[In the player above, watch previous coverage of The Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo, which came to the I-X Center on March 24, 2023.]
CLEVELAND (WJW) — A locally designed tiny home that looks out of this world turned heads at the I-X Center’s home show.
The UFO-shaped house from Futuro Houses are a blast from the past. They’re based on a design that became a hit in the late 1960s, but updated with more modern improvements to turn them into “housing for the masses,” said Anthony Corpora, CEO of Futuro’s parent company, the publicly traded U.S. Lighting Group of Euclid (OTC: USLG), which now holds the Futuro trademark.
These sleek and energy-efficient homes are made using U.S. Lighting Group’s “core competency”: fiberglass, which is sturdy yet lightweight and a great insulator, Corpora said.
“The tiny home movement is booming and nobody really makes houses out of fiberglass,” Corpora said.
Futuro Houses can be a home for a family of two to four, or be made into an eye-catching short-term rental. Even more, people are starting to use them as conference rooms and for retail space “just to grab attention,” he said
See for yourself:
The shell on display at the I-X Center last weekend was 13 feet by 30 feet, with 600 feet of living space, according to a news release.
That space includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living space, all compacted into a flying saucer-type design, complete with an airplane hatch-style staircase at the entrance. The homes are energy independent for off-the-grid living and have their own rainwater collection systems — in places where that’s legal, Corpora noted — and solar panels.
Corpora said his company decided to “resurrect” the theme of the original Futuro House, but also improve on its design, which didn’t have a long lifespan, wasn’t easily transportable and whose windows couldn’t be opened.
“We took the original Futuro and made it our own,” he said.
Corpora’s company has the patent for the shape of the home in Europe, and it’s pending in the U.S., he said.
They plan for homes buyers can build directly on the Futuro website to be “completely plug and play” — just like the fiberglass campers from U.S. Lighting Group’s other Cleveland-area subsidiary, Cortes Campers.
They’re also designed to pass the most stringent energy requirements under housing code, he said.
“If you had 10 people in the house, it would heat itself just from the body heat,” he said.
How do you build or move them?
Buyers just need a basic tool set — pretty much a socket set and a wrench — and about four or five extra sets of hands, Corpora said. The full house can be put up in about a day. It’s supposed to “fit like a puzzle,” he said.
Futuro also plans on sending out teams of contractors to do assemblies across the country. Or, buyers can just hire their own, Corpora said.
The updated design makes the house much bigger but divides it into 36 pieces — 12 from the top, middle and bottom of the home, Corpora said. The goal is to make it all fit in a standard-sized shipping container, he said. The original Futuro House was made with far fewer pieces, making transportation burdensome, possible only by oversized trucks or even helicopters.
“We want to be able to ship it all over the world or on a flatbed [truck],” Corpora said.
The house is planned to stand on legs each designed to hold 30,000 pounds. The roof will be expected to hold 60,000 pounds of snow, he said.
How much are they?
The basic shell kits, which customers can outfit themselves, are going for $99,500.
Soon, the company expects to start developing fully furnished units alongside an interior design company out of Medina.
Futuro is a member of the Modular Builders Institute, which offers financing resources, Corpora said.
Futuro isn’t done designing yet. It’s got two more house models in the pipeline, possibly coming by next year — but both will be smaller and less complex than the first model.
“We just gotta get it on paper and get it into [research and development] fast,” Corpora said.