We interviewed Pete Davis, who started the “tiny house startup” with his college friend, Jon Staff, in the summer of 2015. The idea came about as the duo was discussing disconnecting from technology and the bustle of urban life. “The idea came to build tiny houses, place them on beautiful rural land and rent them by the night to stressed-out folks looking to disconnect and recharge,” Davis explained of the business that has deals for as low as $99 per night.
As of now, the rentals are available two hours outside of Boston and New York, but they are looking to expand to other areas, particularly LA, Austin, Chicago, San Francisco and DC. Davis said his mission is to allow clients to “disconnect from the hustle and bustle, enjoy the wonders of nature, rejuvenate themselves and their relationships and create lasting memories.”
Here’s what else he told us about…
How the Idea Was Born
Jon has lived in more than his fair share of non-traditional dwellings. Back in high school in rural northern Minnesota, he spent his summers living on a boat on Lake Superior. Between his junior and senior years of college, he not only founded a frozen yogurt shop, but lived in the basement to save room and board. While the yogurt shop was under construction, he finagled access to an empty office on the third floor of a Harvard library and lived there for a two-and-a-half months. Before heading to Harvard Business School, he graduated to a living arrangement only slightly more mainstream: a 26-foot Airstream trailer, from which he lived and worked while traveling the American West. Given this, Jon was naturally drawn to the tiny house movement – the growing trend that advocates living simply in small homes. While other young entrepreneurs hear ‘startup’ and dream of iPhone apps, Jon dreamed of sawdust. Eventually, he mixed his claustrophilia and business training to launch a tiny house startup, Getaway.
What the Houses Are Like
The houses, sized at 160 to 200 square feet, were originally designed by Harvard Graduate School of Design students to provide the comforts of home. They include a comfy queen bed, stove, fridge, sink, toilet, shower, pour-over coffee, and heating – while emphasizing the natural surroundings and embodying the Getaway ethic of “less is more.”
Choosing the Secret Locations
We start by finding quiet, serene land within two hours of major cities. We pick rural land that is geographically close enough to the city to let you escape in an instant, but spiritually far enough from the city to guarantee a refreshing recharge. We keep them a secret so that this is truly a getaway and not a stressful vacation. Getaway is the anti-vacation. Vacations are too costly, too complex and too distant. A Getaway is near enough- within 2 hours- to escape in an instant. It’s affordable and designed for you to do nothing at all— an invitation to turn off your phone, look at the stars, sit by the campfire and connect with the people you care about.
Feedback From Guests
People love disconnecting and recharging. They’re excited to be away in nature, to rejuvenate themselves and their relationships, and to create new memories with each other. They feel like disconnecting from cell phones is hard at first, but then it becomes easy and liberating after a few hours.