Re: affordable, rental cohousing! (No. Calif.)
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 12:25:00 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Marganne -- Takoma Village has at least 4 units of 600-650s/f and about 10 at 750 s/f or less. These are apt. like condos w/ no basements -- altho' we do have some basement space in other parts of the community that people have purchased.

Square footage is only one cost indicator for affordability. Other indicators are availability of financing, interest rates, cost of raw land. There are probably a bunch more but these are the ones that pop to mind.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village
Washington, DC
Principal, The Cohousing Collaborative
McLean, VA

PH: 703 663 3911
FAX 202 291 8594

On Aug 17, 2008, at 1:41 AM, David Heimann wrote:

Hi Marganne,

Can any of you envision your own community including several
800-square-foot homes?

        I can definitely do so!  Out of 30 units, we have three studios at
550 square feet and three one-bedrooms at 700 square feet.  Of the
remaining 24, eleven are around 850 square feet only. We're doing fine
with the smaller homes!

David Heimann
Jamaica Plain Cohousing

Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:33:08 -0700
From: Marganne Meyer <marganne [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ affordable, rental cohousing! (No. Calif.)
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Message-ID: <a06240809c4cb70417ca4@[]>
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In response to Ann Zebaldo's post:

Personally, I think it's important to combine people of many income
levels and circumstances. I have no evidence of this working. Being
someone who lives on the 'margin', it would be a struggle for me to
feel comfortable with only a few community members funding part of a
project integral to the entire community. Perhaps something totally
based on donations would feel more comfortable ... but that's just me.

Please keep in mind that someone choosing to live in an
800-square-foot home (or smaller) is not an indication of that
person's income. This misconception may be part of what makes some
potential cohousing members balk at having homes of different
monetary values in one project.

Many of the smaller homes are highly energy efficient. It's also what
people are looking for who are part of the 'living simple' movement.
A byproduct are more affordable homes.

Perhaps some of you here who live 'in community' currently could talk
about how you would feel if not everyone in your project had the same
buy-in price. How would finances be handled equitably?

Try to imagine several of these 'tiny' homes located in the same
community that has the more common, shared-wall, multi-floor
cohousing buildings. There are links to a few samples below. Note
that these aren't all 400-square-foot tiny tumbleweed homes on
wheels, but they all go for well under $50,000. tiny-house-plans/ goodfit-house-plans/ is the web site of Michael Jantzen who is a
member of the Low Cost Community Housing (LCCH) mailing list. His web
site has links to many excellent examples of smaller, energy
efficient homes. The owner of Tortoise Shell Home also is a list

Making an initial investment to buy a large parcel of land and to
start construction is a problem for people who live on less than
$30,000 a year, even though they can afford to build one of the many
tiny homes available on the market.

Part of the tiny home concept is based on not including some of the
usual functions a 'normal' house might contain. These include a lot
of what cohousing projects share via the common house, a shop with
tools, or a garden.

Can any of you envision your own community including several
800-square-foot homes?


The cohousing, small house movement

Low Cost Community Housing

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