RE: Common House Laundry
From: Douglas G. Larson (
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 21:38:52 -0800 (PST)
Here are our responses 

1) How many common machines do you have, how many households do you have
in your 
   community? ---- 2 sets of commerical washers/dryers and 1 residential
washer/dryer set. 
   We have 13 households plus the common house itself would bring it to
2) Does it seem like too many or too few washing machines? ---- It seems
to be about right. We have a sign-up system for people to do laundry to
help manage the resource. There are idle times during the week. 

3) If you had to choose between adding a laundry room and only having a
single entrance to your kitchen area and smaller pantry versus no
laundry room and a walk through kitchen area (basically an
island/counter where you can have people going in one side and going out
the other) and a larger pantry, which would you choose and why?
---- Well I wouldn't have a common house kitchen with only one entry but
neither would I make the kitchen be a main traffic pathway. As for the
pantry, I wouldn't skimp there either but it also depends on how much
space is being considered and the number of people the kitchen is
intended to serve for common meals. We have two pantries, a large one in
another building about 20 yards from the common house and the smaller,
but still adequate, next to the kitchen in the common house itself. I am
not necessarily reccommending two pantries but the arrangement works
well for us. 
Frankly I wouldn't want either the laundry or the kitchen to impact the
other. I would go to the architect and demand that both be designed with
a sufficient size, entries, exits and layout. Redesign a portion of the
common house, if necessary, to allow that. 

4) Rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the following aspects of a common laundry:
(5 is high)

a) Helps the environment (shared resource) ---- 5
b) Encourages community ---- 3
c) saves space in your units because you don't need to purchase machines
---- 4
d) Helps the lower income members who would not afford machines in their
unit ----1

Finally, help me brainstorm any other aspects of importance I can use to
survey our membership so we can create a decision matrix. ----
----1. Space ought to be used efficiently in the laundry. We chose
commercial stackable machines to save space (i.e. the dryer stacks on
top of the washer - Speed Queen brand). 
----2.  Adequate and easy egress should be designed into the laundry.
Consider that people may well be carrying large baskets of clothing or
rolling small carts with laundry in them. You want to not have any
impediments to carts and pedestrian access. 
----3.  I think that the laundry and kitchen ought not to have a common
entry. It seems the traffic conflict with these two different uses might
be considerable. 
----4.  Consider having storage for cleansers. We use a common shelf
right next to the machines where every household keeps their detergents.
The jugs have unit numbers written with markers on them. We buy
detergent in bulk (just one brand and type) and each household then buys
what they need from the common "store".
----5. Since we have our guest rooms right next to our laundry area we
have quiet times (9pm - 8am) when laundry isn't allowed when the guest
rooms are in use. 

Douglas Larson,
Songaia Cohousing

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