RE: Common House costs
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 00:23:39 -0700 (MST)
The Sharingwood Commonhouse is 2200 square feet and cost about $130,000. We
did about 60% of the constuction ourselves. Its the great hall model, mostly
one big room, with a kitchen on one side, and kid pit (lowered kids area), a
pantry and two bathrooms, plus a small basement storage. The dining and
lounge space are on the end opposite the kitchen. By doing the building work
ourselves we cut the cost in half or more. It took us about a year, and I
still have fond memories of working with my neighbors on several aspects of
it. Would do it again in fact. But then I am not afraid to work hard and get
dirty. Perhaps others recall the experience with less enthusiasm?

The building is roughly a rectangle, 28 X 62, with a bump out for the
scullary and furnace room which is outside accessed only. We are a community
of 40 adults and 28 kids currently and the building is used for community
meals and meetings, parties and social gatherings. We also host other events
such as home school coops, communities gatherings, etc. There are several
things that would be better done differently, the ceiling is reflective wood
which makes the building acoustically loud, the dishwasher is an under the
counter model which hurts your back and gets you wet, the lighting in the
kitchen could stand an upgrade,and the kid pit was designed for a dozen kids
and we have 28 and in the winters their noise is pretty loud. However, this
is behavioral and could be solved if we wanted to.

Since we each live in our own, custom designed homes, we have smaller needs
for commonspace, mostly just a bigger place to meet and eat than any of our
homes could accomodate. There was no interest in guest rooms or laundry. Our
commonhouse was designed and built after several families had lived together
for several years. It is a possibility we may do some remodel work on it and
add a wing but that is a ways in the future I suspect.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communties Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time


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