Re: [C-L] Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Jerry McIntire (
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2015 13:01:29 -0800 (PST)
Thanks Sharon, nice summary of some of your important observations on
common houses.


Jerry McIntire
Stone's Throw Ecovillage, in the heart of Wisconsin's beautiful Driftless

On Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 8:31 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> > 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 it.
> 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
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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