Long-time best friends of 30-years build a tiny town where they can grow old together

How would you like to spend your life after retirement?

A group of Texas couples decided to guarantee themselves a lifetime of group getaways almost 30 years ago when confronted with similarly hectic lifestyles and schedules.

The couples decided to establish a tiny town for themselves to be closer to each other and the environment.

Aerial view of the Llano river and the Llano Exit Strategy's tiny town.

Outside of Austin, Texas, they have built a community known as the “Llano Exit Strategy,” which consists of four tiny cottages facing the Llano River.

Over several glasses of wine and dinners, they discussed their choices, which ranged from purchasing a fleet of expensive Airstream trailers to buying a piece of land on the Texas coast, which is also costly and far, according to Outside.

They eventually evolved into a more practical bunch when settling down somewhere.

The tiny town built by friends who will retire together.

Three of the four couples resided in Austin, so their “exit strategy” had to be within 90 minutes of the city, or visiting and keeping up would be inconvenient.

The living area must be spacious for the four couples to spend as much time together as possible, but they also need their bedrooms and baths and finally, it has to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

The tiny cottages at the Llano Exit Strategy

According to Jodi Zipp, who co-led the search with her husband, Fred, they wanted a place where they could spend lots of time together eating, drinking, and hanging out, but also providing solitude and separation when folks needed to go away from the gang.

Meanwhile, the tiny-house movement was gaining traction in states like Vermont, California, and Colorado.

Miniature houses, usually less than 1,000 square feet, were glamorized online and subsequently erected in real life, fueled by the 2008 recession and a less-is-more approach to living spaces.

Interior view of the tiny cottage

It was a happy coincidence when, in March 2011, the group bought 10 acres of land on the Llano River and consulted architect Matt Garcia to discuss potential plans.

Garcia offered a tiny town of small, environmentally friendly cottages, suggesting that only some things must be bigger in Texas.

The Commons building of the tiny town

“Everything just clicked,” says Garcia. “I mean, there are only so many ways to arrange a queen-size bed, loveseat, and bathroom, so we had the basic concepts in hours. You can move quickly with these kinds of projects and have a lot of fun.”

Each of the 400-square-foot tiny homes, which cost about $40,000, was made to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

Living area of the Commons building with tv and comfy sofa

They have reflective walls to block off the summertime Texan desert heat, slanted roofs with water barrels that can hold up to 5,000 gallons of rainwater, and unique insulated windows, Bored Panda noted.

Plywood is used for the interiors since it is affordable and creates a cozy and spacious feel.

Commons building's extra room with two double deck beds.

Along with the cottages is the 1,500-square-foot commons building, which features a gourmet kitchen and dining area with Bosch appliances, a 60-inch Satellite TV, wi-fi, a bunkroom, a full bath, and comfy living room, a massive Wolf stove, a large wooden table from Restoration Hardware.

The huge wooden table at the Commons building.

A guest room is also available in the Commons building for anyone who may come along on any given weekend.

The tiny town, “Llano Exit Strategy,” is now available for rent for families and friends’ vacations via Airbnb when the couples are not using it.

With four modest cottages and a Commons building, the Llano River provides a tranquil refuge for a party.

Outdoor area of the tiny town's Commons building with pool and a picnic table.

The tiny town is excellent for hosting large groups of people, whether for a family get-together or a business convention. The Commons is a one-of-a-kind area because it provides both public and private spaces.

Each tiny house has a full bathroom, accommodating up to four guests.

The tiny cottage's two queen size beds.

Guests can use everything, including the kitchen, the laundry room, the kayaks, the canoes, the outdoor shower, and any of the four campfires when there is no burn ban.

The “Llano Exit Strategy” went viral.

The spacious bathroom in tiny cottage.

“All the attention was a surprise but also an affirmation,” says Jodi. “It made us realize how many people really love the idea of having a dedicated place where you can spend time with your friends as you get older.”

Meanwhile, tons of emails and phone calls have come to Matt’s architecture firm from people who also want a tiny town or something similar for their groups of friends.

Closer view of the cottages at the tiny town.

On the other hand, Jodi’s basic advice to young people who hope to shape their realities one day is to plan, save money, look at many different places, and agree on a price range and a shared vision.

“Always be honest with your friends,” she says. “If you can successfully navigate everyone’s ideas for what this can be, this kind of project can be an amazing experience and the perfect way to stay connected.”

Take a tour at the “Llano Exit Strategy” below:

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