Four couples who have been best friends for 20 years decided to build a community of tiny houses so they could all be each others’ neighbors. They bought land by the Llano river, about an hour outside of Austin, hired an architect and built four small vacation homes along with a communal space, and dubbed it the ‘Llano Exit Strategy’, or, ‘Bestie Row’.
It’s used as a space where the four couples can live, reconnect with nature and take a break from their busy lives in Austin. It is an environmentally conscious space where they can all work on minimizing their carbon footprints.
The tiny cabins, each of which cost roughly $40,000, were designed by architect Matt Garcia to be as sustainable as possible. They feature slanted roofs with water barrels that can hold up to 5,000 gallons of rainwater, reflective walls to keep out unwanted heat in the summer, and special insulated windows. The interiors are made of plywood, which keeps costs down and gives the homes a warm and spacious feel.
The group of friends spends time there as often as they can, and they all plan to retire on the property.
The families purchased the plot with the intention of building a shared house. However, after reading up on the tiny house movement, it was decided that smaller, individual houses and a shared building would be more suitable. The project consists of four tiny houses, which provide a private space for each family. A fifth building acts as a shared area for cooking, dining and group activities.
The cabins are 350 square foot in size (32.5 square meters), and each was customized to the needs of the owners. They all have an open plan layout featuring large windows to draw in natural light, and allowing the inhabitants to look out over the river.
To combat the Texan climate, the houses are insulated with spray foam and have large roof overhangs that reduce heat gain during the day. Rainwater run-off from the roof is collected and stored in large cisterns for later use. On the inside they’ve use plywood both structurally to brace the building, as well a finish material.
Towards the front of the cabins you’ll find the living area, this is followed by the bedroom, behind which there’s the bathroom. It’s a simple but effect design, finished with polished concrete floors and fir plywood walls. The overall effect is that of a warm, comfortable home.
In the bathroom they’ve included some recycled and re-purposed materials, like the towel rails, and toilet paper holders, which have been fashioned from pipe. Each of the houses were completed within the $40,000 budget. Not bad for a relatively low-impact, environmental home.