Re: [C-L] Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Douglas McCarroll (
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 05:25:15 -0800 (PST)
Thanks to all who have responded. I really appreciate your taking the time.

A few of you have suggested, or asked whether we've done, a common house

Yes, we have. Mary Kraus of Kraus-Fitch Architects has led us in a series
of workshops and one of these workshops was focused on our common house.
IMO these workshops were extremely helpful.

In our common house workshop Mary recommended that we have a common house
with at least 3500 square feet of space. (We have 32 households in our
community.) We ended up with 4500 square foot design, and this was after a
somewhat painful prioritization process. In other words, we had more needs
and desires than our budget would allow, and we felt the 4500 feet was as
high as we could go. But we ended up with a design that we felt was 'mostly
finished' and 'mostly satisfactory'. At least, that's my sense of how the
group felt.

Then we learned that other aspects of our project (site infrastructure in
particular) are going to cost more than we'd estimated, and are facing the
prospect of unit prices going up ~10% on average. So now we're trying to be
creative and look at all possible avenues for cost reduction.

Several of you have suggested that we not skimp, and this sounds like good
advice. On the other hand we're concerned that higher prices could mean
that some people, including people that we already consider to be a part of
our community, may be priced out. So we need to be creative and balance
competing needs.

I'm including these details because I think that they may be of interest to
the larger cohousing community, as they provide a little more context for
my original questionnaire.

Thanks again for your input  :)


On Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 12:20 AM, Grace Kim <grace [at]>

> Doug-
> Has your community done a common house workshop? While it's good for you
> to ask others about their experiences, I'd recommend your community having
> a solid foundation about the activities that you hope to accommodate in
> your community. That might help you edit your list of spaces. But I would
> not suggest skimping here- a properly designed common house will set the
> stage for your community life.
> And have you collectively toured other facilities? If you haven't, that'd
> be a good shared experience to have to help inform your decisions.
> Btw- I am an architect and have intensely studied common houses in Denmark
> - visiting/documenting over 20 communities. And have visited more than 60
> in North America. I wrote my masters dissertation on design of the common
> house.
> I'd be happy to talk through some of your questions with you.
> grace h. kim
> schemata workshop
> (sent via mobile messaging)

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