For most people, settling down and retiring is the goal. But have you imagined yourself turning that dream into reality with your best friends? Four couples from Austin, Texas, have been best friends for 20 years. They made a life-changing decision when they decided to make their own neighborhood of sustainable houses nearby Llano river.
The four pairs called their small settlement the “Llano Exit Strategy.”
Each cabin cost approximately $40,000 and was designed by the Texas-based architect Matt Garcia who focuses on single-family residential work of various sizes. The majority of Garcia’s design featured simple and modernist design approach on-site planning, structure, massing, and use of materials—and you can see these characteristics in the beautiful Llano Exit Strategy neighborhood.
The four environmentalist couples came up with an idea to spend the rest of their lives living beside each other while putting Mother Earth’s need as top priority. When they were living in the city, it was hard for the whole gang to see each other amidst the metropolis’ commute. Now, their beautiful home stands mightily, enabling them to see each other as much as possible.
“This is a magical place, but it’s arid,” said Fred Zipp, one of the couples living in the sustainable settlement. “We’re doing what we can to reserve as much water as possible for the native trees and grasses. Fortunately, they’re beautiful.”
The $40,000 sustainable cabins 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.” At first glance, the Llano Exit Strategy looks minimalistic. The roofs are slanted in a cantilevered position. You will see barrel-like reservoirs that can capture up to 50,000 gallons of rainwater. The cisterns helps maintain the property’s irrigation.
Inside, you’ll see the reflective walls and insulated windows to maintain the house’s temperature during the blistering summers of Texas. Garcia built the cabins with an ultramodern motif. The 1,500-square-foot common area is devoted to entertainment, lounging, and cooking. Zipp, together with the other three families, filled the kitchen with commercial-style appliances.
The overhead clear-glass refrigerator stands in the kitchen’s corner while the black granite countertop and steel stools are fixed in the center. The island has a wine rack on both sides. It separates the kitchen and the dining area. The cabins, despite their size, can also be conducive for accommodating visitors. Each house has a small guest bedroom with bunk beds. Outside, there is a big porch with wooden picnic tables.
The Llano Exit Strategy looks majestic during the daytime. It has plenty of windows allowing an ample amount of sunlight brightens up the room, thus saving energy. But when nighttime strikes, the cabins become even more enchanting. The plywood-covered interiors and yellowish lighting give the houses a warm glow.
Garcia still needs more time to finish the families’ dream home. Zipp and his friends made a bold decision to live in a sustainable shelter away from the city. But their newfound sanctuary is exactly what they need—a place to retire where they’re close to nature while enjoying the company of their best friends.
Take a sneak peak of the families’ sustainable cabins by watching the video below: