6 couples pool money to start compound with ‘built-in friends’

Everyone has their friends’ group. You might even rent a summer house together. But what if that vacation could last forever?

That’s what six pals in Tennessee wanted — so they built a private compound where they live with their families.

The six couples, friends since high school, purchased 32 acres of farmland, split it into plots of 5 and 6 acres, and built houses for each family.

“We’re a group of people who’ve always dreamed of the same thing, the idea of building a community on land where you have your own space off the beaten path,” Kindle Hughes, one of the pals, told the Tennessean.

“Each home is their own — and we have built-in friends.”

The plan was hatched a couple of years ago when one friend, Angela Dulany, brought up the idea of the private community. The group checked out a large plot of land for sale in Hendersonville, and decided to take the leap. It worked out well financially to buy the property together and split the cost of placing utilities such as electric and plumbing at the property.

Now, much like any other subdivision, the friends co-own the mile-long private driveway and have an agreement to share the upkeep responsibilities.

The community is close-knit — but the subdivision is spacious enough for privacy.Kindle Hughes

While the styles vary a bit, every family has a lot of privacy even with friends next door. “I have a pond. One family built a gorgeous barn and has two horses,” Hughes said. “I see them everyday from my kitchen window.”

All the space also comes in handy for the friends’ kids — many of which attend school together.

“We have tons of room to spread out,” said Hughes. “Seventeen children. It’s like their own big playground.”

Of course, this all seems idyllic. But Hughes admitted there were some logistical hoops to jump through.

Reality TV producers have even contacted the couples about doing a show.Kindle Hughes

“It had its challenges. It wasn’t glamorous. It was a lot of work, but once the dust settled, we could all look back and say it was worth it,” she said. “You’re mixing six families’ interest, six families’ concerns, six families’ money. That’s why you have to be careful who you do it with.”

Word of the compound got out, and Robin Lyons, the agent for the seller of the land, revealed she got calls from TV producers and other people interested in creating a similar setup.

“For a while, my phone kept blowing up, a surge of phone calls. People thought I was a family-and-friend-compound expert,” Lyons told the Tennessean.

“I have a list of about 30 people. People who’ve heard what they’re doing say they want to do it.”

Whether you call it a commune, a compound or a community, Hughes said that it was about buying a lifestyle and a vision of how they wanted to live.

“We’re not trying to be a commune, but create a community where they (the children) can romp and play,” she said. “We (adults) may have more fun than the kids.”

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