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Our Story

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

Austin Drill: Co-founder

Austin Drill received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida's Rollins College, and moved to New York City to begin a career in the real estate arena. He soon became a founding partner in a firm specializing in property acquisition and restoration. In 2005, he migrated west to continue his real estate education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he turned his focus to sustainable development. He began studying with The Cob Cottage Company, Eco-Nest, the Quail Springs Permaculture Design Organization, Solar Energy International, the Zopilote Association, The Canelo Project, Project Bona Fide, and the Natural Building Colloquium. After several years of exploring progressive building techniques, Austin and his wife moved to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, where they put their learnings into practice and thus, Casa de Tierra was born.

Michelle Marino Drill: Co-founder

Michelle earned a degree in English Literature from Rollins College, and worked as a Producer at Vogue magazine in NYC. She left publishing and moved westward to parlay her print experience into a production career in film and television in Los Angeles, California. In 2005, she and her husband made their first trip to Nicaragua, and fell swiftly in love with the vibrancy and authenticity of San Juan del Sur. They slowly transitioned their lives to Central America, where they dedicated their time to establishing Casa de Tierra, believing that sustainable development answers the need for effective, efficient, and affordable housing.

Team Players:

Jordan Marín Rodríguez
Jordan has worked with Casa de Tierra since its inception, and has combined his knowledge of conventional construction with our alternative adaptations.

Read his story here:

Modesto García López
Modesto is an accomplished carpenter and mason who has honed his skills over the last twenty years, and lends his talent to our projects.

Yelmer Calderon Garcia
Yelmer began working with Casa de Tierra in 2009, and has moved up the ranks from building assistant to experienced and trusted leader.

Our local crew
Our team is dedicated to realizing the potential of Casa de Tierra's progressive ideas, and they are instrumental to our success.


Casa de Tierra Team
Casa de Tierra team