Don't delay common house
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 11:33:39 -0500
At RoseWind Cohousing, a lot-development model, for various apparently 
unavoidable reasons, we have delayed our common house. We hope to get it 
started next year, ten years after the group first started, 6 years after 
we got the Planned Unit Development approved by the City, and at a point 
when 12 of our 20 families already are in houses on site. 

I don't recommend delaying the common house! I wish we had built it 
before a single home went in. We have lost a lot of community-building 
that would have happened there, and perhaps would not almost all have 
built largish homes with guest rooms, laundries, etc. I also think we 
would not still have half a dozen unsold lots if the common house were in.

I suggest you look at a phased common house as a compromise. Get a space 
closed in. Let the furnishing, painting, etc happen as it becomes 
possible. Probably a lot of furnishing can happen as people move and have 
extras. Once people are in the middle of their own building and-or moving 
projects, a lot of energy is taken up that is unavailable for common 
house creation. Consider a common house that uses whatever level of 
volunteer labor you have available-=--- stucco is a good example of an 
expensive process that becomes inexpensive when you have it done as a big 
work party. Ener-grid blocks? Straw bale? But get something in place if 
you possibly can. It is important to form the habit of using the common 
house, and not just tack it on later.

Lynn Nadeau
In Port Townsend WA, where we are happily enjoying that two more families 
have completed and moved into on-site homes, and where a handsome 
strawbale house is rapidly taking shape.
Common house committee is working with group-approved floor plans and 
budget, ironing out the details prior to submitting for a building permit 
by year-end. Weekly potluck picnics are well-attended, and include 
cabbage, greens, apples, beans, cucumbers, and potatoes grown on our 
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