Our Next Design Workshop: June 20

Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.
Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.

In March and April 2015 Prairie Spruce Commons members met with Chris Kailing, our architect from Pattison MGM, to consider final adjustments to our building design. It was once again magical to watch Chris move rooms and spaces. Here’s just one example of how Chris used feedback from the community to improve our design.

Chris used the layout of one of the one-bedroom plus den units as a base then applied transparent overlays to sketch out the revised concept for the two-bedroom units. In essence he removed the hallway area near the bedrooms in the original design and leveraged the found space into a larger kitchen area, more closet space and a second full bath, instead of the half bath. That put a bedroom on each side of the unit, with the kitchen and living area in the middle of the unit.

The existing two-bedroom unit holders, and the entire community, are extremely pleased with the new design and the design process as a whole. A word of encouragement for any would-be two-bedroom buyers: there is only one two-bedroom unit still available to purchase, so act quickly!

With the success of our past Design Workshops with Pattison MGM, the Prairie Spruce community is also very much looking forward to the next Design Workshop scheduled for June 20. At this workshop, our architects will be reviewing progress to date on the construction drawings, presenting 3D images of the building interiors, as well as initiating discussion about common house and private unit finishes (for example, millwork and cabinetry).

Are you considering joining the community or getting an in-depth look at the building design? This is the perfect opportunity for getting all your critical questions answered while also getting to know your future neighbours. If the workshop is of interest, get in touch and we’ll fill you in on the workshop details.


Life in Commons

Commons /kämənz/: [noun] – land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community.

Now I really get it! Prairie Spruce Commons! I have been looking at the promotional packages for other condominium buildings in Regina and see that their suites are comparable to what Prairie Spruce Commons is offering. But outside the door of those suites, where are the Commons? Where are the shared spaces that help to create community and culture? It would be like living in Regina without Wascana Park! Not something I want to imagine.

But I do enjoy imagining my life in the commons at Prairie Spruce Commons. I mentally go through the list of vistas, in all the directions afforded to me from all the commons. I could go to the commons dining room on the main floor, or the terraces on the second and third floor and see what is happening in the western sky. I could also go to the sewing room/arts room on the third floor, or the lounge on the first floor to see the north sky. I could check out the view from the two guest rooms. Or perhaps the view into our courtyard, garden and play structure from the commons kitchen. I could look upon the cool hobbyist projects in the workshop with all those power tools that I love. I imagine enjoying the use of our media/music room, our bike share space, our exercise room… These will all be part of the commons at Prairie Spruce Commons.

Beyond our amazing shared amenities, there is the commons within and beyond the building: that precious commons of air, water and people. Residents eager to install solar voltaic panels and invest in sustainable and efficient design. Innovators willing to investigate the use of grey water recycling in Regina. Neighbours seeking to reduce overall energy consumption and lighten their footprint through resource sharing.

What a joy it will be to live in a community that celebrates the generosity of the commons.


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.