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New Startup Lets You 'Test Drive' a Tiny House for $99 a Night

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Photo by Kataram Studios
Photo by Kataram Studios

Another day, another ravishing, eco-friendly, or otherwise fabulous tiny house hits the Internet, and you're left to wonder: Can I really live in something like this? Without readily-available resources to research and build a micro home or just the sheer willpower to leave behind everything you thought you knew about a "home," the burgeoning tiny house movement is a tough trend to get in on. But this tricky place between tiny dreamin' and actual tiny livin' is where Getaway, a new startup coming out of Harvard University, wants to wedge into. And this is what it wants to do: give urban dwellers a chance to escape the big city frenzy via a well-designed tiny house set on lovely rural land, where they can "test drive" the micro living experience, or at the very least, disconnect, recharge, and start that book they've been meaning to read.

Led by Harvard MBA student Jon Staff and Harvard Law student Peter Davis, Getaway grew out of Harvard's Millennial Housing Lab, an action lab Staff and Davis co-founded with other students from the university's business, law, and design schools to explore new ways to address the housing needs of a generation that's marrying later, switching jobs often, and deeply interested in meaningful, eco-conscious communities. And the Lab's first project is Getaway.

Photo by Kataram Studios

Photo by Kataram Studios

Photo by Kataram Studios

What you see above is Ovida, the first completed Getaway house that you can now reserve for $99 a night, with extra fees for additional guests and pets. Designed by Addison Godine, Wyatt Komarin, and Rachel Moranis, all Harvard Graduate School of Design students, this 160-square-foot abode fits right into the rustic-tiny-house-cabin-in-the-woods archetype. It has enough sleeping space for four, a kitchen, work/dining table, plus a host of green features like a composting toilet and solar electricity.

This first house is located in rural new Hampshire, within a two-hour drive from Boston. There are currently two other Getaway houses in the works, and all of them will sit on land that's a reasonable distance from big cities and leased from local property owners. The goal is to expand to other U.S. cities, and eventually, worldwide.

In a phone interview, Staff says they will "pause" after this first batch of houses in order to thoroughly evaluate the feedback and ensure this is a valuable service. Getaway, after all, isn't just about becoming an "Airbnb for tiny houses"—in fact, Staff equates Airbnb to "hotel" and the Getaway experience to "spa"—it's about trying to create real change in the housing industry.

Of course, renting a tiny house in the woods for a night isn't nearly the same as building a full-time home and having to clear all the design, land use, and construction hurdles. But for Staff, who has a personal history of living in unorthodox small spaces as well as rural areas, Getaway will at least get urban dwellers thinking about the countryside again and reconsider what they really need in a home.

· Tiny Homes 101: Tips for your tiny home or apartment

· Getaway [official site]
· Fab Tiny House Lets You Keep Your Big Ol' Oven and Bathtub [Curbed]
· This Color-Blocked Tiny Home is Gorgeous and Eco-Friendly [Curbed]
· Ravishing Tiny Home in Austin is Part Midcentury, Part Boho [Curbed]
· All tiny houses coverage [Curbed]