Re: Common House: Woulda Coulda Shoulda
From: Elizabeth Stevenson (tamgoddesshome.com)
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 11:37:01 -0600 (MDT)

----------
>From: pattymara [at] juno.com

> At Tierra Nueva, central CA coast, where we have been here now for three
> years next month.  A little backround info:  27 homes, 3000 sq. foot
> common house.
>
>> What are the least used areas of your commonhouse?
>
> This may sound surprising, but the dining room, the largest room (20 x
> 30), gets used 2 or 3 times a week for eating.  But spring, summer and
> fall we are often outside on the decks to eat.  It often feels cavernous
> (those high ceilings that architects love so much, which create a huge
> acoustic problem) and empty.  Mealtimes, it's used.  Othertimes not.  We
> do have large gatherings, plays, memorial services, and all business
> meetings there, so I guess it does get its share of use...but somehow it
> retains a sense of emptiness.  Go figure.  The other smaller rooms
> (kitchen, game room, media room, laundry,  office, pantry, guest rooms)
> all get their share of use, and more importantly, FEEL better, homier.

Another point to consider: we went to the extra expense of having the dining
room floor suspended over the concrete slab, something that's called a
"sprung floor". It means we can dance on the floor, and just plain walk,
without our feet getting sore. I have been in commonhouse dining rooms that
are built slab-on-grade, and they are very harsh.

Another point I always make about common houses, which I'll include again,
is that you need to design for accessibility. The law will tell you to put
in certain things, but try to imagine yourself or your friends in a
wheelchair or walker as you design the CH. You'll be glad you did.

--
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

tamgoddess [at] home.com
http://members.home.net/southsideparkcohousing
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