Re: Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:09:48 -0800 (PST)
> On Feb 8, 2015, at 5:16 PM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at]> wrote:
> As it turned out, the project was designed without introspective 
> consideration of a budget. It was driven by aesthetic and emotional wants 
> rather than affordability and needs. 
> At the final decision point, it was considerably above the affordability 
> level and the members were so enamored of the grandiose design with which 
> they had fallen in love, that they were unwilling to accept redesign down to 
> their level of affordability.

There was also a serious problem with the architect. A subset of the group was 
attempting to self-develop without sufficient experience. They followed all the 
recommendations and did their research but that isn't enough. Someone has to 
have experience. The well-recommended green architect who had help dig South 
Florida out of a hurricane flattening took 3 years to produce drawings and then 
they were wrong. He wanted as much money to redo them as they had paid in the 
first place.

Then he had sent the drawings to the construction engineers for review AFTER he 
completed them. The group had asked for a new construction material that was 
hurricane safe (as safe as that can be) and they added steel beams. Steel beams 
are obviously not affordable in a cohousing community. 

Then because the drawings were so late, all the construction costs had 

Because there was no dialogue between the architect, the construction 
engineers, the construction company, or the developers in the group, all these 
costs finally came out at the end, with Tom's help. It was undoable.

If the group had had more experience they would have known years before what 
kind of consultations were needed and what problems might arise. 

Thanks to Tom for highlighting the problems that can sink a project.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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