(TMU) — No doubt some of us have thought about getting away from it all to live our lives off grid with loved ones, perhaps on a desert island where we could escape it all with a close circle of those who are nearest and dearest to us.
For four environmentalist couples who’ve been best friends for over 20 years, they’ve come up with an even better plan for where to retire—they pooled their money to build a small eco-town comprised of tiny sustainable cabins facing the Llano river near Austin, Texas.
In addition to helping the couples see each other more often, which had been difficult when they lived in the city, the couples hope that their new home on the rough landscape can unite functionality with beauty.
Fred Zipp, who will be living at the settlement with his wife Jodi, commented:
“This is a magical place, but it’s arid.
We’re doing what we can to reserve as much water as possible for the native trees and grasses. Fortunately, they’re beautiful.”
The cabins, designed by San Antonio-based architect Matt Garcia, cost roughly $40,000 each and are meant to be a retreat that is sensitive to the limited water resources of a region locked in a drought affecting the entire state, according to Garden & Gun. The couples have named their settlement the “Llano Exit Strategy.”
To keep prices low, the interiors of the home were built using lightly sanded and barely finished plywood. The reflective walls and insulated windows keep the cabins cool during the summer by reflecting outside heat. The roofs are slanted, or cantilevered in a “butterfly” style, to capture up to 50,000-gallons of rainwater in large barrels or cisterns that will keep the property irrigated.
The cabins themselves are mainly meant to be sleeping quarters for the families, so Garcia also designed and built an ultramodern, 1,500-square-foot common area devoted to entertainment and cooking.
The Zipps and their friends went all-out in filling the communal kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances ranging from a commercial-style range to an oversized clear-glass refrigerator, as well as a black granite countertop lined with steel stools and a wine rack on both sides. The island will also separate the kitchen from the communal dining and living room where they plan to entertain guests.
The group has also built a small guest bedroom fitted with bunk beds, as well as a big pine porch with octagonal wooden picnic tables where they can sip on their margaritas or dine outdoors during the sunset.
In hopes to make the most of the natural beauty surrounding them along the Llano, the buildings are each located in such a manner as to prevent them from obstructing one another’s views.
“It’s like a Disney movie out here … We have hare, bobcat, deer, and all kinds of birds. As we spend more and more time here, we find more and more.”
The four couples still have plenty of work to do before their retirement at the Llano Exit Strategy is entirely ready. However, the group is more than pleased with how the property is shaping up, and they are looking forward to spending their retirement in their little getaway overflowing with friendship.