Re: Using Guest Rooms for other uses
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 10:44:10 -0700 (PDT)
> Kathryn McCamant <kmccamant [at]>
> A lot of communities talk about using their guest rooms for other uses
> when they are not in use (small meetings, clean crafts, work space,
> etc). I am wondering if any existing communities have experience with
> this working successfully?  My experience is that Guest Rooms don’t
> really work for much of anything else, so just checking in on the
> experience in other communities. Appreciate hearing your experiences.

The only activities that have been repeated — suggesting that any others were 
not successful — have been temporary uses by individuals. Even before Covid 
they were a quiet place to study, read, take a conference call, etc. And to 
practice musical instruments. We have small desks in the rooms but lots of 
people work sitting on their beds anyway. There are usually other spaces 
available in the CH but the guest rooms are more reliably quiet — as long as 
neither of them is in use.

Our rooms are closed as guest rooms now but individuals have still used them, 
by arrangement, for the purposes above. The north wing has had construction 
going on outside their windows, but this was true even before construction and 
pre-Covid. A Play Station was once hidden under one of the beds to maintain 
discipline at home.

But for regularly planned activities shared use would be a problem. Normally, 
check out time is 5:00 and check in time is 6:00 (as I remember) so if the 
rooms are in use, the belongings if not the people are likely to still be in 
the room during the day. And the room would be locked.

Regularly scheduled group activity would at minimum increase friction. It would 
mean too many scheduling conversations and misunderstandings. And conflicting 
use of space. Crafts people usually need storage for supplies and a much larger 
working surface than most guest rooms could accommodate. There is also the 
issue with crafts of residual toxic odors or at best, obnoxious odors. Some 
people have serious reactions to things others might not even smell. And 
sleeping with odors is problematic for many.

Crafts people can also have lots of stuff spread around that is inconvenient to 
put away sometimes. There would be pressure on guests from crafters who might 
say “Well since you are only here overnight, is it okay if I leave this out?” 
Of course it is, but what guest wants to say that?

When my kitchen was being redone, I reserved the guest rooms to store all my 
kitchen stuff because they are right across from my unit. Others have reserved 
them for similar purposes. Or when their HVAC was broken in August.

People also like having the rooms available for last minute reservations, so to 
schedule them for conference break out rooms, for example, would be unwelcome 
except rarely under special circumstances — like a crisis resolution emergency.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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