Re: Common house design
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 05:11:52 -0700 (PDT)
We too had a problem with noise from the commercial refrigerator, and we 
eventually replaced it with a large, standard residential.  Our meetings are 
either in other spaces, or before the meal, so clean-up noise hasn’t been much 
of an issue.

Conversation noise is a different matter.  I don’t have much evidence for this, 
but I think large, banquette-style tables — long rectangular ones seating maybe 
four on each side and one at each end — discourage group conversation and 
encourage shouting.  I am thinking that the best seating for common dining, 
group interaction, and normal-voice conversation may be a collection of 4 ft 
diameter round tables seating six.

R Philip Dowds / Cornerstone Cohousing
175 Harvey Street, Unit 5
Cambridge, MA 02140

land:     617.354.6094
mobile: 617.460.4549
email:   rpdowds [at] <mailto:rpdowds [at]>

> On May 22, 2015, at 11:06 AM, Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]> wrote:
> I think an overly loud environment is most salient during meals when people
> are, after all, there to chat with each other and there's unavoidable noise
> from all the diners. So, a primary outcome should be "people can easily
> chat with the person next to them or across the (not too wide!!) table
> during meals."
> Another issue for us was that our commercial refrigerator turned out to be
> VERY LOUD when the compressor is running - annoying for everyone and making
> it difficult for our more hard-of-hearing members to fully participate in
> meetings in the Great Room which adjoins the kitchen. Also, our commercial
> dishwasher is pretty loud, which means that meal cleanup when a meeting
> immediately follows was often problematic.
> We've come up with a home-made acoustical-panel solution to close off the
> two big kitchen passthrough openings when needed, after years of
> complaining to ourselves about it. Containing kitchen noise to some
> reasonable extent should be considered in your design.
>    Muriel at Shadowlake Village, Blacksburg, VA

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