Monday, November 9, 2015

Harvard"s Millennial Housing Lab thinks a tryout is in order for people toying
with radically downsizing their lives.
Its new "Getaway" project gives the
curious an opportunity to spend a night or two in one of three tiny houses and
get a real feel for the lifestyle before taking the plunge.
(AP Photo/Charles
Krupa)
CROYDON, N.H.
(AP) - 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."The
company, Getaway, has drawn visitors from afar who come to sample life in a
160-square-foot house before they dive headlong into the lifestyle."It"s a way
to test-drive tiny house living," said Jon Staff, the founder and CEO of
Getaway.
"We operate them a little bit like hotel rooms in the
woods."Across the country, more businesses are letting the curious try
out tiny living.
Caravan, a hotel in Portland, Oregon, offers six tiny houses
ranging from 84 to 170 square feet, for $145 a night."Related: I Quit My Job
and Built a Tiny House So I Can TravelDozens of tiny houses are available
through vacation rental websites, posted by their owners.Definitions vary, but
some say a tiny house is anything smaller t! han 400 square feet.
Advocates
tout the environmental and financial perks of tiny living.The Lentz couple,
from Pittsburgh, had been considering a major downsize for years.
It could
free them from the mortgage on their three-bedroom home."They could build the
house on wheels and take it anywhere.
By shedding some belongings, there would
be fewer distractions."Having a smaller living space allows you to be
more open to experiences, and to really enjoy your day to day life," said
Hilary, 27.But the couple had a few lingering questions.
Shane, 29, wondered
whether waterless toilets, a common feature in tiny houses, were odorless,
too.
They both worried about cooking in a tiny kitchen.
Hilary wanted to know
whether the coziness would fade to isolation.Getaway is the first project at
Harvard"s Millennial Housing Lab, a group of business, law and design students
exploring new housing ideas."Hilary Lentz, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and her husband
Shane leave the tiny house which they rented for a weekend in Croydon,
N.H.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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.
Backers of tiny living say the movement
is growing, and certain areas have become hotspots."Villages of little homes
have popped up in cities like Portland and Seattle.
Other cities have
considered relaxing their zoning rules to open the door for more tiny
houses.But industry experts say it"s hard to pinpoint actual numbers behind
the trend.
In an annual survey, the National Association of Realtors found
that the share of home buyers who opted for houses of less than 1,000 square
feet has stayed at about 1 percent for the past five years.Related: We Live in
a School Bus to Travel All the Time"The data is revealing that the tiny-sized
home is not what people will consider the American dream," said Lawrence Yun,
the association"s chief economist.He predicts that the growth of big cities
will fuel demand for smaller apartments and condos, but not stand-alone
houses.Either way, tiny houses have caught the public"s attention as the
subject of TV shows and documentaries.
Popular websites entice audiences to
ogle at small houses in bucolic landscapes.
Some cities are exploring tiny
houses as a tool to fight homelessness.The Lentz couple signed up for a rental
as soon as they heard online about Getaway.
They spent the weekend in a
wood-paneled house the size of a shipping container, powered by solar
panels.
The only water came from a 110-gallon tank.
Its composting toilet
required a spritz of water from a spray bottle after use."Our tiny houses are
a little bit simpler than the standard tiny house," Staff said."Related: Our
180 Square Foot Vacation Home Changed Our Lives"They"re rustic."During
their tryout, the Lentzes played board games and went hiking.
They built a
campfire and looked at the stars.
Despite their concerns, the cramped kitchen
had plenty of space to prepare a spaghetti dinner.
After warming up slowly,
the small propane heater eventually warded off the fall chill."It was
very! comfortable," Hilary said.
"I was pretty surprised.
I didn"t feel that
closed-in feeling, even up in the loft."By the end of their stay, Shane
wasn"t sold on the composting toilet.
But overall, they said, the trip
bolstered their decision to downsize."They"ve even chosen possible
designs.
The only obstacle now is the zoning in Pittsburgh, which can make it
tough to find space for a tiny home, they said."If we can find a place,"
Hilary said, "I don"t think there would even be a question about it."

BY
COLLIN BINKLEY
Associated Press
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

Let
World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us
on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram, and"Pinterest."Check out our original
adventure travel series A Broad Abroad."Harvard's Millennial Housing Lab
thinks a tryout is in order for people toying with radically downsizing their
lives.
Its new "Getaway" project gives the curious an opportunity to spend
a night or two in one of three tiny houses and get a real feel for the
lifestyle before taking the plunge.
"We operate them a little bit like hotel
rooms in the woods."Across the country, more businesses are letting the
curious try out tiny living.
Caravan, a hotel in Portland, Oregon, offers six
tiny houses ranging from 84 to 170 square feet, for $145 a night.  Related: I
Quit My Job and Built a Tiny House So I Can Travel Dozens of tiny houses are
available through vacation rental websites, posted by their owners.Definitions
vary, but some say a tiny house is anything smaller t! han 400 square
feet..They"ve even chosen possible designs.
The only obstacle now is the
zoning in Pittsburgh, which can make it tough to find space for a tiny home,
they said."If we can find a place," Hilary said, "I don"t think there
would even be a question about it."

BY COLLIN BINKLEY
Associated
Press
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

Let World traveling club Travel
inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on"Facebook,"Twitter, Instagram,
and"Pinterest."Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad
Abroad."Harvard's Millennial Housing Lab thinks a tryout is in order for
people toying with radically downsizing their lives.
Its new "Getaway"
project gives the curious an opportunity to spend a night or two in one of
three tiny houses and get a real feel for the lifestyle before taking the
plunge.
"We operate them a little bit like hotel rooms in the
woods."Across the country, more businesses are letting the curious try
out tiny living.
Caravan, a hotel in Portland, Oregon, offers six tiny houses
ranging from 84 to 170 square feet, for $145 a night.  Related: I Quit My Job
and Built a Tiny House So I Can Travel Dozens of tiny houses are available
through vacation rental websites, posted by their owners.Definitions vary, but
some say a tiny house is anything smaller t! han 400 square feet.

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