Too Big, Too Small, Just Right: Addison Godine ’07 Presents Tiny House Movement

Surrounded by towering trees, a tiny cabin sits in the middle of the woods. Located two hours north of Boston, The Clara features a full kitchen and living area suitable for a weekend getaway and is one of three tiny houses built by the company, Getaway.

Getaway is a Boston-based startup that Addison Godine ’07 has been working with for a year and a half. Last Thursday evening, Godine presented to a full house in the Addison Learning Gallery on the rising Tiny House trend which Getaway focuses on.

Getaway builds tiny house cabins around Boston for people who want to get away from city life on weekend retreats. They currently have three tiny houses: The Clara, The Lorraine, and The Ovida. Each house, located in the New Hampshire woods, features minimalistic, clean architecture, all-natural materials, and plenty of natural light.

According to the company’s website, the Tiny House movement “includes smaller houses, but it also means a simpler life, being friendlier to the environment, financial security, self-sufficiency, and lots of adventure!”

“Getaway is really just about appreciation for the natural environment in cabins in the woods with its beautiful, ‘Instagram-able’ things. There was no detail too tiny in the construction process,” says Godine.

As Godine explained in his presentation, the 1950s and 60s saw an immense rise in the construction of suburban houses, a trend known as the “motorcar suburbs.” The houses kept growing in size and mortgages, leading to the recent housing bust. The tiny houses built by Getaway are typically 8 feet by 20 feet long structures and were created in response to the ever-growing and expansive housing market.

“I think [the visitors are] pretty split between people who want to try out tiny house living, maybe it’s a couple [who’s] thinking of building one. Or it’s also couples looking to get out of the city for a weekend and this is just a really easy, fairly affordable way to do it,” said Godine.

To be “off the grid,” which is to be disconnected from a major municipal energy, water, and a power source, is a big part of the Tiny House experience. Godine addressed his clients’ conflicting desire to be physically off the grid for a few days without sacrificing their access to technology.

“Off-grid living certainly has its challenges, as anyone who has ever done it can tell you. But it can also give a sense of confidence, that you can live independently, to an extent, with the resources locally [or] immediately available to you,” said Godine.

The cabins are typically built in New Hampshire because it was the most readily available option, according to Godine.

“The houses are tucked back in the woods, with pretty good privacy. The sites are all off of dirt roads, and definitely feel ‘away.’ The exact locations must remain a secret, as this is part of the brand experience,” said Godine.

Godine was first exposed to architecture and the environment at Andover.

“[I] took a class with Mr. Domina, [Instructor in English], on the suburbs at Andover, which was a fantastic class, and [it] just got me thinking about our built environment… how we organize, sort of the way we live, and sort of what that means for how happy we are,” said Godine.

Godine continued, “I don’t know that students would be necessarily building a tiny house themselves but I do think it would be interesting to see, for instance, how students might conceive of redesigning a dorm room, or what their thoughts are on special organization of, like, the stacks in the library. Or like those little study nooks… little spaces that could manifest like that.”