Green Acres: How We Downsized, Unplugged, and Stay Inspired
My husband and I have never been known to go with the flow. We like to push the boundaries and are attracted to challenge and adventure. This has led us to traveling around the world, moving 10 times in 18 years of marriage, collaborating on multiple film projects, founding Raven + Lily, adopting a daughter from China, and living in the heart of Hollywood on the Walk of Fame with our two kids.
So maybe its not a surprise that 2 years ago we sold our modern home in the heart of trendy Austin and bought 25 acres of pastures and woods just 30 minutes east of Austin. We felt the call of the wild and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We had a vision to build our long-term homestead as well as a boutique retreat for artists, families and sojourners. We wanted animals. We wanted to farm. We wanted to connect with nature and unplug from technology. And we wanted to share this experience with others.
Our beautiful plot of land is called Green Acres ...cause who were we kidding!? We were city folk that often resembled the old TV show; but, it was also literally "green acres", and we were wanting to learn to live a "green" lifestyle by being intentional in our all choices. We have also built our little boutique retreat using vintage items, reclaimed goods, and fair trade goods as much as possible (including Raven + Lily textiles and mid-century furniture for our decor).
It was raw land and we had a lot of work to do to clean it up. The first time either of us mowed grass was when we hopped on a tractor to mow the huge fields on our property. It was work for sure, but it was a dream. The romance and beauty of the land created an endless palette of possibility. Our vision to create an inspiring space to share with others continued to grow and guide us.
Then this past November we took the plunge and moved to our land the week of Thanksgiving. We sold 80% of our belongings in order to downsize and embrace living in a 1955 Spartan Mansion trailer. That's right. We live in less than 400 square feet, so in a sense we joined the tiny house movement, and its been liberating! It also is a great fit with our family's desire to slow down, buy less, be more thoughtful, enjoy slow food, and create slow fashion.
We also have a Lotus Belle yurt for guests inspired by my favorite places: Morocco and the African Savannah.
As well as the addition of a 1967 Airstream our 14 year sons uses as him "bedroom" filled with vintage games and cameras.
We have a lovely old barn they say belonged to LBJ, lots of nature trails in the surrounding woods, gorgeous sunsets, gobs of wildlife, and 2 mini donkeys named Donkey and Yoti (as in "Don Quixote"). We most recently added two alpacas named Laverne and Shirley (cause they are funny and one is a red head and the other a brunette).
A few weeks ago we officially launched Green Acres and invited all our Austin friends to join us. It was a grand celebration and huge mile marker for our family. Since then we have constant guests staying in our yurt and we plan to add additional yurts. We love hearing that our guests and visitors feel inspired when they visit. That makes my heart sing.
We really don't know what's next and that's ok. We're figuring things out one day at a time while also pursuing our passions with film and ethical fashion. Our kids are thriving and we look forward to having another family (dear friends in Austin) soon join us on the land with their kids. I guess that means we're starting our own commune. Just kidding. Well, maybe not. I warned you that we weren't conventional.
If you'd like to follow our journey of learning to live an intentional lifestyle, you can read the stories written by my husband on his heartfelt and humorous blog called "Stories About My Ass" (aka our mini donkeys).
You are invited to come stay with us. Unplug. Retreat and rest. It will be good for your soul. It's been good for ours.
Photo credit: Kate Zimmerman