The Las Vegas company Boxabl is creating the $49,500 Casita, a 375-square-foot prefab tiny home.
Elon Musk said he owns one of the units, which he uses as a guest house near his home in Texas.
Take a tour inside the tiny home, which has a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen.
Tiny homes have become an undeniably popular alternative to the classic family home or apartment.
The little living units have even attracted the attention of one of the world's richest men: Elon Musk.
During a podcast appearance Thursday, Musk confirmed he owns a prototype unit from Boxabl, a Las Vegas startup.
Curious about the tiny home owned by a man who could afford countless mansions instead?
Well, Boxabl's debut product is the Casita, a $49,500, 375-square-foot, prefab home.
In late 2021, Boxabl said it installed a Casita in Boca Chica, Texas — where SpaceX's launch site is — for a "top secret customer."
Tiramani did not confirm that Musk, who runs SpaceX, bought or lived in a Casita in an interview with Insider last year. But the company has leaned into online rumors that Musk lived in one of its units.
Musk denied living in the tiny house, saying instead that he lives in a different small house in South Texas. But in July 2022, he said he owns a Boxabl and uses it as a guest house. He said he threw a birthday party there last year.
Boxabl's identity doesn't just center on interest from Musk.
The company's short history spans back to 2017, when the Las Vegas team decided to create its tiny homes after it saw a "huge opportunity to transition building construction worldwide into the factory assembly line," just like any other everyday product, Tiramani told Insider in an interview last year.
"There's a number of reasons why housing hasn't really worked in the factory yet, so we've gone through it and solved all those problems," he said.
According to Tiramani, other prefab-home makers struggle with one glaring issue: shipping logistics.
But unlike other prefab homes, the Casitas can be folded down from 20 feet to about 8 1/2 feet while being transported on a truck or towed by a pickup truck.
Shipping, however, could still cost $2 to $10 a mile from the company's Las Vegas headquarters.
But if the customer is willing to pay more for shipping, the homes can also be sent overseas or by rail.
Almost all of the Casita's finishes — such as the kitchen, bathroom, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC — are completed in the factory before it's shipped out.
So when the Casita arrives at its final destination, the home just needs to be unfolded (which takes a few hours) and then attached to its foundation and utilities before it's move-in ready.
The 19.5-foot-by-19.5-foot buildings can also be stacked and connected to create larger buildings. But if you're just looking for a bigger prefab home, wait a bit. Tiramani says the company still plans to release larger units.
But starting out with the "trendy, cool, and popular" tiny homes was strategic since it's hooked the eyes of more customers, Boxabl's founder says.
But Boxabl isn't popular just because of its tiny homes.
The time, cost, and labor-efficient nature of creating homes in factories amid our housing shortage have been pushing more attention onto prefabrication, whether it be the Casita or other factory-built homes, like 3D printed units.
But back to Boxabl. The Casita has attracted more people than just tiny-home enthusiasts and Elon Musk.
Boxabl has a wait list of 120,000 customers, and over 5,000 customers have already put down a deposit.
And many of these future clients — such as bigger companies — want more than one unit, so the "real demand for this initial product is incredibly massive," Tiramani said.
The wait list stands at around 100,000 people, but Boxabl says those people are interested in at least 1 million Casitas.
And the company doesn't attribute all of this popularity to the Musk rumors.
With the help of influencer and social-media marketing, the Las Vegas business already had a wait list of 40,000 people before it started receiving attention from Musk fans in 2021.
But its wait list then jumped to 47,000 people when the SpaceX rumors broke.
That's over $1 billion worth of reserved Casitas, according to Boxabl.
"The target audience heard about this beforehand, and then the Musk press brought in general audience interest, maybe someone who didn't care about housing," Tiramani said.
The company has built at least 200 tiny homes so far.
Last June, it moved into a 170,000-square-foot factory with the hopes of producing a Casita every 90 minutes — or about 3,600 units a year — by the end of 2022 ...
… with the help of an automated and standardized process.
A second factory is up and running now, as well, the company said.
To compare, a typical single-family home can take an average of seven months to build, according to Boxabl.
Boxabl already has a $10 million government contract for military housing. It has already built the 156 houses ordered by the Department of Defense.
Now let's take a look inside the tiny home and see what the hype is all about.
Think of the Casita as an energy-efficient studio apartment in a box.
The space fits a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom.
Let's start in the kitchen, which has a refrigerator, dual sinks, an oven, a dishwasher, a microwave, cabinets, and a dining table that connects with the countertops.
In this example, the bedroom sits across from the kitchen, and the entry door acts as a separation of space.
The bedroom's media center can be used to divide the bed from the living room, but these two "rooms" can be flipped.
The living room then has space for a couch and a coffee table.
The bathroom is next to the kitchen and comes with a shower and tub, a sink, a countertop, a backlit mirror, and a sliding door for privacy.
There's also an on-site washer and dryer, designated ironing space, and temperature control …
… all within the 9-foot, 6-inch ceilings.
And instead of the classic "lumber, hammer, and nails" construction method, the Casitas are built using steel, concrete, foam insulation, and laminated paneling.
This means the tiny homes are strong enough to withstand hurricane winds, mold-resistant, and flood and snow tolerant.
"The demand for housing is so incredibly massive, there's shortages everywhere and no one can build fast enough," Tiramani said. "It's great for us to know that so many people are interested in this product.
Read the original article on Business Insider