Having close friends is the best! They are the people you have fun with — the people you go on adventures with, turn to in tough times, and grow with throughout your life. Sometimes we have best friends from when we are very young, while other times we gain best friends very quickly later in life. Some friendships just click.
The question is, if you could live close to your best friends all the time, would you? That’s what four couples who have been friends for over 20 years did in the middle of nowhere just outside Austin, Texas. They have all felt a special connection to one another for many years and for them, just living in the same town wasn’t enough. They created what they call the “Llano Exit Strategy” (pictures below), where they built a row of tiny homes, one for each couple.
After they purchased land along the Llano river in Texas, they initially thought of building one big house to share. They later figured out that even the closest friends need private space and alone time enough that living in the same house wasn’t the way to go. Since they were all fans of the tiny house movement, building a row of tiny houses for themselves was the way to go!
“We’re going to be grey-haired friends,” they said, which makes this move something that will ensure awesome times in their near future!
I have often wondered myself, “Could I live just as comfortably as I do now in a tiny home?” I loved the idea from the minute I saw it but wondered if it was something I could truly do long-term. Well, I got a bit of a taste of that just recently when I took a trip to British Columbia.
I had the chance to stay in what was like a tiny home. Although not on wheels or set on its own like a standard tiny home would be, this place was laid out in virtually the exact same way and was totally sectioned off from the house. Try not to picture it like a bachelor pad or apartment, as it wasn’t, it was very much like a tiny home just attached to a house.
Upon entering, it was immediately apparent that everything you needed was right there in front of you; you could see the entire space and it was well-designed. Since we were in a naturally picturesque area of British Columbia, Canada, I never even considered spending all of our time inside, as we had so much nature to enjoy. But even if inside time was all we could get in this place, I felt that I could have my quiet time, do work, socialize, and feel comfortable with ease.
I stayed with two other people in the home, but even if three of us had to live long-term in a house like that, we could have adjusted pretty easily.
The place had a bathroom with a full shower that functioned perfectly. There was a full kitchen with plenty of counter space, a stove, a big sink, and a full fridge. The sleep area was just a few steps from the kitchen and featured a double bed with a queen bed that was only a ladder’s climb up to the bunk above. There was even a small living space and tabletop area that allowed for multiple uses.
The few days I spent experiencing the home were certainly not enough to answer the question of whether or not I could live like that completely comfortably, but it gave me a good idea, and I can now say that I think that anyone could live in a similar fashion. Do I think it’s entirely ideal? Honestly, no, more space would be easier for a number of things. But we also don’t need a ton of space like many of us believe.
All of the images below are thanks to Alexander Stross.
The 4 couples asked for the assistance of architect Matt Garcia in designing their homes.
Their land along the Llano River, just outside of Austin, Texas.
One of the homes they built!
Each home is 400 sq. ft. and was about $40,000 to build.
The buildings were designed for low environmental impact and sustainability, like many other tiny homes.
The solar heat is dramatically reduced by galvanized metal siding and spray foam insulation, which also helps keep heat in during the winter.
The roofs are sloped to angle rainwater runoff into water catchment tanks. In this kind of climate, every drop counts!
The interiors of the homes are designed to look like a cross between modern and rustic. The corrugated sheathing gives the modern feel.
Image credits: Alexander Stross
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