Re: Common House: Woulda Coulda Shoulda
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 23:01:02 -0600 (MDT)
 At RoseWind Cohousing (Port Townsend WA) we've already been living on 
site for years, and some of our members date back twelve years, so we are 
coming to our 2800 sq ft CH with a lot of human community already in 
place. But for the following, note that we've only been *using* our 
recently-built CH for a couple of months: but it's already clear that we 
did some things that were a good idea.

Things we already love:

TOUCHES OF WHIMSY- Bright warm colors, colored bottles inset in the wall, 
curvy little niches, silly birds painted on a bathroom wall, 
scrap-granite windowsills, a tiny crawl-through "door" from the hall to 
the kid room, a mural that includes all of us, as well as the local flora 
and fauna; a few silly "gargoyles" tucked here and there. 

COMMERCIAL COUNTER-TOP DISHWASHER - with our thrift-shop and donated 
Corelle dishes, the clean up is FAST. 

Kitchen is open to the dining room, which we like, and also has a 
pass-through window to the front foyer, so people coming into the CH get 
a place to look into the kitchen, even though it's down a hall and around 
a corner. 

A built-in vacuum cleaning system, with hose slots in various rooms, so 
we don't have to haul around a separate machine. 

Having a "beverage bar" in the dining room, by the kitchen. 

Small rectangular IKEA birch-veneer tables that can be combined in 
various numbers for more people together. (Though my family-heirloom 
round oak dining table off in the corner also gets used a lot, to my 

Marmoleum floors in the kitchen and kid room. 
OUR BIGGEST MISTAKE had nothing to do with design, but was a mistake in 
our hiring procedures. MOST of our work was done by licensed contractors, 
who are covered by the Dept of Labor and Industry ("Workman's Comp"). BUT 
one bit of work was done by a fellow, though a professional at his work, 
whose license had expired (turns out) and who was working for straight 
cash. An injury insurance claim cost us thousands of dollars in legal 
costs, and could have wiped us out financially. (I'll do a separate post 
titled Liability when I have the final facts.) BE CERTAIN you have L&I, 
or your state's equivalent, for ANYONE working on your projects, be they 
contractors, day laborers, or volunteers. 

Oh, and we should have branded our flock of pink plastic flamingos, which 
seems to have been spirited away by petty thieves, or maybe they just 
Migrated? If anyone sights them passing overhead, drop us a line... 
Awkward to admit, but we miss them!

But I digress into non-CH whimsy. 
See you at the conference,

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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