Re: [Don't delay common house]
From: brucefrishkoff (
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 11:54:52 -0500
Lynn, thanks for the advice.  We had always said that we would build the common 
house with the other houses, but now we are finding our per-unit cost so high 
that we are losing people we need to start the community.  Phasing the common 
house is our compromise position.  Part of the problem is that we are so rural 
and in a fairly poor area; as a result, we are having trouble generating local 
interest.  We hoped that our intergenerational model might draw people, but the 
costs, with the common house factored in, just seem prohibitively high to some 
interested younger couples and families.
We'll keep plugging away at it.
Again, thanks.
Bruce Frishkoff

cohousing-l [at] wrote:
> At RoseWind Cohousing, a lot-development model, for various apparently 
> unavoidable reasons, we have delayed our common house. We hope to get it 
> started next year, ten years after the group first started, 6 years after 
> we got the Planned Unit Development approved by the City, and at a point 
> when 12 of our 20 families already are in houses on site. 
> I don't recommend delaying the common house! I wish we had built it 
> before a single home went in. We have lost a lot of community-building 
> that would have happened there, and perhaps would not almost all have 
> built largish homes with guest rooms, laundries, etc. I also think we 
> would not still have half a dozen unsold lots if the common house were in.
> I suggest you look at a phased common house as a compromise. Get a space 
> closed in. Let the furnishing, painting, etc happen as it becomes 
> possible. Probably a lot of furnishing can happen as people move and have 
> extras. Once people are in the middle of their own building and-or moving 
> projects, a lot of energy is taken up that is unavailable for common 
> house creation. Consider a common house that uses whatever level of 
> volunteer labor you have available-=--- stucco is a good example of an 
> expensive process that becomes inexpensive when you have it done as a big 
> work party. Ener-grid blocks? Straw bale? But get something in place if 
> you possibly can. It is important to form the habit of using the common 
> house, and not just tack it on later.
> Lynn Nadeau
> In Port Townsend WA, where we are happily enjoying that two more families 
> have completed and moved into on-site homes, and where a handsome 
> strawbale house is rapidly taking shape.
> Common house committee is working with group-approved floor plans and 
> budget, ironing out the details prior to submitting for a building permit 
> by year-end. Weekly potluck picnics are well-attended, and include 
> cabbage, greens, apples, beans, cucumbers, and potatoes grown on our 
> commons. 

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