Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
In the kind of world where we belong …
Those lyrics made famous by the Beach Boys ring true for four couples who are literally living in together in … well, maybe not the world … but at least the kind of neighborhood where they’d like to belong.
“Bestie Row” is a brand new neighborhood on the Llano River just outside Austin that comprises four 400 square foot homes popular with the “Tiny Home” movement, the trendy architectural and social effort that advocates living simply in small-footprint homes. The Lighter Side of Real Estate says that the couples initially considered living in one house, but ultimately decided to construct small, private living spaces and enjoy a shared 1,500 square foot community building with a kitchen, dining area, and space for guests and activities.
Bestie Row is just one example of modern-day group houses, where friends and strangers alike are sharing community spaces, whether they be in high-rise apartment buildings or self-created communes. The New York Times recently profiled friends from assorted generations who are gravitating toward living in the same building as friends, creating what the Times calls “the stuff of sitcoms,” like Friends and Seinfeld.
And Washington, D.C., developers SB-Urban and Rooney Properties are creating a trio of properties that, according to the Washington Post, center small, private living quarters around robust shared spaces, where residents interact daily in communal living rooms, eat together in shared dining rooms and bond over art exhibits and speaker series.
For me, the perks to living in close community with dear friends are appealing. Someone trustworthy to feed my cat when I’m on vacation? Check. Need to me watch your kids while you run an errand? No problem. Growing up and growing older in a neighborhood or building of my own design and filled with good people, thoughtful neighbors and fun times? Sign me up.
After all, as the Beach Boys say:
You know it’s gonna make it that much better
When we can say goodnight and stay together.
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.