Re: personal storage in common house
From: RPD-Comcast (
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2011 16:48:41 -0800 (PST)
Cornerstone Cohousing is another urban development on a tight site - "tight" 
because land is hyper-expensive in Cambridge, and you have to pack with a lot 
of small units in order to afford it - with relatively limited indoor and 
outdoor common space.  Of our 32 units, 8 are modestly-sized townhouses with 
doors to the exterior and private basements.  The other 24 units are in 
apartment format, sharing common entry, common corridors, and common basements 
partially partitioned into unit-dedicated storage area.  So far, so good, and 
pretty conventional.  Even so ...

We tend to have, from time to time,  a certain amount of "personal 
expropriation of common space" issues.  By way of example ...

  -  Households will occasionally intrude into common corridors with personal 
lifestyle support accessories ranging from shoes and archival paper storage to 
libraries, knicknacks, and pizza boxes.
  -  Other intrusions involve, not corridors, but rather the common rooms 
themselves, like, unanticipated furniture offerings and artwork*.
  -  Some intrusions are outdoors, where, for instance, one of our presumably 
scarce and valuable parking spaces was occupied for years by scrap metal (i.e., 
an unregistered old car).

What I've found interesting at Cornerstone is that the community - 
conflict-averse as it is - is very reluctant to acknowledge these 
"transgressions", or discuss them openly in public.  Fortunately, most of these 
"conflicts" remain low grade, and do not much interfere with the quality of our 


* PS:  A personal confession.  I am one of the offenders, and intentionally so. 
 I am a reasonably competent amateur photographer, and over the last four 
years, have loaded up our common house with a large quantity of framed output.  
I never asked permission from anyone, I just did it. I think I've gotten away 
with this because most of my pictures are of Cornerstone families, not of road 

Sent from my iPad

On Nov 19, 2011, at 4:24 PM, Diane <dianeclaire [at]> wrote:

> At Cambridge Cohousing, an urban development with  41 units on 1.33 acres,
> we began with group storage areas based on the location of your unit (each
> co-group apportioning space within the group).   But when that led to much
> storage creep and no room for new resident's stuff when units changed
> hands, we spent much time finding a new arrangement.  We now have built
> lovely shelves in our basement storage space and each unit has a designated
> space assigned to it according to a complicated formula based on the size
> of the unit.  This new arrangement works.  It may have been easier to
> assign spaces at the beginning, but then we would have missed all the fun
> and countless hours spent redesigning it.
> Diane (Cambridge Cohousing)
> On Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 9:12 PM, Kathy Buck <kkbuck [at]> wrote:
>> Our coho group Durham Central Park Coho have our land and  architects
>> and are  in the process of programming our building. Our site is urban
>> located in downtown Durham NC and we are having a discussion about size
>> of personal storage space in our common house and I am wondering if your
>> community has storage space and if so how many sq ft is allocated to
>> each unit and is it separate spaces with walls and locking door or is a
>> large open space subdivided with shelves or something else?
>> Kathy
>> _________________________________________________________________
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> -- 
> Diane Margolis
> 175 Richdale Av.
> Cambridge, MA 02140
> 617 354 1349
> _________________________________________________________________
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