Bestie Row: Friends For 20 Years Build a Block of Tiny Houses

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You adore your bestie….but could you picture sharing a living space or vacation home with him or her? Well, four couples in Austin, Tex. took that idea even one step further and built “Bestie Row”, although the owners prefer to dub it “The Llano Exit Strategy.”

bestie row exterior

And so Garcia came back with the answer: a row of 350 square feet metal-sided cabins along with a 1,500-sq.-ft. common area for all the couples to share. While the industrial-style (as a nod to the farms and their accompanying grain elevators in Texas) individual cabins are designed with the couples in mind to live privately, the common space is home to a commercial-size range oven and oversized refrigerator for more communal style living.

Condensed Living Spaces

While they sound unique, these cabins in fact fit in with the global macro home trend of people opting for more condensed living spaces. Using a smaller environmental footprints, small homes — some of which are even built out of former shipping containers or are like New York’s micro apartments which can be anywhere from 250 to 500 square feet for the entire space — use design to maximize a homeowner’s needs and make the space feel like a comfortable place to live. This might include building in clever design features such as stairs which double as drawers for storage or installing loft beds with desks and shelving underneath or even bringing back the old fold-down Murphy bed concept. 

bestie row house interior

While recessionary times do make homeowners think about what they truly need to be happy, this may also be spurred on by environmental concerns over sustainable living. And in Llano, resource efficiency is built right in. The “butterfly” roofs for example are built on a slant to collect precious rainwater in large metal cisterns behind the houses for reuse. The homes, selected by the Llano river so the couples could be close to nature, are also sprayed with a heavy-duty insulating foam to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Each home contains a bathroom, a bed and a small kitchenette and are lined up side by side so each couple can enjoy the country view.

Retirement Planning?

So why is it called the Llano Exit Strategy? For now, the homes are acting as treasured vacation spots and the couples have yet to determine whether they’ll move there full-time.The couples, who’ve been friends for more than 20 years, got together to buy a piece of land next to Texas’ Llano River with the intention of building a series of homes for the friends to share. They employed the help of local architect Matt Garcia to help make their dream happen of creating a sustainably designed and built shared living space along the riverside.

bestie row river

 

All photos credit: Alexander Stross

 

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