EUCLID, Ohio — A Euclid-based fiberglass company hopes to enter the tiny home market by bringing back to life a unique UFO home design.
As US Lighting Group CEO Anthony Corpora explains, Futuro houses, known as UFO homes, were originally designed by a Finnish engineer and built in the 1960s and 70s.
"[They were] initially designed as ski chalets, prefab houses, off-grid — and they had a huge craze," he said.
Corpora explained how the homes faced heavy criticism, most notably about how the windows didn't open. He added that perceptions about plastic at the time further limited production, and only about 100 units were made.
But he hopes decades of improved technology and a marketplace seeking out more alternatives to traditional homes will bring better success.
"People continuously call us that want to use this as Airbnbs and rentals, so we feel globally — and with people who want to live in tiny homes — there's just a huge market," he said. "You can put these anywhere. You don't have to have a construction company survey the land."
Earlier this month, US Lighting Group announced the formation of a subsidiary, Futuro Houses LLC, to address the need for more affordable housing.
Data from MLS Now, a realty listing service in Northeast Ohio, shows that 2021 ended with 4% more homes sold than in 2020 and an average sale price up 11% compared to the previous year.
Corpora said the transition to tiny homes isn't difficult for US Lighting Group, which already has subsidiaries specializing in manufacturing campers and boats. He said the designs involve plenty of overlap.
"It just looks different because it's a different shape," he said.
When completed, Corpora's Futuro home is expected to measure about 30ft in diameter and 13ft high, slightly larger than the original models from the 1960s and 1970s. It is also expected to weigh significantly less than the original models.
Corpora added that he's planning for the homes to be solar-powered with a propane backup. They'll also have windows that open, a water collecting mechanism and the ability to be customized.
While the company is still designing the interior, Corpora said the goal is for the homes to start hitting the market in six months at the cost of under $100,000. To learn more about the fiberglass houses, click here.
This story was originally published by Clay LePard on Scripps station WEWS in Cleveland.