RE: determinants of success - not just cohousing
From: Jenny Williams (
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 07:06:53 -0800 (PST)
I, for one, would be very interested in your conclusions about kitchen
design, and possibly the titles of kitchen design books you found most
helpful.  We own a lot at Manzanita Village Cohousing in Prescott, AZ,
and are designing our house there.  The kitchen design is what I've
spent the most time on, but I want to make sure I'm designing it for how
we'll actually use it.

Jenny Williams

-----Original Message-----
From: ken [mailto:gebser [at]] 
Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2006 5:16 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ determinants of success - not just cohousing


That's an astute comment about windows in the kitchen.  I'd add that in
my kitchen I've got a window over the sink facing west.  While it's nice
having the sun streaming in during the afternoon, I find myself nearly
blinded by it when I'm trying to work at the sink-- which is just about
anytime I'm doing anything in the kitchen.  I like the Dutch window
attitude in my kitchen-- i.e., no curtains or any kind nor any "window
treatment" at all.  (Drive around Holland and you'll see hardly a single
curtain in any window of any house.)  It's not like there's naked people
in the kitchen, not that often anyway.  Especially in a kitchen,
curtains need to be washed and pressed, venetian blinds are pretty much
a PITA dust and grime collection device, so file Dutch windows under
"simplicity".  I also like to use the window sill as a shelf for
oft-used and attractive items.

When I moved into this place (which needed a complete rehad) I devised a
plan for situating things, called the Convenient Mess Orient Plan

When I moved in I put my boxes of stuff when I thought I might like/need
to have them.  As I used things, I found I was moving boxes to better
places.  Basically, I lived out of boxes for almost a month, until I
wasn't moving them around anymore.  Then I was able to see exactly what
I was doing and where I was doing it.  This revealed things to me that I
wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

CMOP Adjunct for kitchen: I made an inventory of all the kitchen stuff
(cups, plates, cooking utensils, small appliances, napkins, etc., etc.
having much of this in boxes in the kitchen helped here) and then on
another sheet of paper diagrammed where in my not-yet-existing kitchen
all of these things should eventually reside.  During this time I also
got a dozen books out of the library on kitchen design.  Japan being a
very crowded place and so their kitchens being rather small compared to
American mansion-kitchens, I found books on Japanese kitchens to have a
lot of fresh and graceful ideas.  I also decided that having anything in
the open-- not in a cabinet or drawer-- would mean it would collect more
dust and be subject to splatter, so I wanted to have everything possible
tucked away.  Going on these and some other considerations, I then
proceeded to design the kitchen.

Small is good,

Steve Faber wrote:
> I think in an urban cohousing community the kitchens on the "active
> side"  might mean something different if you are trying to be a
> village in a bigger village of a neighborhood.  One of the  issues we
> had with our Michigan, medium density design, was the  compromise of
> kitchen orientation and getting light into the units.  If your kitchen
> is on the south side of your home.  Typically, much  of your wall
> is taken up by cabinets and you can't put in the  larger windows to
> maximize passive solar.
> Steve
> On Feb 24, 2006, at 1:39 PM, Chris ScottHanson wrote:
>> Rodney,
>> My view is the green sustainable community must include, but not be
>> limited to the following:
>> It must be very pedestrian oriented.  People first, cars a distant
>> second.  Segregate cars and parking from the middle of the community.
>> Common facilities that allow for and encourage community
>> interaction.  In cohousing it is called the common house.  It must 
>> allow for sharing meals on some sort of regular basis.  Having mail 
>> here is a big help.  Having a common hearth here, or the only  hearth
>> here can also be a big help.
>> All private kitchens and the "active side" of the private dwelling
>> units on the entry (community) side, toward the pedestrian  walkway. 
>> This allows for "eyes on the street" (pedestrian street,  of course)
>> and "ownership" of that street.  Safety and a sense of  belonging
>> Ownership, commitment and sense of belonging that comes from
>> participation in as many decisions as make sense.  At a minimum  this
>> should include the programming and design of the common  facilities. 
>> This requires careful, effective and respectful  management of
>> prospective owners prior to project completion.  It  also requires
>> artful management of buy in and commitment.
>> Chris ScottHanson
>> Author - The Cohousing Handbook
>> On Feb 22, 2006, at 7:38 AM, Rodney Wilts wrote:
>>> Dear Cohousers,
>>> I am working on an innovative development project where the
>>> developer is interested in creating an environmentally friendly,
>>> community friendly development. To this end we are looking at  what
>>> elements make for a successful community. We're looking at  both the
>>> hardware (built environment - e.g. front porches) and  software
>>> (recreation programs, how to create community cohesion etc).
>>> We are hoping to draw on the expertise of the intentional 
>>> communities movement and implement things that have worked. I  would
>>> appreciate any feedback as to what has made your community 
>>> successful (or unsucessful).
>>> Thanks,
>>> Rodney Wilts
>>> One Planet Living
>>> _________________________________________________________________
>>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info  
>>> at:
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info
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