Tag Archives: common house

Well-Appointed Kitchens in Each Prairie Spruce Unit!

Air-Canada
On an airline flight I am usually absorbed in the view from the window, or the storyline in a book, or the action on the in-flight entertainment screen. On a recent trip east I was absorbed in a conversation with my seatmate. To ensure his privacy, I will call him Jack. Like so many things in life, your air flight seatmate can be the luck of the draw; some enjoyable, some less so.

Jack was in the ‘enjoyable’ category.  We started our conversation wide and slowly circled in to the particulars of our lives. As we moved into the particulars, I told Jack about the plans of our household to live in Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing. To my delight, Jack had already heard about Prairie Spruce. He had stopped by our table at the Regina Farmers Market, and he had seen recent media coverage about Prairie Spruce.

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Jack and his friends are regulars at the North YMCA, and after a morning workout they go for coffee. They have had conversations about Prairie Spruce over their morning coffees.  Jack was particularly interested to learn about our workshop that will be filled with great tools and workshop projects. The big puzzle for Jack and his friends was how we were going to cope with using a common kitchen.

There seems to be a widespread misconception that Prairie Spruce will have only a common kitchen, but this is not the case. Each unit has a fully equipped, well appointed kitchen, as well as a living-dining area.  The Common House kitchen and dining area is for community events. It can also be reserved for personal or family events; for example our immediate extended family now numbers in the low 30’s and there are ten children under seven! This is too many for our current home, and it will be too many for our unit at Prairie Spruce Commons, but the Common House kitchen and dining room will be perfect for this crowd.

Do you have questions that have been puzzling you about Prairie Spruce?We would love to hear from you.

Brenda

Friends Rather Than Strangers


Girasol-Sur-400x284For the past twenty years my friend has enjoyed winter at Girasol Sur, a condominium located in Mismaloya, Mexico. Located near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Girasol Sur has the gorgeous turquoise waters of Bahía de Banderas, beautiful white sand beaches, a tropical savannah climate with dry winters, and bougainvillea that made me gasp with delight. I asked her what she thought contributed most to her experience at Girasol Sur. Expecting the obvious references to the beaches and salt air, her response surprised me. She said the dining space and the large front entrance make us friends rather than strangers.

I would love to live with an ocean view, but that will have to be in my travel life. In my home life, I look forward to living with friends rather than strangers. Like Girasol Sur, the dining space and the welcoming front entrance at Prairie Spruce Commons are two design features that will contribute to community.

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Condo living seems to be designed for people to live next door to one another as strangers. At Prairie Spruce Commons the community and building design helps us to become friends. We are already creating friendships through our monthly community meals, enjoying games and sports, making decisions together, hanging out at the Information Centre, and taking road trips to see other cohousing communities. If you are looking for condo living where you can be a friend rather than a stranger, we are looking for you.

Brenda

Walk~Wheeling the Lines of our Common House

Prairie-Spruce-Level-1-Common-House--400x284“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine

I keep my eyes wide open all the time

I keep the ends out for the tie that binds

Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”

I Walk the Line, by Johnny Cash


That old song has been singing to me since our community walk~wheeled** the tape on the floor outlining some of the common spaces of Prairie Spruce Commons.

And what the heck does the third line of that song mean anyhow?  No clue here!

Lil and WarrenWarren and the Design Committee spent hours on their knees at the Prairie Arctic Trades Training Centre where we were lucky to be guests for the day.  The massive indoor arena with a smooth cement floor was perfect for marking out, with masking tape, the more than 2000 square feet of main floor common space.  Common kitchen and dining room, lounge, kids space, entrance (front and back), elevator, guest room, accessible bathroom, common laundry, office, workshop, storage closet, powder-room and yes hallways.

Prior to the much anticipated walk~wheel, the plan was that all 15 of us, or so,  would follow Warren into the ‘taped-on-the-floor Common House,’ and listen attentively while he oriented us to what was what. Are you kidding!?  Right off the mark we were like a herd of cats with all our curiosity, questions, and excitement.

Once we settled a little and even figured out which way was north we found that walk~wheeling a space adds new dimension to pouring over architectural drawings.  Like feeling a space and experiencing it and rubbing shoulders with the neighbours too. 

Current research in organizational theory says that the most successful and resilient organizations are those that solicit, welcome and integrate feedback. It’s called the feedback loop.  Walk~wheeling the lines gave us opportunity to experience the feedback loop. Some things in the design seem perfect while others need some minor adjustments.

‘because you’re mine I (we) walk~wheel the line.”

Hope you knees will be okay in a couple of days Design Committee.

Ruth

** My preferred language so as to acknowledge those among us who get around by wheeling in strollers or wheelchairs.

Visiting Kindred Spirits at Wolf Willow Cohousing

Wolf Willow Cohousing
Photo Courtesy of Shannon Dyck

Two Sundays ago, several Prairie Spruce Commons members and guests travelled to Saskatoon to visit Wolf Willow Cohousing.  We were greeted warmly by the community, and welcomed into their common house and suites.  The common kitchen is both appealing and functional, and Prairie Spruce was immediately invited to use the space to prepare the potluck lunch.  After lunch, Christine from Wolf Willow and Ruth from Prairie Spruce co-chaired a question and answer session that both communities found to be informative.  This general meeting was followed by small group tours of the building.

We were so impressed!  Wolf Willow is built on a compact lot, but the use of building space and landscaping is very effective.  Our timing was just right to see the flowers and vegetables that the community grows around the building and even on the boulevard.  An outdoor eating area overlooks a pond and bridge.  It was interesting to learn about the design and construction of their sturdy metal fence, which looks great and was cost effective.    A nearby bike path is practical for bike traffic and long walks.   

Inside, we were all amazed at the use of windows to provide abundant natural light.  Not only are all those windows a stunning design feature, they are integral to the expansive feeling of the building.  It was reassuring to see just how spacious and comfortable a down-sized suite can be.  The use of wood in cupboards, doors, and other aspects of the building adds to its warmth and environmental impact.  We saw many examples of how the privacy and integrity of individual homes can co-exist with the participation and interaction found in the common spaces and overall building.

Having the opportunity to observe a functioning workshop, recycling area, garage, exercise room, craft room, laundry room, kitchen, and lounge was invaluable for a cohousing community that is in the planning stages.  We saw first-hand how the guest rooms can also house an accessible bathroom.  In fact, all the bathrooms in Wolf Willow are generously proportioned (and we were just a bit jealous!).  Distinctive personal touches have been added throughout the building with framed artwork, wall hangings, and tempting reading and conversation nooks.  There is no doubt that the members of this community have an artistic bent.

Our visit to Wolf Willow emphasized the benefits of living in a cohousing community.  A plus was discovering the fun that is in store when our two communities exchange visits in the years to come.

Ann

Cohousers Find a Home Away from Home

A very nice thing about cohousing is that when you travel you can always find a place that feels like home. This summer my family visited the West Coast and I knew right away that we had to check out the Windsong Cohousing community in Langley, BC.

We had heard many great things about this community which was built in 1996 and was the first cohousing community to be built in Canada. Our visit there went far beyond our expectations. What an inspiration! It is such a beautiful and inviting building and we were greeted by a very friendly bunch of people who showed us around and answered our questions. They also told us stories about their experiences living in a cohousing community. For example, one woman told me that her children grew up at Windsong and they cannot imagine living any other way. Many children growing up in a cohousing community are naturally open to different cultures and languages and find it easy to socialize with people of all ages. Both children and adults also learn how to solve conflicts through collaborative and non-violent communication.

We could tell the people at Windsong really belonged to a community. Children played together in the yard outside or in the playroom inside. A couple of neighbours had coffee together in the gathering space outside their units. In the common house kitchen some members were preparing a community meal for the evening. To get an idea of their experiences, please watch the inspiring short video below.

Visiting Windsong, meeting with its members and hearing stories from families who lived there for over 15 years made us realize how important our participation in Prairie Spruce Commons is.

Malin