RE: Size/space issues in private units
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 16:59:14 -0700 (MST)
The tradeoff of private space for public space is not always a one to one
connection. For example, if you give up a work shop space, and then the
group decides NOT to build a workshop (even though you program it during
design) then you simply are not going to have that space available.

So a specialized, dedicated space need has to be carefully considered in a
move to smaller unit cohousing development. Will this space actually be
available in the commonhouse or will it be cut during cost reduction? It is
very common for groups to dream up all kinds of great spaces in a
commonhouse design, then cut them later as tide of real costs starts rolling
in and threatens to drown you. Specialized spaces, such as the weaving room,
are usually the first to go. SO the folks with the BIG loom that need a
place for it, would have to sell it, or risk it in a general common room,
with kids running in and out, etc. Electronic music gear for example would
be scary to have in a general use space. Spill a coke on it and its toast.
(I have a recording studio in my basement)

So be clear about what spaces you need and remember there is a difference
between what you want and what you need. Also there are several lot
development model cohousing projects under way. These are custom homes,
usually much larger than typical duplex style condo units. My house is 2400
sq feet, cost me $160,000 to build new. So my space desires are well met.

Since my house is often the gathering place to 5-8 pre-teen girls,(my
daughters and their friends) I am really glad I have a full basement.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communities Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cohousing-l [at]
> [mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of Maggi Rohde
> Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 5:39 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: Size/space issues in private units
> On Sun, 13 Feb 2000, Robert Wiener wrote:
> > "Housism" is pretty ingrained in our society, and the shape, size,
> > style, etc. of our houses is still so important - though cohousing
> > teaches us that it is really the community that matters.
> This is an issue for me and my family right now, and I would appreciate
> comments and suggestions.
> We currently are getting ready to make a major move, and are looking for
> jobs in a variety of areas.  I have been enthusiastic about living in
> community for some years. My husband, though new to the idea, appreciates
> the value of community and is willing to explore options.  Cohousing
> sounds very appealing to him.
> However, he is very concerned about the size of most personal units in
> cohousing developments.  He likes space, and is used to owning a home with
> plenty of room for his music studio and for entertaining friends.
> I have tried to explain how the smaller size of personal units is
> compensated by the additional common space, but he's still uncertain.  How
> can I convince him that cohousing would afford him enough space for his
> own pursuits?  And -- would it?
> Oh, and as a side note, if you are enthusiastic about your small town
> (under 100k) near a university and would like to suggest we consider
> looking for jobs (public school teacher and librarian) there, we'd *love*
> to hear from you. Thanks.
> Maggi Rohde and Glenn Simon
> maggi [at]

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