Re: Designing common house
From: Robin Allison (
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2013 15:45:40 -0800 (PST)
The common house dining room at Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood uses a very
simple, cheap and effective system for reducing the noise. We have a high
cathedral ceiling over the dining room, lined with narrow timber battens
nailed direct to the rafters over hessian (sacking fabric), with gaps
between the battens. This allows the noise to travel through the hessian and
be absorbed by the thermal insulation between the rafters. This looks great,
and is so effective that even with 60 people dining and talking, it is a
pleasant acoustic environment. And yet it is still fine for musical
performances etc, which require more acoustic "brightness". 

I'm happy to send a photo to show what it looks like - email me direct if
you'd like one.

Robin Allison
Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood
Auckland, New Zealand

-----Original Message-----
From: Muriel Kranowski [mailto:murielk [at]] 
Sent: Thursday, 14 February 2013 11:40 a.m.
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Designing common house

I agree with all the very good advice so far, and also want to recommend a
janitor's closet to aid in general common house cleaning.

Ours contains a fairly large floor-level sink for washing mops, filling and
emptying buckets of (dirty when emptied) water used for washing floors, and
other dirty wet work. There is a lot of shelving where we store cleaning
supplies, buckets, rags, rubber gloves, sponges, etc., plus stores of toilet
paper, hand-drying paper towels, and liquid soap for the bathrooms, bulk
detergent for the dishwashers, and the like. We also store the vacuum
cleaner in there, plus brooms and mops hanging on one wall. Cleaning the CH
would be hard to do without this space and its sink.

It's been mentioned many times over the years but can't be stressed enough
- make sure the dining area has some kind of effective noise-muting so
people can chat while eating. Padded or doubled fabric ceiling panels can
work well. Ours were custom made for us a few months after we started using
the CH, when the need became quite obvious!

One thing we did not include that I wish we had is a pantry off the kitchen.
We make do with shelving and cabinets but I think a pantry would be

     Shadowlake Village Cohousing
     Blacksburg, VA 

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