Re: Is Cohousing Cheap(er)?
From: rpdowds (
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2013 02:17:02 -0800 (PST)
Well, I think it is being mentioned. At Cornerstone Cohousing , we (the Dowds 
house) have ready access to a guest room, an arts and crafts room, and a 
back-up kitchen with a commercial refrigerator — all of which have made it easy 
for us to downsize from a minimally functional 1500 sq ft single family home, 
to a highly functional 1000 sq ft apartment. Works for us. But not for others, 
who prefer to maintain their commitments to privatized servicing of their 
household needs. A life of sharing is more attitude-driven than cost-driven. 

You, however, go even further — implying the utility of specialized rooms such 
as an extensive library or piano / music room. I happen to agree that both 
amenities can be highly valuable — for the right households. In the former 
case, a real library — with community-paid periodicals, well-managed book 
contributions, and a couple of internet-connected work stations — could be the 
deal clincher for some households ... but irrelevant for others. Same for the 
acoustically isolated grand piano room, which might also include practice space 
for the community garage band, and a lending library of CDs. 

My point? The exact amenities you choose to include (or exclude) will much 
influence the kinds of members and buyers you will attract. They will help 
condition the character of the community — academic and intellectual? musical? 
kid/family focused? farm oriented? — that you eventually establish. Not all 
cohos are just the same, and this is a good thing. 


PS: Is 1,200 sq ft of apartment, plus valuable shared common space, less 
expensive than a 3,000 sq ft single family home? It seems likely that this will 
indeed be true. But your dichotomy emphasizes extremes that may not be 
relevant. A family with two kids and a finite income will usually end up paying 
$X for a housing unit, probably three bedrooms. Whether the unit is "big", with 
an extra "family room", "den" or "workshop" — or smaller, coho-style, with 
access to shared spaces — what this family will pay for the unit will not vary 
much from one context to the next. In cohousing, you don't buy cheaper. You buy 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Liz Ryan Cole" <lizryancole [at]> 
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>, "R Philip Dowds" <rpdowds 
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 6:05:38 PM 
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Is Cohousing Cheap(er)? 

I have been following this discussion with interest as we (Pinnacle Cohousing - 
Lyme, NH) move forward on design of 18 (first phase) homes. Whether the 
construction cost per square foot is $120 or $180, isn't one of the significant 
savings for cohousers based on the fact that we can build comfortable homes 
with at least some the amenities we would like included, because we can share 
the extensive library or grand piano, while building fewer private square feet? 
I think a 1200 square foot home with the shared cost of common space is 
certainly going to be less expensive than the single family home at 2500 or 
3000 square feet (you can tell we are not in a city). 

What is no one mentioning this? thanks liz 

Liz Ryan Cole 
lizryancole [at] 
Pinnacle Cohousing at Loch Lyme Lodge 
Lyme, NH 
Home 802.785.4124 
Work 802.831.1240 
Lodge 603-795-2141 

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