Tiny homes have become more and more popular across the country over the last few years and Central Texas is no exception.
In fact nestled away in eastern Travis County, away from all the high rises and traffic, is a tiny home community. The people who live there know each other well and once in awhile invite guests to experience tiny home living and see if its right for them.
Reba Parker has lived in her tiny home for about seven months. "I've always wanted to live small," she says, "I love living with less things. I have everything I need and nothing more."
Parker moved to Texas from Charleston, South Carolina. Her kids moved out and she didn't a big home anymore so she decided to downsize. Big time.
"I don't miss anything that I gave up. There's not a day when I wake up and I say I wish I would've kept this. I love my house and the objects I have are just what I need," Parker says.
Parker is just one of the 30 residents at Austin Live|Work. it's a community that rests away from the city lights and sounds and residents say it's not just a place to go home and sleep.
"We have communal meals. We plan projects together. It's what gels people together," says Austin Live|Work co-founder Marnie Khaw.
Khaw came from a gerontology background and says that research shows that people live happy and healthier lives in a community. So she decided she'd start one.
"Coming from Silicon Valley, I decided to invest everything I have into this. Buying a piece of land then all the members of our community, they would know that they are in a sure foundation and we are not going away and we are here for the community," Khaw says.
Residents in Austin Live|Work are like minded and open people and have to be open to interacting with their neighbors. Everyone who lives there also has to sign a membership and community agreement. They also have to go through a background check.
Looking around at the homes it can be amazing at how many things can fit inside them. It's almost like a big game of Tetris. A loft bedroom over a bathroom and kitchen? Makes sense.
Many live by the motto there's a place for everything and everything in its place.
Austin Live|Work says it chose tiny homes because it gives residents the flexibility to move around and come back. Another reason the tiny home trend continues to be popular is due to affordability. Many like them because they can own the tiny homes outright without having to pay a mortgage.
But for Reba Parker it all comes down to community. "Everybody is very open and accepting and we help each other out. If somebody has a need, there's always someone that can reach out."
And Parker says she highly recommends it.
"You really have to have the desire to live smaller and if you do, go for it," Parker says.
This is the group's first project but they'd like to venture out across the country. Some of the tiny homes can be rented out on AirBnB for those who want to test it out before fully committing to one.
You can get more info here.