Re: [C-L] Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 06:31:12 -0800 (PST)
> On Feb 8, 2015, at 8:25 AM, Douglas McCarroll <list.cohousing-l.001 [at] 
>> wrote:
> 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.

I would say don't skimp on quality and storage. Storage saves a lot of floor 
and surface space. At Blueberry Hill I was envious of wall of shelves behind 
folding doors that opened all the way - and with floor space in front of the 
shelves for a stepping stool and things that don't fit on shelves. 

I just found this one this morning -- drawers in the stairs risers. It makes me 
wish I had stairs.

Don't build for "I would love to have" unless the people are currently 
participating in what they love to do. A yoga room for people who have never 
done yoga but always wanted to, for example.

Remember that you have to clean all that space. Any effort saved in 
housekeeping in a smaller unit will be doubled by maintenance of more CH and 
grounds space. Living in cohousing is not like living in an apartment; it's 
like living in a house with all the weekend work and annual costs to maintain 

I was impressed by a recent visit to Cornerstone by the sense of spaciousness 
in their stairways and entrance halls. This can be more important on a daily 
basis than extra square footage in a dining room that then looses it sense of 
intimacy to become a dining hall the size of a small food court. On the rare 
occasions when you have half again as many people as seats, people will spread 
out in the CH. This is even more pleasant actually because it also spread the 
noise of conversation. 

Last, once you have a facility, people will be loath to give it up--even if 
only 3 people ever use it.

And next to last, don't skimp on acoustics. We forget this because in homes we 
don't need special treatments. We have rugs. In common spaces used by many 
people, rugs are not usually cost effective. Annual cleaning, and often 
semi-annual cleaning, is not cost effective.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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