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Go Minimalist in Marfa

Build your own creative oasis in the desert.

It began with a pipe dream shared by so many urban creatives: In the 1970s, artist Donald Judd decided he’d had enough of the New York scene. He wanted to get as far away from the city as possible and concentrate on his minimalist creations, so he bought an Army base in a dusty West Texas outpost called Marfa.

The Chinati Foundation, now located on 340 acres of land, is filled with Donald Judd’s minimalist art. Photos by  Laura Miner.

Decades later, this little town in the middle of nowhere no longer feels out-of-the-way. Over time, it’s become an oasis for creative people seeking a respite from the pressures of city living. From artists to writers to film directors to vegan chefs, Marfa has become an increasingly popular weekend escape for the young and hip, a sort of Brooklyn in the desert. A trip to Marfa usually starts with a pilgrimage to Judd’s Army base-turned-art installation. Now run by the Chinati Foundation, it features a hundred of Judd’s signature boxes, as well as installations by several other major artists.

The fake Prada Marfa store you’ll pass on the three-hour drive into town from El Paso was created by a pair of Berlin-based artists as a reminder to ditch your pretensions at the city limits.

Say you spend a weekend in Marfa, perhaps at one of its either retro or modernist hotels. Say you fall in love with the flat, dusty spaces, the vegan-friendly restaurants and food trucks that open or close on a whim, the curated shops and boot stores, and the saloons that draw in renowned bands, particularly for music festivals like Marfa Myths. Say you want to build a vibrant and creative life far from the chaos of the big city. Then maybe this modular home about a 10-minute drive from the center of town is the place for you.

At $325,000, this 1,024-square foot pad has tons of open space and natural light.

Inside, you can literally create and design your own refuge.

Made of insulated panels and with cement floors, the eco-friendly materials stay cool in hot temperatures.

Everything in the interior, with the exception of the bath, can be removed and reconfigured to accommodate your vision.

Minimalist in Marfa

The neutral surroundings allow new owners to make their mark quickly, simply by adding new colors to the space.

You can also think about building on the five acres of land that comes along with it.

If you want to use the existing property as a studio space and build a home next to it—or vice versa—you can.

This is a spot for aspiring pioneers and adventurers. The property even has its own well with a solar pump, allowing you to escape the grid.

Not beautiful to behold, but a beautiful concept.

Of course, if you’re seeking something a little more polished, there’s this beautifully finished adobe bungalow in town, listed at the same price. Or, if you want a lot more house, there’s this converted adobe dance hall with birch floors and ceilings. Either way, there’s plenty of room to spread your creative wings in Marfa.

Is Marfa on your bucket list? What’s another creative town you love? Comment below with your experience.