BY: MATTHEW CHIN
Perhaps you’ve thought about ditching the concept of the traditional house and living in a tiny home, but you haven’t got the nerve to try it out. Maybe you’re pretty sure that an off-the-grid lifestyle is for you, but you don’t want to fully commit to living in compact quarters. A new Boston-based start-up wants to let you try your hand in the world of tiny house living with no strings attached.
Sacrificing the open space of a traditional home for compact living has many benefits. Cost efficiency, sustainability, and focusing on the simplicity of life hold obvious allure, and for some, this allure is reason enough to convert from a typical home or apartment to dwellings no larger than a single shipping container.
However, some homeowners might find that the idea of permanently leaving their space for something radically different is just too big of a transition to make. In addition, the limited space of the tiny home lifestyle might be unable to accommodate for lifestyle changes and growing families.
To help ease the transition to a tiny home or just try the tiny house experience for an off-the-grid vacation, Boston-based company Getaway will let you rent a mobile tiny home. Getaway was launched at Harvard’s Innovation Lab and is co-founded by Jon Staff, an MBA student, and Pete Davis, a law student.
Using the same principles of tiny house living (including the need to escape, the need to foster nomadic living, and the desire for sustainability), the newly-created company set out to build their very own tiny homes to fit families comfortably.
“The term ‘tiny houses’ has a lot of magic and romance and captures folks’ attention, but it also leads people to think they might be too tiny,” Staff said in FastCompany. “In fact, our first house sleeps four people in real beds. Even if it’s 160 square feet, which sounds small, you can hang out with six people.”
The home is designed by Harvard graduate students and includes solar–powered flaps and a composting toilet. There are plenty of designs to optimize space, like fold-out beds and shelves to fit books and board games. Should the house be transported, setup will take less than an hour. The overall design is meant to be simple, but also harness the best economy for the space.
“The best way to design in a tiny house, we think, is to realize it’s small and make the most use of the space you have,” Staff said in Fast Company.
The average cost of rent in the U.S. is $962, while to rent a night in the tiny home which sleeps four, complete with bicycles and firewood, costs only $99 a night. There’s an additional fee of $15 for a pet, or a $10 fee for a third and fourth guest.
Getaway raised $250,000 in initial funding before its launch this summer, and the company plans to use these funds to put towards building more properties than their single house.
The houses will be built on land leased from local landowners. Getaway sees this as a benefit for landowners: having a tiny house for rent on their properties would provide people with an additional source of income, and put open land to good use.
In the future, Getaway hopes to offer the first tiny house mortgage, and plans to build at least 12 homes over the next year to be placed around the U.S., giving customers a taste of the tiny house experience and perhaps the ideal mobile vacation getaway at a fraction of the cost.