The Home Depot – Company bringing build-it-yourself homes to Miami FL
When he was a kid growing up in Venezuela, Gabriele Campana spent many weekends with his family in the coastal town of Morrocoy. That’s where Campana’s father, who was an inventor, had built an off-grid, wooden home on stilts complete with plumbing.
Now, Campana is carrying on his father’s legacy with NU-Habitat, a maker of prefabricated homes that gives buyers almost everything they need to assemble their own one or two-bedroom house (land not included). The concept earned an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Miami Herald Startup Pitch Competition.
The kits, which are expected to be priced at $120,000 for a 1,000-square-foot unit and $170,000 for a two-story, 2,000-square-foot unit, include everything conceivable, from precut galvanized steel structures to use as the spine of the house to bathroom and kitchen tiles and floors.
“What we have done is to simplify construction,” said Campana, 60, the CEO of NU-Habitat, who has 35 years of experience sourcing and selling home-building materials to big-box dealers such as Home Depot and multinationals such as the Kohler bath and kitchen arm of Sterling. “We have digested all of the suffering that goes into construction for you. You only need a battery-operated screwdriver to put the framework again.”
Like the Sears kit homes of yore, the company’s initial products will be sold as additional dwelling units — small houses that can be added to the garage or roof of your current home. A prototype is scheduled to be unveiled in February 2022 as an addition to an existing home in South Miami.
Even though assembling an IKEA cabinet presents a daunting challenge for most people, Campana said that his company’s products — which were designed with input from Florida International University and the University of Miami, and are fully compliant with Miami-Dade’s strict building codes — can be completed in 90 days and save the user at least 50% in construction costs.
“You will need a subcontractor for things such as electrical wiring and plumbing,” he said. “But these units could make a big dent in the affordable and workforce housing segments, and they’ve already proven to be effective. In Los Angeles alone, 10,000 of this type of dwelling were built last year.”