October 9, 2015

The Tiny House Movement is Rebuilding Your Weekend Getaway (Video)

After years of supersizing everything from restaurant meals to smartphones, the tide is shifting to bring us back to simpler times. A focus on sustainability and the rise of the sharing economy are proof: less is more.

When one (big) door closes, another (small) window opens, most notably in the introduction of the tiny house movement. City dwellers and HGTV nerds alike are embracing 100ft2 homes, usually complete with a compact kitchen, bathroom, and lofted bed. (Aside from the aesthetic perks, smaller spaces require less to build, cool, and heat, giving them major eco-friendly cred.) Not ready to ditch your apartment? Book a night with Getaway, the self-proclaimed “Airbnb for tiny houses.”

Getaway pairs smart design with serene locations in nature to give you a truly cozy escape from the city. Jon Staff, founder and CEO, calls it the anti-vacation: all unplugging, no planning. Book a house, throw your toothbrush in a bag—or don’t, since ample necessities are available in the house for a small fee—and hit the road. All locations are far enough away to feel entirely removed from the city, but take less than a two-hour drive to reach.

In the spirit of spontaneity, the Getaway team doesn’t reveal the address of your place until the day before your stay. That way, guests aren’t tempted to sprint to Yelp or TripAdvisor to complicate the agenda with extra activities. Instead, Jon hopes that people embrace the calmness and solitude of the trip. Read that book you started months ago, hand-write a letter to a friend, or have that conversation you’ve been wanting to have with your partner. (No word on whether anyone has proposed at a Getaway, but one couple did say it saved their marriage. No big.)

The sneaky part is that Getaway is so much more than a (Harvard-designed, eco-friendly, quirky-cool tiny house) vacation. That’s clear when you check out its office space—right in the middle of the Harvard Innovation Lab. The truth is, Getaway is the first project to come out of an “action lab” called the Millennial Housing Lab. Its mission is to create housing solutions for the future (that you can start to experience right now—whoa). With overcrowded cities, too-damn-high rent, and growing numbers from all generations moving into urban areas, the brains at the iLab (as it’s affectionately called) are drawing, building, and ideating new digs for tomorrow’s world.

So disconnect from the urban jungle, try out a tech detox, and enjoy your stay.