Austin Group Builds Tiny Home Community


Four couples who had been best friends for 20 years decided they were going to trump living in the same town. No way were they going to let the business of life keep them from enjoying that special connection that they’d grown to love. So they decided to literally create their own “Bestie Row.” They all were fans of the tiny house movement, and decided to build their own little compound based around that idea.

Garcia drew on his childhood in Lubbock, Texas, for the cabins. "The large grain silos and grain elevators were so beautiful, extremely minimal and industrial," he says, a style that "fit perfectly for the Llano cabins."

And they're energy-smart as well: The cabins' cantilevered "butterfly" roofs funnel rainwater into collective cisterns, and they're insulated with a heavy-duty spray foam to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

This increase in popularity of tiny houses, and particularly the rapid increase in the number of both amateur and professional builders, has led to concerns regarding safety among tiny house professionals. In 2013, an Alliance of tiny house builders was formed to promote ethical business practices and offer guidelines for construction of tiny houses on wheels. This effort was carried on in 2015 by the American Tiny House Association. In 2015, the nonprofit American Tiny House Association was formed to promote the tiny house as a viable, formally acceptable dwelling option and to work with local government agencies to discuss zoning and coding regulations that can reduce the obstacles to tiny living.

One of the biggest obstacles to growth of the tiny house movement is the difficulty in finding a place to live in one. Zoning regulations typically specify minimum square footage for new construction on a foundation, and for tiny houses on wheels, parking on one's own land may be prohibited by local regulations against "camping." In addition, RV parks do not always welcome tiny houses. DIYers may be turned away, as many RV parks require RVs be manufactured by a member of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association "(RVIA)".

Tiny houses on wheels are considered RVs and not suitable for permanent residence, according to the RVIA. From RVBusiness, "The RVIA will continue to shy away from allowing members who produce products that are referred to as 'tiny houses' or 'tiny homes. (However, the RVIA does allow “tiny home” builders to join as long as their units are built to park model RV standards.)"

In 2014, the first "tiny house friendly town" was declared in Spur, Texas, however it was later clarified that a tiny house may not be on wheels but must be secured to a foundation.


Learn MORE at Lighter Side of Real Estate

To improve page loading speed, we have put the photo gallery for this article on the next page: view photo gallery.