Re: Common laundry question
From: rpdowds (
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:21:17 -0800 (PST)
We are 32 units in an urban neighborhood; our land was expensive, and 
accordingly none of our units is the style of stand-alone single family. Most 
are "flats" or apartments in multi-family apartment buildings (one of which is 
the common house), and less than half are in a three-story-plus-basement 
attached townhouse format. Each residential floor in the apartment buildings 
has a common washer and dryer of large capacity and commercial quality — a 
set-up shared among the roughly four or five units on that floor. Machines are 
maintained and replaced out of a fund that collects a per-use (per-load) 

All the townhouses are fitted up with individual washer / dryer connections, 
and most have chosen to buy their own equipment. A couple, however, have chosen 
to dodge the expense of owning machines, and instead bring laundry over to the 
common house machines. 

The whole thing seems to work quite well, especially because the apartment 
dwellers can step outside their doors and find the washer / dryer just a few 
yards away (no dragging laundry up and down stairs!). But I can readily 
understand how families with children would much prefer to have machines 
conveniently on premises. My suggestion as both an architect and a member would 
(1) Plan on some conveniently located, community-owned machines somewhere. 
(2) Design in hook-ups for 3- and 4-bedroom units — AND, if at all possible, 
build these hook-ups into the main sleeping floor, NOT the basement. But, 
(3) For the smaller studios, or 1- and 2-bedrooms (if you have any), think 
twice about committing precious floor area to a privatized washer / dryer. 

R Philip Dowds AIA 
Cornerstone Cohousing 
Cambridge, MA 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ellen Keyne Seebacher" <elle [at]> 
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]> 
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 10:51:49 PM 
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Common laundry question 

On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 Bob Bernstein wrote: 

> We are just beginning to consider things like whether or not we want 
> laundry facilities in our homes as well as the Common House. I do 
> not have children, but while growing up my family had to walk 
> through the Laundry Room to get the Garage, and it seemed like every 
> time we left or entered the house we switched loads of laundry from 
> the washer to the dryer and/or emptied the dryer. Laundry for a 
> family of five was a never ending task. I would like to hear from 
> families raising children what it is like living w/o a washer and 
> dryer in your house, or put another way what is it like having to do 
> laundry for a family in the Common House? 

My kids are 10 and 14, and there is NO WAY you could ever get me to 
give up my washer and dryer to do laundry in the Common House, even 
if I were fully abled (which I am not -- I use a cane). I'm constantly 
starting or moving or emptying loads of laundry; if I had to traipse 
over to the Common House to do it I'd be living there instead. :} 

And I'm especially grateful for my own washer and dryer during periods 
of household illness. When someone has a stomach bug, you want 
laundry capability Right Here and Right Now, not in a pile several 
houses away waiting hours to be washed. :} 

Ellen Keyne Seebacher elle [at] 
Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.