Tiny homes are big business—or at least they could be. As the U.S. housing crisis continues, several fledgling prefab companies are vying to provide the most effective housing solution for the widest range of scenarios. Some are meant to be added to backyards to increase density, while others are designed to withstand fires and hurricane-force winds in disaster prone areas. But one new Los Angeles company has another angle—a folding tiny home that can be relocated ad infinitum to provide shelters to areas in need.
Vika Living was founded by Jeff Howard and Scott Kevern in 2021 to provide shelters that could be deployed quickly and efficiently for disaster relief or as temporary housing.
“Most of today’s housing solutions are designed to sit on a concrete foundation for decades and never move again,” claims Scott Kevern, who founded Vika Living in September 2021 with Jeff Howard. “We’re focused on the underserved niche of flexible housing, building small living spaces that can be transported efficiently and deployed again and again.”
The homes have attracted interest from campground owners and other outdoors organizations. “They enable everyone to have their own little slice of the world, whether it’s for a weekend by the lake, staff housing for the summer, or as a means of affordable living,” says Kevern.
To fill what they view as a gap in the tiny home marketplace, Howard and Kevern have just rolled out their company’s first product, the Vika One. The foldable prefab—vika is Swedish for fold—features a 144-square-foot open plan with a living area, a bed that converts into seating, and a table that collapses into the wall. The program is rounded out with a full kitchen and bathroom.
The design of the Vika One is inspired by Swedish and Scandinavian architecture, say Howard and Kevern, and the interior has been kept as open as possible to maximize usable space and take advantage of natural light.
Impressively, everything—including the furnishings, fixtures, and fittings—can be folded up into a compact four-by-twelve-foot package for transport. Up to six folded Vika One homes can fit on a standard flatbed trailer, which is the company’s cost- and time-saving solution to transporting and installing a high volume of homes.
Other flat-pack prefab designs include this $17.5K glamping shelter from Jupe, another designed for remote living by Spacecube and Breathe Architecture, and a $12k tiny home by Hungarian design studio Hello Wood.
Clever storage has been integrated throughout the home, including shelving and a closet rod behind the partition wall between the bathroom and main living space to keep luggage and other items out of the way.
Each Vika One unit is fully assembled in the company’s L.A. factory before being folded up, loaded onto a truck, and transported to its site. Upon arrival, the unit is forklifted off and unfolded—a process that takes less than two hours to complete, including on-site utility connections, says Vika Living.
Vika One is constructed from fiberglass sandwich panels that are strong, weatherproof, and easily cleanable, with the same kind of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC materials you would find in a typical home. The off-grid model features solar panels on the roof.
The company sees that zippy process as a way to deliver swift emergency response. “We’d love for every city to have a fleet of housing units on-hand and ready to deploy in the event of a disaster,” says Kevern. “We’ve focused a lot of our design and manufacturing efforts on transportation efficiency, which will be critical for responding quickly and in force.” Vika also wants to provide shelters for those who lack housing, even if they serve as interim solutions.
A small window above the kitchenette allows for natural light and ventilation throughout the interior, while the bright white finishes reflect the light and make the interior feel spacious.
Of course, price per unit plays a major role in delivering on these ambitious goals. Potential buyers are looking at $38,000 for a standard unit, while upgraded models—which can come with off-grid capabilities like solar panels and batteries—will fetch up to $46,000 before the cost of delivery.
The kitchenette features a cooktop, sink, refrigerator, and plenty of storage options. All of it folds up into the unit for delivery.
In addition to selling units as-is, Vika Living offers turnkey packages that include everything buyers need to begin renting them out immediately, including bedding, towels, and cookware.
It’s also important to note that the homes have a projected lifespan of 15 years. Down the line, Howard and Kevern envision the emergence of a secondary market for retro-fitted Vika Living units. Models in good enough condition could be repurposed into a fleet of emergency units for disaster relief, for example.
“The most satisfying thing is the conversations around the humanitarian applications,” says Howard. “There is a lot of joy in being able to supply something of quality that satisfies people’s needs that is also beautiful.”
The bathroom is tucked out of sight behind a partition and door.
Vika Living officially began selling the Vika One models in September this year.