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This Family Decided to Get Away From It All by Building a Skyscraper in the Woods

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When city living started to feel oppressive, they decided to do something about it

Recently, Flipped managed to hack into the database of the highly secretive architectural firm Willard (+) TRELLIS and get a look at some of their recent projects. Over the coming week, we will be sharing those projects with you.

Lifelong city dwellers Chris and Leslie Martino never intended to leave the urban lifestyle behind, but after the birth of their second child, everything started to change for them.

"It got really cramped," says Chris. "And we just decided, enough is enough. We didn't want our kids to grow up like we did, without ever climbing a tree, or experiencing nature in any meaningful way."

So Chris and Leslie made a bold decision—they both quit their high paying jobs and used their savings to move into the woods and build their family a modest 52-story skyscraper. And since they didn't have to deal with city building codes, they were able to customize their new home to their exact specifications, with an indoor pool, fitness center, 24-hour doorman and concierge, lounge, and business center.

"The most surprising thing is that we don't even miss the city," Leslie said. "It's incredible how quickly we adapted to a more rustic lifestyle. Sometimes I'll be tossing my car keys to the valet and I'll think, oh my god, this is exactly what I would have been doing back in my old life. Some things never change."

Best of all, Willard (+) TRELLIS designed the entire building with environmental consciousness in mind, installing solar panels on the roof deck and energy-efficient windows throughout. The tower is LEED Gold certified, which means that the Martinos can feel good about giving back to the environment that they have chosen to make their home.

Of course, forest life isn't completely perfect. An owl has illegally taken up residence on the Penthouse B terrace, and the Martinos have had to spend countless hours talking to lawyers, trying to figure out how to evict him. They say they have no regrets, though.

"I don't know if we'll be here forever," says Leslie. "Who knows—in a few years, our family could get even bigger, and then we'd need to expand to somewhere with a little more space."

"Also, the schools are crap," she added.