Re: Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Bob Morrison (rhmorrisonaol.com)
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2015 05:31:49 -0800 (PST)
 Mosaic Commons Cohousing, Berlin, MA

How many households do you have in your community?  34 (2 vacant units)

Does your common house have a dedicated "kids room" for younger children?
  Yes.
If so, how large is it?   About 15 feet square.

Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
about right?   I will leave it to others who know more about this room to 
answer the next few.

What works well (or not) to make this room attractive to kids?

Other comments?


Does your common house have a "noisy activities" room (for ping pong or
similar activities)?  Yes, we call it the multi-purpose room (MPR).

If so, how large is it?  About 20 feet by 30 feet. 

Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
about right?  IMO just about right.

What is it used for?  Ping pong, arts and crafts, meetings when the great room 
isn't 
available and too large to fit in living room.

How much is it used?  I estimate about 7 times a week. 

Other comments?


Does your common house have a dedicated "teens room", or a room where teens
tend to congregate?  No. Teens often congregate in the MPR or living room. 

Is this the "noisy activities" room? (If so, you can skip the next four
questions.)

If so, how large is it?

Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
about right?

What is it used for?

How much is it used?

What works well (or not) to make this room attractive to teens?

Other comments?


Does your common house have one or more guest rooms?  Yes.

If so, how many, and how large are they?  Two, about 10 ft by 12 ft.

Do you wish you had more guest rooms? Feel that you could have made do with
fewer?  IMO two is just right.

Do you wish that it/they were larger? Feel that they could have been
smaller? Are they just about right?  I am not an expert on this, but I don't 
recall anyone saying they thought they were too small.

How often are guest rooms used? If your registration log exists in some
easy-to-access electronic form, might you be willing to share it? (My email
is douglascoho <at> brightworks.com.) If not, a rough "percentage of nights
occupied" figure would be helpful.   Don't know, but they are used enough to 
justify our having them.

Other comments?   We made a big mistake. We put one of the guest rooms next to 
the laundry room, with poor 
sound insulation in the wall between them. We have had ongoing problems with 
guests being disturbed 
by noise from the laundry machines during sleeping hours.
  Does your common house have a "living room", i.e. a quiet room with couches
etc. suitable for small groups?  Yes.

If so, how large is it?  About 12 feet square.

Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
about right?  This is the room in which we watch movies and, occasionally, TV. 
There are times when
crowding is a problem. Speaking for myself, I wish it was a little larger. 

Other comments?


Does your common house have an exercise room (with a treadmill etc.)?
Yes.
If so, how large is it?  About 12 x 15 feet. 

Do you wish it was larger? Feel it could have been smaller? Is it just
about right?  Just about right, as far as I know.

Other comments?


Finally, do you have any thoughts that you'd like to offer regarding what
changes you might make to your common house if you were able to go back and
redesign it?
  We have postal mailboxes inside the CH. The number of packages we get per 
household in the mailroom
 has increased markedly in the 5 years we have been up and running. If I were 
doing it over again myself,
I would build more space less than 5 feet high to put these packages in. 
  We often have 40 people at common meals. When we do, the room is noticeably 
crowded. If I were doing 
it over again, I would make it two feet wider. (I don't have the dimensions of 
the great room handy.) 
  About 1/3 of the households here have a washer and dryer. The others use our 
laundry room, which is
about 8 feet by 10 feet and has three washers and four dryers. We didn't design 
the room to accommodate
front-loading washers, and two of our washers are now front-loaders. 
Front-loading washers take up a
lot more space in front than top-loaders, and IMO crowding is a problem. I 
would have made the room two
feet wider. Also, there isn't any room to put in a chair or two to sit in while 
waiting for laundry; I recommend
you make room for this. 

Bob Morrison
Mosaic Commons Cohousing
Berlin, MA


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