Have you heard we’re planning to have an atrium in our community building? What an amazing, warm, sunny space to enjoy during our long winters. Many members are excited about growing tropical plants: lemon and pomegranate trees anyone? These photos are from the Farm Bureau building in Bozeman. Can you find the kids hiding? Go for a visit to get a sense of the atrium idea. During the design workshop last weekend, we brainstormed some other creative and unconventional ideas many of which probably won’t make it in but are still fun to dream about. Some of our ideas included a slide from the 2nd floor down into the first floor, a rock climbing wall, a decorative fountain that doubles as a children’s water play area, a circular coat room, a roof-top deck, a craft nook with a sewing machine that slides out of the cabinet ready-to-go, secret hiding places, a stage in the dining room for music performances, a giant ball pit, and a sunny window seat for reading. What crazy ideas do you have?
Guest architect Bryan Bowen from Caddis Collaborative in Boulder, CO led us through a two-day workshop to design the shared amenities we would like in our community building. One of the most important activities in a community building is regular shared meals. Typically, how this works is that each adult in the neighborhood cooks a community meal with the help of two co-chefs once a month. This provides meals about 5 days a week, but not every family attends every meal. When it’s your turn to cook on the chef team, you choose what you’re cooking and put it on the calendar. Each family signs up for whichever meals they would like to attend; this allows them to skip meals that don’t meet their dietary requirements or those when they have other plans or just want to eat in their private home. The chefs purchase enough ingredients for the number of people that signed up and the cost of the ingredients is divided by the number of people signed up. This service can be an invaluable help to families with young children, single parents, single adults, seniors, or anyone who doesn’t want to cook their own meal every single night. Since you’re only paying for the ingredients and only paying for meals you sign up for, the cost is equivalent or even cheaper than what you would cook as ingredients can often be purchased in bulk. If a community only holds a shared meal a couple of times a year, everyone shows up, but when community meals are held frequently, there are fewer and different people attending each meal, this means the chefs are only cooking for around 20 people and the community meals are smaller more intimate affairs. When you only have to cook a big meal once a month, you can put a little extra effort in or try something special which makes for higher quality than the standard weeknight dinner. This weekend members had the pleasure of sharing multiple meals throughout the workshop.
The following are real messages sent out on Nevada City Cohousing’s email list with the ubiquitous subject line “ISO” which means “in search of.” Notice how quickly people respond, and almost every requestor finds what they are looking in the community without ever having to get in their car. Thanks, CoHousing Solutions for sharing!