Common House Features – Shared Spaces

We have more than 3000 square feet of shared common space.

This drawing shows:

  • our primary space attributed as the “common house”. It contains the kitchen which includes our movable countertops (marked with X)
  • our large dining room with wash sink and perimeter bench and storage
  • our den/overflow guest room with bathroom  through the kitchen
  • our laundry room with three sets of washer/dryers, a sink, and a folding table
  • our entryway  and our entry hall with a wooden bench and wall space for mailboxes and community postings
  • our guest room with bedroom and bathroom.
  • The elevator provides access to the rest of the building

This is not our dining room, just an example

This area is what we call our common house. This is where we hold our occasional common meals. The cooks selected for that meal will prepare the food in the common kitchen and depending on the cook’s decision will be either served “family style” with food delivered to each table or banquet style with food served from a central location.  Dishes will be cleaned in our commercial dishwasher.

In addition to meals, this is where we will celebrate, have house concerts, watch Rider games, watch movies and hold meetings, etc. Through the dining room doors, you enter out onto our outdoor terrace with its barbeque and sitting area. On warm summer days, this becomes an alternative kitchen for the dining room 

We have placed our common laundry facility near the common kitchen so that those doing laundry can join into the life of the common house, if they want, while the machines do the work.  Having a common laundry allows the use of 3 washing machines at a time instead of needing 21 machines. Units with more than one bedroom are plumbed and wired for washer and dryer. It is at the discretion of the unit owner to decide if they want to purchase and install a washer and dryer

This is not our laundry room, just an example.

The guest rooms are our extra bedrooms. They exist so that we can reduce the size of our units. The guest rooms are booked by residents when they have a guest coming to visit. The guest stays in a guest room and visits with the residents in their units. There is one full-time guest room and one room which is normally our den but which becomes a second guest room as needed. The guest rooms are also made available to visitors from other cohousing communities on a reciprocal basis. This means residents are welcomed at cohousing communities throughout North America.  All cohousing residents are reminded that guest rooms should be booked in advance.

This is not our guest room just an example.

The final area is the entryway, entry-hall, and elevator. The entryway is a room which allows entry into the building without cold/hot air entering beyond the entryway. This provides a double door. This is how visitors and service people will enter the building. The entry-hall provides mailboxes and bulletin boards used for communication within the community.  The elevator is entered at the end of the entry hall. it will take you down half a floor to the parkade level and a whole-level down to the mechanical room. It will also take you up half a floor to the 1st floor, then up another floor to the 2nd floor and up another to the 3rd floor.  The elevator has doors both front and back allowing it to work on half floors. The stairway takes you to all levels, like the elevator.

This drawing shows the area we will make into our workshop. The entryway is the entrance from the parkade, the stairway and the elevator are just above the drawing.

*This is not our workshop just an example

The workshop will be a place to do woodwork and assorted other skills. This will be where the community will build garden planters, assorted finishing carpentry, and other woodworking projects. The area will be filled with machinery and supplies and provide space for current projects. Currently, we have a table saw, jointer, planer, band saw, drill press, lathe, and radial arm saw.

One of the first projects undertaken will be to sort and lay out the workshop. Shelves and work tables will need to be created.

This drawing shows the 13 by 35 terrace on the second floor and the gathering node joined to the terrace but inside the building.

This is not our terrace, just an example.

The second-floor terrace will be our more private area separated by level from the street traffic. Here is an area for sitting and visiting with a beverage in hand.  This is also where we will retire for fireworks displays. We have checked out the site lines from the ground and they will be awesome from this terrace.

This shows the much smaller third floor balcony and the gathering node inside the terrace.

This area will be an area for quiet contemplation and yoga. The terrace provides a quiet oasis in what is a busy place. Overlooking the second-floor terrace site lines from this vantage point will be the best in the building.

This shows the parking, ramp and entrance to the building. There are 19 underground parking spaces. Entry to the building is through an entryway to the elevator or through the stairways.

The parking space is the place where most of us will enter the building.  In typical cohousing, parking is on the periphery and neighbors meet each other as they walk to their houses, often after walking through the common house.  The traffic flow we envision has people leaving their cars and walking to the elevator.  As they do they can see if anyone is working in the workshop. Ascending in the elevator, they can stop at the common house and see if anyone is there before preceding to their unit.

The parking garage is also a place for storage of fire-resistant materials such as tires and bikes which can be stored in front of the cars.  There is area for some bike parking and this is where the bike share will be set up. These are bikes owned by the community and available for residents to use.

This diagram shows the building and its relation to the site. There is room for gardens at the back (upper left of drawing). Also at the back (lower left of drawing) is the covered parking for micro penthouses and an additional parking space for visitors.

The gardens and flower beds are the greatest areas of untapped potential. This is an area whose use will evolve over time. Ideas which are floating around include sub-irrigation planters (SIP’s), a greenhouse, and hanging and vertical gardening.  Grass lawns are to be minimized. Fruit bearing trees are encouraged.

The gardens are an area where the whole community works together. Work bees at a certain time of year are set up to prepare and seed the garden and later to harvest and preserve the bounty.  Work is easy and people do what they can. Working as a group makes the job enjoyable.  During the growing season we may adopt “Weed and Wine”, an idea from our “Wolf Willlow” friends in Saskatoon, where a session of weeding culminates in a sociable glass of wine afterward or during.

This is not our rooftop garden, just an example

Not shown here are the building supplies and mop sink areas on each of the three floors. These exist for storage of brooms, vacuums, spare light bulbs, and such.  Not the most glamorous of rooms but definitely important.

The final room, which is located at the end of the 1st-floor hallway is the “data room”.  This small room will be used to share resources like printers, scanners and fax machines.