Is Tiny Living For You? Try it Out!

Inspired to go off-grid but not sure it’s the right move for you? Problem solved, thanks to the startup Getaway which allows individuals intrigued by the ‘new’ Millennial dream to explore what it’s really like to live in a tiny home. The startup was launched by the Millennial Housing Lab and Harvard students Jon Staff and Peter Davis. Inspired to grow the Tiny House movement and offer individuals an easy way to explore off-grid living, the ambitious entrepreneurs launched what will surely develop into a popular business. Launched just this week, the first tiny home of the startup, named Ovida, is located on a wooded site just two hours north of Boston. The cozy timber cabin sleeps up to four and is fully stocked with food, comfy wool blankets, flannel sleeping bags, marshmallow sticks, and everything else one might desire living in the wilderness.

Said Davis to Fast Company:

“There’s a huge gap between people who post stories to Facebook about living in tiny houses and people who actually live in one. We want to add a rung to the ladder so people can ‘test drive’ a tiny house.”

The startup works by renting the land the houses are built on, and then splits the profit with the landowner. Staff of Getaway have plans to build at least three student-designed tiny homes in the short-term and at least 12 more over the next year, with some potentially located across the country. The Ovida tiny house is bookable online and starts at $99/night – a pretty decent price if you get a few adventurous friends to explore off-grid living with you.

Then you can look into building your own!

Building your own tiny house can be empowering but also overwhelming, especially if you have no construction experience. While the 2015 IRC has eliminated the requirement for a house to have at least one room of 120 square feet or more, states will need to adopt the new code in order for it to be effective. In addition, the IRC still contains other minimum size specifications that prove challenging: rooms (except for bathrooms and kitchens) must be 70 square feet, ceiling height must be 7 feet, etc. (additional code discussion). Accordingly, while it is possible for a tiny house to meet building codes, a house built on a foundation on its own land is more likely to be small (more than 400 square feet) rather than tiny. In addition, a building permit will probably be required.

Cost varies greatly from a low of zero (if you can get all your materials donated or find free salvage) to $40,000 or more, but in general, the average tiny house on wheels will cost $20,000 to $25,000 in materials. Be sure to create a budget. Many folks do the carpentry work themselves but budget for hiring an electrician and plumber.

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