Getaway on Shark Tank

Our tiny house project, Getaway, was just on Shark Tank:

Business Insider has a rundown:

They set their sights on Sacca, a legendary angel investor who made early bets on Uber, Twitter, and Instagram— and shares the cofounders’ love of the outdoors. The Upstate New York native owns two wood cabins on Lake Tahoe, in addition to an estate in Great Falls, Montana.

Davis took a shot at Sacca in what looked like an attempt to guilt him into an investment.

“You have brought and shepherded much technology into this world, and you know technology needs a counter-balance. We can provide a counter-balance,” Davis said. “You can pay amends for helping bring Twitter into this world. And this is the anti-Twitter.”

Heavy has a visual history of Getaway, including a posting of our Why Do You Want to Getaway? video:

Getaway’s New York Expansion

Getaway — our startup that builds tiny houses, places them in the woods and rents them out by the night to folks looking to getaway — is expanding to New York. Bloomberg News put the word out:

“I like to call it the anti-vacation,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Staff, who launched Getaway with his friend Pete Davis, a first-year student at Harvard Law School.

For the past half-century, the American vacation model was to spend a small fortune to fly to a faraway place to which the vacationers would likely never go back, said Staff, 28, who is completing an MBA at Harvard Business School. “You’re probably only going to go there once, so you feel incredible pressure to do lots of things.” Now that Americans work longer hours and spend their nights and weekends chained to handheld devices, there’s less call for capital-V “Vacations” and more for basic respite, he said.

Clara-by-Getaway-1Travel + Leisure magazine has more info:

Between noisy hotels and constant access to wi-fi, finding a true getaway can be nearly impossible. That’s exactly why a year ago two former Harvard classmates built three 160-square-foot homes on trailers, drove them to the outskirts of Boston, and rented them out to overworked city folks starting at $99 a night. Now they’re making them available to New Yorkers.

Starting in June, guests can book one of three tiny houses for a mini (seriously) vacation about two hours outside of NYC. There’s a catch: you don’t find out the exact location until the day before.

“Our vision was always that this was wellness experience not a hospitality experience,” Chief Executive Officer Jon Staff, who launched Getaway with his friend Pete Davis, tells Travel + Leisure. “That’s part of the reason we don’t tell people where they are before they go. It’s about being on this land and not looking at your phone. We’ve been pleased to find that it’s connecting with people.”

Book a New York Getaway at

New Getaway news

Getaway, our effort out of the Millennial Housing Lab to build and share tiny houses in the woods, has been in the news these past few weeks:

  • CNN“Sure, living in a tiny house full-time may sound daunting, but renting a wee retreat for a couple of days is an easy way to get a taste of the downsized life.”
  • Yahoo“Hilary and Shane Lentz were hooked on the idea of a tiny house, but they weren’t sure the reality would be so appealing.Their curiosity led them to the hills of New Hampshire, where a business that started at Harvard University rents out tiny houses for $99 a night.”
  • L.A. Times“Ten designers, adventurers, campers and doers put their heads and brute strength together to build three homes on wheels. The results seem to have jumped from the pages of Dwell magazine. Get out of the city and leave its distractions; play a board game or grab the marshmallow stick that’s waiting for you. If you are OK with using a compost toilet and paying a nominal amount for the stocked provisions, you’ll be all set to enjoy the peaceful wooded surroundings and, of course, see if you could live tiny long-term.”
  • Associated PressGetaway is the first project at Harvard’s Millennial Housing Lab, a group of business, law and design students exploring new housing ideas. Staff, a graduate student in business, said his stints living on a boat and in an Airstream trailer inspired him to help spread the tiny house movement. “Small spaces force you out into the world, and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.”

Plus, Zipcar recently released a video about Getaway:

Getaway update

This past summer, we launched Getaway, a startup that builds tiny houses, places them in the woods, and rents them out by the night to folks looking to getaway and test-drive tiny house living.  We are hoping it can help expand the tiny house movement and encourage simple living.  We just launched our first intro video:

Plus, a couple of our guests filmed a video about their stay:

We just launched our third house, The Clara, named for my grandmother…© Daniela Goncalves © Brian Tortora

…and we’re looking to expand to New York in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Getaway Launch Roundup

The first major project out of the Millennial Housing Lab —
Getaway, which builds tiny houses, places them on beautiful rural land and rent them by the night to city folkScreen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.57.31 AMs looking to escape the digital grind and test-drive tiny house living — had a great launch week. Here’s the press round-up:

  • The Boston Globe: “The first of its 8-by 20-foot homes, located in southern New Hampshire, is ready to rent. The second and third tiny houses are under construction.”
  • Fast Company Article 1: “There’s a huge gap between people who post stories to Facebook about living in tiny houses and people who actually live in one,” Davis says. “We want to add a rung to the ladder so people can ‘test drive’ a tiny house.”
  • Fast Company Article 2“”We’re making tiny houses accessible to people who otherwise can’t experience them,” says Jon Staff, CEO of Getaway, a company launched at Harvard’s Innovation Lab. The company recently opened its first 160-square foot, off-grid tiny house in the woods near Boston, and will soon add more.”
  •““We build it all in East Boston,” Staff said. “Then I get in a truck and drive them and we put them on beautiful land out of sight of any house. The first one has been completed and moved to Southern New Hampshire up on a hill.””
  • Treehugger: “The tiny house movement has mostly been ad-hoc, driven by people who for various reasons wanted to break away from the standard routine: get a job, get a mortgage, get a house. It is becoming less ad-hoc all the time as more people look at it as a real alternative model. Many of those are millennials who “trading stability for experience” either through choice or necessity. And now there is the Millenial Housing Lab looking at the problems they face. Founded by Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and Harvard Design School students it is looking at the problems of housing a generation without stability.”
  • LifeEdited: “Both its modern interior and exterior are clad with attractive rough cut pine. The interior features built in furniture such as a table that doubles as a window cover and two built-in beds, giving the place capacity to sleep four. All electricity is solar, the toilet is composting and water is handled via a 110 gallon water tank that is refilled via the host house the tiny house shares its land with. Bookings also include fresh linens and available “provisions”–a sort of backwoods mini bar with things like coffee, trail mix, pasta, etc (these cost extra).”
  • Curbed: “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.”
  • Boston Business Journal: “Staff said Getaway will build at least three tiny homes in the short-term, but the hope is to build at least 12 over the next year and expand to other places around the country. The homes are all designed by Harvard students and have a composting toilet, solar electricity and propane heat — among other basics.”

If you are Boston area resident interested in booking a Getaway — or hoping to request Getaway to come to your town — check out  As always, if you are interested in getting involved with Getaway or the Millennial Housing Lab generally, please get in touch.  We’ve got many projects cooking — a project to legalize tiny houses, an attempt to build a tiny house village (4-5 houses on one lot) in a city, and an effort to see how tiny houses can help homelessness — so I’m really looking forward to what comes of all this in the coming year. has launched!

The first project out of Jon Staff and I’s Millennial Housing Lab has launched: Getaway, our new startup that builds tiny houses, places them on beautiful rural land and rents them out by the night to city folks looking to escape the digital grind and test-drive tiny house living. After some late-night idea sessions… a few months of Jon sketching with Harvard Graduate School of Design students Addison Godine, Wyatt Komarin, and Rachel Moranis… Jon wooing investors based on a team and dream… and a harrowing drive of the first tiny house on I-93 North… the first Boston Getaway house has arrived in southern New Hampshire.

Here’s the house, named The Ovida (after Getaway intern Sarah Ruehlow’s grandma), making the move:

Here’s finishing touches in the arrival in southern New Hampshire:


Here’s the finished outside…:


…and the finished inside:


Many thanks to Kataram Studios for the photographs and to the whole Getaway team for launching the Millennial Housing Lab’s first project.  This is the first of (hopefully) many Millennial housing proofs of concept in the coming years.  Learn more and book your getaway at

The Millennial Housing Lab

Jon Staff and I have been batting around housing ideas for a while now: urban dorms, tiny houses, modern communes, etc.  Since we’re both going to be up at Harvard for the coming years, we decided to formalize this conversation into a real thing: The Millennial Housing Lab, an action lab with the mission of developing and realizing fresh housing ideas for a new generation.

Here’s our founding statement:

Millennials are living different. We are trading stability for experience. We are seeking community more than luxury. We are delaying marriage, career tracks and all other forms of settling down. We are putting in the work to actually realize the graduation cliches: following our dreams, building the future, living an authentic life, and having a purpose greater than ourselves.

If we want to keep living different, though, we’re going to have house different.The rent is too damn high. The community spirit we felt on our college campuses is much harder to find as a twenty-something in the city. Going off grid — let alone moving to a rural area — seems too out of reach. And a McMansion in the exurbs isn’t our style.

Fortunately, this mismatch — between our changing lifestyles and limited, outdated and expensive housing options — has led to a renewed interest in housing innovation.  The tiny house movement has taken the internet by storm.  People are startingurban dorms to keep rent low and community spirit high. Airstreams are making a comeback.  Homeless prevention is beingrethought.  We want to spur and organize such ideas.

The Millennial Housing Lab is an action lab founded 11701154_1605481933056020_6378485290407082923_nby Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and Harvard Design School students with the mission ofdeveloping and realizing fresh housing ideas for a new generation. Our work focuses on all sides of the housing experience: architecture, neighborhood design, financing,regulation and community-building.

We are a lab devoted to both thought and action.  On the thought side, we aim to host a vibrant conversation about Millennial housing through our blog, email bulletin, events, conferences and publications.  On the action side, we aim to incubate and launch various design-, business- and regulatory-related proofs of concept in the field of Millennial housing.

The first project of the Lab —, which helps grow the tiny house movement by building tiny houses, placing them on rural land and renting them out to city folk looking to unplug and test-drive tiny house living — launches this week.