driven the tiny home’s price up.
With that being said, Pallet is currently prototyping a bathroom and has previously trialed a community room. Looking forward, Pallet might test a kitchen facility as well.
The units have a lifespan of more than 10 years, but many people only reside in these tiny homes for months at a time.
The units are also easy to clean and sanitize in between occupants, which is key given the homelessness emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike permanent “congregate” shelter options that could take years to build, Pallet’s prefabricated tiny homes can be setup in under 30 minutes, and a full village can be created within 10 days.
This allows Pallet to quickly and inexpensively address the homelessness crisis in the US.
While Pallet specializes in making individual shelters, the company recognizes the need for community shelters as well.
“Unfortunately, the homelessness crisis in this country has escalated to a point that we need all products,” King said. “Each person needs something different, and we need to have a diversified opportunity for people to get their needs met.”
Homelessness isn’t the only issue Pallet is tackling.
The Washington-based company’s “social purpose” title means it serves as a combination between a for-profit and a non-profit organization.
As a result, profits made are put back into the company’s two main missions: stopping “unsheltered homelessness,” and creating a “nontraditional workforce.”
To the latter point, 90% of Pallet’s employees have once faced addiction, incarceration, or homelessness.
Pallet offers these employees workforce and “life skills” training, which includes teaching them how to start a bank account or get an ID.
The A-frame Cabin kit targets three segments that have experienced a shake-up during COVID-19 times: DIY-ers, remote and tiny living, and tourism.
The interior can fit up to two people and the structure is only semi-permanent, which means it can be taken apart and moved as needed.
The kit and Den Outdoors have received so much interest, the company is now contemplating raising a seed round “because the business continues to grow despite our lack of resources,” Den founder Mike Romanowicz told Business Insider in an email interview.
According to Den, the kit is a good option for companies in the glamping and hospitality business, and for people looking to list properties on Airbnb.
Unlike most cabin and tiny home makers that sell fully built units, New York-based Den Outdoors takes the approach of selling both construction plans and do-it-yourself kits with all of the necessary parts. In line with these two product types, the A-frame cabin’s plans can be purchased for $99, and the full DIY kit starts at $21,000.
According to Den founder Mike Romanowicz in an email interview with Business Insider, the company and its cabin kit has seen a “huge swell of traffic and interested customers.”
“What’s propelling the product’s popularity is that we’ve launched something that has exactly the right characteristics that people want,” Romanowicz wrote in the email interview with Business Insider. “It’s beautiful, fast to build, and accessibly priced relative to other options in the market.”
Keep scrolling to see inside the wildly hyped A-frame cabin:
To target this segment, Den decided to make the kit easy to successfully assemble.
These new living trends, coupled with the rise in DIY-ers, created the perfect storm for Den Outdoors and its cabin kit.
The company was officially launched this past July. Since then, Den has already seen explosive growth “partially aided by the tailwinds that COVID-19 is providing,” Romanowicz wrote.
The company now has about 24,400 followers on Instagram, over 10,000 customers in its email database, and has seen sales increasing monthly from organic growth alone.
“To date, we’ve been self-funded, but we’re now heavily considering raising a seed round because the business continues to grow despite our lack of resources,” Romanowicz wrote. “The path to scalable growth and profitability lies clearly ahead.”
The do-it-yourself kit also touches upon another segment impacted by COVID-19: tourism.
Den’s cabin kit targets more than the private customer who wants a backyard cabin.
The kit can also be used by glamping property owners or those interested in renting the space out for Airbnb use.
In fact, the kit was in part designed for the hospitality industry as the cabin can be listed with high nightly rates …
… but can be set up quickly and inexpensively, making it a good investment, according to its maker.
Because the cabin is four seasons-approved, it can withstand the wintertime when revenue for glamping and camping-related businesses is generally lower due to non-insulated tents.
Like a tent, the cabin can be easily assembled and disassembled and is portable.
However, the A-frame is more durable than a canvas tent, which is a glamping structure that many companies have started using, according to Den.
“Because of all that, a lot of our interest has come from larger platforms in the camping and glamping industry, as well as from a number of different hotel and hospitality operators and developers who are looking to fix their seasonality problem while offering beautiful accommodations to their guests,” Romanowicz wrote.
The full A-frame is also small enough to be placed without a permit.
The cabin is similar to a shed in that a permanent concrete foundation is not necessary …
… although Den recommends placing the cabin on concrete pavers or deck blocks.
The cabin can also be used as more than just a glamping outpost or a backyard escape.
The A-frame can also serve as a place to work out, or as a separate office room.
According to the company, several people have already purchased the kit to use as a backyard office.
The kits are now being designed and produced in New York with the goal of providing “revenue, jobs, and stability” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Den’s press question-and-answer sheet.
“We were fortunate enough to partner with an incredibly talented local team with the right skills and tooling to enable us to build this with thoughtful craftsmanship, precision componentry, and in a cost-effective way to enable us to get to a competitive price,” the company explained.
Den is considering unveiling more kits in the future, but as of now, it’s focused on A-frame order fulfillments.
Den Outdoors will begin shipping out the A-frame kits next year.
Tiny homes have become undeniably popular during the coronavirus pandemic, and with this sudden surge comes new tiny home trends.
According to a survey by Fidelity National Financial subsidiary IPX1031, 56% of the 2,006 American respondents reported they would consider living in a tiny home.
Of those surveyed who are not yet homeowners, 86% said they would contemplate purchasing a tiny home as their first home and 84% of those surveyed said they would consider a tiny home as a retirement living option.
Affordability, efficiency, eco-friendliness, and minimalism were cited, in that order, as the four most attractive factors that the tiny home lifestyle has to offer.
It’s no surprise the economical aspects of tiny living was listed by 65% of those surveyed as the most enticing factor of tiny living. The median price of a tiny home falls within the $30,000 to $60,000 range, while the median price of a traditional home sits at $233,400, according to IPX1031. As a result, 79% of survey respondents reported being able to afford the median price of a tiny home, while only 53% said the same for a traditional home.
Aspects like mobility and privacy fell lower on the list of attractive factors, although 54% of survey respondents said they would want a mobile home, and a home under 400 square feet.
As a result, 72% of respondents said they would consider using a tiny home as an investment property, with 63% of those people reporting they would use it as a long term rental unit at an average monthly rent of $900. In contrast, 37% said they would rather rent their tiny home for short term stays on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo with an average nightly rate of $145.
According to the report’s analysis of 1,300 tiny home-related Google search keywords, tiny homes are currently the most popular in the northwest and northeast of the US.
IPX1031 conducted the survey, which was made up of 55% female and 45% male, between November 1 and 5. The median age of those surveyed was 38, and the majority of people surveyed had an income under $80,000, with 37% of respondents making under $40,000, and 46% making between $40,000 to 80,000.