Re: How big is too big (for a house)
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:25:45 -0700 (PDT)
RoseWind Cohousing, long-built in Port Townsend WA, is a "lot development" 
format: we bought our lot, built more or less what we each chose to build. The 
result includes homes that are 850 sq ft up to about 2800 sq ft, cottages to 
three-story houses. Economically, we weren't in a position to build then sell, 
so in the short term this was expedient. How has it worked out 20+ years later? 

No jealousy issues. People have what they like, but different folks like 
different stuff. So that's ok.

Resales are more the limitation. If a community with standardized row houses, 
for example, has a unit for sale, it is quite predictable what it will be. 
Whereas when RoseWind has a resale, it may be anywhere on the scale of small to 
large, plain to fancy, normal to eccentric! This limits the pool of interested 
buyers, which is significant, as this is a town of 9000, not an urban center, 
and so the pool of potential buyers at a given time is already somewhat 

I note that most of our smallest houses, like around 1000 sq ft, have 
eventually expanded, adding an upstairs or a cabin.

Ironically, having exactly the house you want can be a drawback in the case of 
a member who is dissatisfied with the community: if living in a more generic 
house, they would probably move away. Living in their dream house, it is 
tempting to stay in the house and just withdraw from community participation. 
This is not our usual situation, but it has happened. 

I like Sharon's advice (as I often do) - to build the extra big house in a 
design that looks more like 2-3 units, and make it plausible to eventually 
subdivide it, if a future owner or owners would want that. 

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau

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