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The CubeOne by Nestron: A Sci-Fi Take on Tiny Homes

By Tobias Roberts Rise Writer
Mar 7, 2020

The CubeOne by Nestron: A Sci-Fi Take on Tiny Homes

After David and Juliette Howard married, they began looking for an alternative to renting an apartment in the city where they lived. Both were looking for a path to homeownership, but they also wanted to avoid the 30-year mortgage that plagued so many young couples that they knew. The Howards experienced the uncertainty that accompanies young families when they're searching for jobs and a place for their lives to take root. They didn't want to financially bind themselves to a place where they might only live for another year or two.

They considered renting out an ADU that a friend offered on Airbnb. They even took a serious look at building a skoolie. When David came across some pictures of the CubeOne by Nestron, he knew he'd found the perfect solution to the housing "crisis."

CubeOne Floorplan
CubeOne Floorplan. Photo Credit: Nestron

What is the CubeOne?  

Nestron is a Singapore-based company with manufacturing headquarters in China. Several years ago, Nestron's founders visited rural and marginalized communities in Papua New Guinea and were struck by the lack of suitable and affordable housing for the growing island population. This experience led Nestron's founders to design a housing alternative that could bring the best sustainable building technologies to people on a budget.

The CubeOne is one of four prefab housing models developed by the company. It's a tiny home at only 14.5 square meters (156 square feet) but manages to incorporate several unique, high-tech, space-saving features. For people like the Howards, the fact that the CubeOne doesn't require a foundation was one of the main selling points. 

"We have no idea where we are going to be next year, and that uncertainty has made it difficult for us to think about where and how to live," David says. "When I came across CubeOne on the Internet, the fact that it can be picked up and taken from spot to spot was certainly a draw." 

A Tiny Home With a Sci-Fi Twist 

When people think about tiny homes, they often conjure up images of quaint cottages in the countryside with wood-burning stoves and a beautiful view of a mountain lake. As Rise's many articles on tiny homes have shown, however, they certainly break with any "cookie-cutter" design. One's creativity may be the only limit. 

CubeOne Bistro and Bed
CubeOne Bistro and Bed. Photo Credit: Nestron

The CubeOne tiny home looks like it belongs more in the center of New York City than in some rural town. Its futuristic design includes a galvanized-steel shell and exceptional insulation. Natural and nontoxic rock wool (also known as mineral wool) insulation is used to protect the home from the natural elements. The built-in furniture maximizes the amount of available space. It gives the vibe of a tiny studio apartment found in any metropolitan downtown area.

Voice-controlled colored lighting, a television and state-of-the-art sound system, and air conditioning are all controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, which makes this a truly "smart" home.

"I don't think we are going to live in a 156-square-foot home all our lives," David says, "but the smart technology incorporated into the Nestron unit would make this a perfect home office someday. I work from home. In a couple of years, when we do find a place to settle down, I imagine the CubeOne easily transitioning into my office that can be in the backyard."

CubeOne Interior
CubeOne Interior. Photo Credit: Nestron

A 156-square-foot Nestron home is actually about half the size of the average hotel room. However, the CubeOne's focus on directly incorporating the furniture into the walls of the home allows for many features:

  • A small kitchen with a bar-style counter
  • A queen-sized bed facing towards the smart TV
  • A built-in wardrobe for two people
  • A small corner bathroom with a toilet, shower, and laundry room.

Sustainability Features of the CubeOne

"When we were thinking about what type of home we wanted to live in," David mentions, "our top concern was our health. I grew up in those typical suburban homes where chemical smells abounded, and I don't even want to think about what those smells did to my lungs. When we have a family one day, I want to make sure that my child or children will be able to breathe air that is free from potential cancer-causing agents."

The CubeOne is entirely free of formaldehyde, one of the most common household Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). It is also considered to be emission-free, and the prefab building process minimizes the amount of construction debris. Around 569 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris was generated in the United States in 2017 alone. This amount of trash was double the amount of municipal solid waste. The housing sector needs to find ways to reduce demand for raw materials while also incorporating high amounts of recycled and recyclable materials.

The small CubeOne obviously requires fewer building materials than the typical 2,500-square-foot home that typifies suburban America. More than 90 percent of the building materials used in the CubeOne are entirely recyclable. The prefab building process also uses 99 percent less water than traditional building methods.

"We like and appreciate the fact that the CubeOne uses high-quality and durable building materials that can also be recycled when the time comes," David says. "I worked a bit in home construction during my college years, and I still remember the loads of plywood and drywall that were shipped off to the landfill almost daily."

In terms of energy efficiency, the CubeOne's galvanized-steel shell is not only fire and earthquake-proof but also incorporates a super-tight building envelope. The natural rock wool pads the entire interior of the home, offering superior insulation value without compromising indoor air quality. 

Double-tempered glass opens up the house to the outdoors and reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day. Fitted doors with a high-insulation value also increase the home's energy efficiency and thermal performance. 

A Quick Path to Homeownership 

David and Juliette have already signed up for alerts when CubeOne begins shipping. "Life is always busy for us, and the attraction of having a fully-equipped, turnkey living solution delivered to wherever we want to live is certainly another point of interest," David says. 

"Managing a new-home build, or trying to coordinate several moves between one rental and another just takes so much time and energy," he says. "Having your own home delivered to you, and having a home that can be taken with us wherever we go is liberating, in a sense."

Nestron Solar Options
Solar Options. Photo Credit: Nestron

The basic version of the CubeOne is set to start at $30,000, and the company can ship the home worldwide for an additional cost. Also, for an extra fee, other sustainable features such as solar panels and a composting toilet can be added. Nestron still hasn't announced shipping dates, but readers interested can download the company's product catalog and sign up to be notified of the future shipping dates here. Enjoy a 360-degree tour of the home, as well as Nestron's other models here.  

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T06:04:41+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.