Our homes, which range in size from 650 to 2,200 square-feet, sit on 2.4 acres in the Delridge neighborhood of West Seattle and are connected by a pedestrian walkway. There are twenty-three units — cedar-sided duplexes and triplexes — with porches that open onto courtyards and common areas, making it easy to visit neighbors, watch children, and share our lives. Parking is on the perimeter of the property.
In building our project, we saved as many trees and native shrubs as possible, and now the grounds are lush and natural. We’ve heard Pacific tree frogs sing in our pond, and screech owls and eagles nearby. The shared spaces in which we live, share, and create make our community special. Here are some of the highlights…
THE COMMON HOUSE
Our 4,000 square-foot common house is central to the community’s life. It provides a shared “third place” — a place run to into and visit with neighbors, share meals, have meetings, celebrate with private or community events, pick up our mail, and more. Its wonderful features include:
• a gas fireplace and comfortable living and dining spaces
• children’s play area
• a pool table and ping-pong table
• laundry facilities
• a guest room
• an industrial-sized kitchen, well-stocked with staples, supplies, and appliances that make xxxxcommunity meals possible (with the help of actual people, of course!)
• meeting spaces
THE COMMUNITY GARDEN AND NATURAL GROUNDS
Our property is landscaped with native species and includes as many fruit trees as we could tuck in here and there. In addition, we have a dedicated organic garden, including our own hoop house, where we grow vegetables, flowers, and berries. The garden is maintained by regular work parties and its bounty is available to all residents, including use in community meals.
PATHWAYS, COURTYARDS, AND PLAYSPACES
As is the cohousing way, parking is provided on the perimeter of the site to allow a village-like feeling among our homes. Pathways connect three courtyards, including a central area that features a play structure and a small court in which to ride bikes and play ball. Other areas onsite include a playfield, a pond, a patio off the common house, and a wooded area with a treehouse. The pathways provide opportunities to connect and catch up with neighbors, watch the kids play, help a neighbor with a project, or simply a quick way home.
An important reason for choosing to live in cohousing is to share resources and lessen our overall impact on the environment. Our environmental features include:
• compact site design that preserves open space and includes a natural area to buffer the site from xxxxadjacent streets
• preservation, as much as possible, of the site's existing topography, vegetation, and mature trees
• stormwater collection pond which collects drainage off all site areas and an adjacent street
• energy conservation with attached duplex/triplex units that minimize exterior walls and include xxxxhigh insulation levels
• dual-function forced-air gas heating systems which use the hot water heater as the space xxxxheating source
• energy-efficient fluorescent lighting in all common areas
• an active composting and recycling effort by all members
We value living in community with one another, and our community attitude extends to individual involvement with our local neighborhood, city, state, and beyond. We live in a diverse community of Seattle, near a grade school and community college. Our common house is occasionally used for community meetings and gatherings.