Re: Private Unit Design - a cost/benefit question
From: PattyMara (
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 19:20:29 -0700 (MST)
In a message dated 2/11/00 5:30:23 PM chris [at] writes:

<<  I don't think the cost of
 private unit design... the economic, social, community, and emotional
 costs...  provides us as individual households with anything close to the
 benefit that we romantically imagine.  It certainly does nothing positive
 for the community.  In fact, it can be argued that it is often destructive. 

Dear Chris and list,
At Tierra Nueva (central CA coast) our core group of  8 households spent too 
much time and energy designing and redesigning and doing cost cuts when the 
numbers came in on our individual units.  Chris is right, many of us ended up 
in different units, and some of us didn't even make it to the finish line.  
One of the 3 bedroom designs has a longer luxurious bathtub because of a tall 
household who insisted on it, then later moved to another unit.  

The question of letting an architect team do the design of private home is 
intriguing to me.  It would require a deep trust in the professionals.  
Always a good thing when it is forged, and encouraged by good communication.  

I wonder if we could have let go of the control?  One of the perceived perks 
was that we could be involved in home design, but it did end up to be more of 
an albatross around our necks in many ways.  

In truth, when all of our community was assembled after the last few months 
of sales,  during early construction, the majority of our 27 households had 
had no design input.  Less than a third of us designed all the units.  And of 
the original core group, two households dropped out, one got divorced and 3 
changed unit size.  

Another "cost" to add to Chris' list:  the focus on the individual units took 
our attention away from the common house design, which ended up with some 
unfortunate features, like a woefully small children's room, designed by 
architects with no children. I've heard the phrase "What were you thinking 
when you approved this design of ________?"  We were overwhelmed by a myriad 
of details, distracted and generally out of our league trying to wear too 
many hats.

I like the idea of letting the architects do their work, and letting us do 
the work and play and partying of building community.

patty mara gourley
Tierra Nueva, cen CA coast  

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