Couple start their own commune where they eat homegrown food and help raise each other's kids
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A couple achieved their ‘escape to the country’ fantasy by starting their own commune with another couple, where they eat organically sourced food and run women’s retreats. Experience the commune in the video below:
Charlotte Knee-Zaska, 30, had always dreamed of building a home in the countryside and she finally made her dream a reality with her musician husband Max, 32.
Together they saved £47k over three years to buy nearly an acre of land in Offaly, Ireland in August 2017 and moved from their home in Dublin, Ireland, with their daughter, Iza, five, in tow.
“It was a bit over our budget but I really liked it, so we went to go and look,” Charlotte said.
“We fell in love with it as soon as we saw and made an offer of just over £47k which was all of our savings.
“Luckily we got it.”
The couple spent two years renovating a cottage that was already on the land by adding an extension with its own living areas to have another family join them.
Charlotte said: “It was quite a lot at first as I was still commuting to Dublin to work so we could get some money in to fix up our heating and stuff like that.”
During lockdown, Charlotte and Max managed to renovate the cottage by building an extension with four bedrooms, a kitchen and living area.
The countryside escape became a community when they welcomed their friends, James Smith, 32, a music producer, and Ffion Thomas, 31, a holistic therapist, in April 2021 along with their daughter Connie, now one.
Charlotte, a yoga teacher, said: “I’d always wanted to have a proper home as I was moving around so much as a kid.
“When we moved, it was a bit daunting at first as we had no heating, and the garden was just rubble and mud.
“Slowly with saving we’ve built up the garden and homes so we can live as a community with our friends.
Charlotte and Ffion started running private retreats to their community and run women’s circles once a month in a tipi in the garden.
“We do breath work and massages with them,” Charlotte added.
“The environment is so soothing, and I love living as a community.”
The two families help raise each other’s children, which gives Charlotte some alone time. “It’s great because I can get some peace and quiet while Ffion or James looks after the kids,” she said.
“I also know that they can run out and play in the garden and I don’t need to watch them.
“We have a slower pace of life and it’s great to live with your friends.”
Together, the families take care of a vegetable patch where they grow courgettes, kale, leeks, beetroot, squash and more.
During the summer they eat their homegrown food plus organic food from their local farmers.
“We have eggs from the chickens and try and become more and more self-sufficient as time goes on,” Charlotte said.
Charlotte intends to expand her community if she is able to buy more land.
“It would be lovely if we had more people to join us,” she said.