Re: How big is too big (for a house)
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2017 11:12:01 -0700 (PDT)
I don't think there is an answer to a right size. I think our smaller
houses at 990 and 1100 square feet (2 and 3 BRs) are too small. Our
one BR, at 750 sf is great. Our 4BR at 2500 sf is HUGE--in part
because it is very well laid out.

But my immediate reaction is this
We were told that people as you get closer to actually building, will
drop to smaller home sizes.
So we built only 1 more 4BR than we had actually buyers for 4BRs....

And then, as we got close to move-in all of those (except one) who
wanted 4BRs dropped down to 3BR homes--the cost was just too high for
the 4BRs.

And it took us several years, and we took a large loss, selling those
remaining 4BRs. (Even the deposit we kept for buyers who dropped out
completely did not cover a significant portion of the loss.)

So my question to your community is this...if you design for a
specific household, what will you do if they don't buy that house?

I know, I know, they probably won't drop out. Unless they lose their
job. Or die. Or they can't sell the house they own now. Or....


On Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 11:04 AM, Jacob Machina <jakemachina [at]> 
> We're a cohousing community forming in Charlotte NC, and some of our
> prospective members have very different ideas about what size homes we
> should have within our community. Our current vision for the community is a
> mix of small to medium single-family detached  homes (1100-2300 sq ft) a
> few triplex multi-family townhouses, and a few concrete pads for siting
> mobile tiny homes (<500 sq ft).
> One interested member would like to build substantially larger than the
> currently envisioned largest home (would ideally be ~3500 sq ft) to support
> having a multi-generational single family home with enough space to suit
> their tastes (they currently live in a 5000 sq ft house in a very nice
> neighborhood).
> Should we allow for such a large house in our planning of the community?
> Some members are concerned that such a large home would be out of place
> within the community, or would foster jealousy, or would be very hard to
> sell if/when that household needs to relocate. Other members are of a "live
> and let live" attitude and feel that people should be able to build what
> they want. What have your experiences been with a substantially larger home
> within your community?
> Thanks
> Jake Machina
> Waxhaw Pocket Neighborhood Project, Charlotte NC
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(The Rev.) Elizabeth M. Magill
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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