Re: children's playrooms
From: Dahako (
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2004 16:53:20 -0700 (PDT)
Hi -

I've lived in one cohousing neighborhood (Eno Commons in Durham, North 
Carolina, 22 units) and am now part of Eastern Village Cohousing in Silver 
Maryland, 56 units.  

In Eno Commons, we planned one generic children's playroom before we knew how 
many kids would be in the neighborhood - I think there were 5 or 6 kids under 
7 years old in the group at the time of the design work.  By the time we 
moved in, Eno Commons had more than 20 kids under 10 years old. I think the 
neighborhood has even more kids now, but the age range is broadening out as the 
original kids approach their teen years and new kids join the community. The 
furnishings of the kids room went through phases, but minimal furnishing 
in the least destruction.  Besides, the kids wanted to play with each other 
more than they wanted stuff.  

We had several play areas outside, suitable for various ages and many of the 
adults encouraged the kids to play outside whenever the weather permitted 
(rain and high heat are both issues in the South).  Not long ago, the group 
reprogrammed the common spaces, turning the previous meditation room (which has 
carpeting up the walls) into the toddler room, the previous kids room into more 
a living room, and the previous living room into a kind of low-rent living 
room suitable for pre-teen hanging out.  Last I heard, the group is also 
planning to add a treehouse and maybe improve the meadow for safer use as a 

In Eastern Village, we have far fewer children - we're nearly sold out and 
about 10 of the 56 households have a kid or two and the age range is newborn to 
16+ years old.  We programmed a kids room that seems to be heading for 
under-10 use.  We have a toddler area in the courtyard, a playlot on the roof, 
and a 
good-sized game room (to include a pool or ping pong table).  There are also 
school yards and a national park not too far away for older kids.

Still, the kids will find their own ways to enjoy the spaces.  They always 
do.  I'm pretty sure my two plan to practice their jujitsu in the great hall 
my teenager will definitely want to check the boundaries for use of the guest 
rooms. . .

Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
Where we are just over a month from completion of construction! Oh, the 
bittersweet joys of moving.

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