Takoma Village homes
When Ann Zabaldo returns to her home in Takoma Village Cohousing after work, she gets more than a wordless wave from her neighbors. “I know everybody here, and everybody knows me,” Zabaldo told UrbanTurf. Whether she’s picking up her mail from the Common House, joining neighbors for pizza and a movie, or comparing shades of blue in her role on the “color team” (a group of residents choosing the new color scheme for the common house), Zabaldo has several opportunities to interact with her neighbors on a daily basis.
If this doesn’t sound like the relationship you have with your neighbors, don’t be surprised. While homeowners in cohousing developments live in privately-owned condos and houses, the living set-up differs markedly from more traditional arrangements. Residents maintain common areas, make consensus decisions, and often support each other in less tangible ways, like Takoma Village’s “sunshine club”, which visits those who are sick or going through a hardship. Any neighborhood or condo building can become cohousing, and Takoma Village (with 43 homes) is joined by Silver Spring’s 56-unit Eastern Village just a town away as two of 15 cohousing developments within an hour of DC.
Eastern Village’s courtyard
“Cohousing attracts people who are looking for a more intimate kind of neighborhood,” explained Zabaldo, one of the original residents of Takoma Village. “They are looking for a more elusive sense of belonging, sense of place.”
The architecture of Takoma Village lends itself to interaction: smaller houses leave room for larger common areas, front doors face each other, and cars are parked out of sight on the periphery. Takoma Village’s Common House is an “extension of your personal living and dining room,” Zabaldo explained. Residents rotate jobs to provide one formal dinner to the community per week, and often host informal events at the House.
Not surprisingly, both Takoma Village and Eastern Village are certifiably “green.” Eastern Village was awarded LEED Silver certification and all units in Takoma Village have Energy Star certification. Abigail Daken and her husband have enjoyed Eastern Village’s environmentally-friendly design since moving there six years ago. “The green aspect of the community was very important to me,” Daken told UrbanTurf. “It was one of the first steps I took on a path of reorienting my life and career to support the environment.”
One of the most notable aspects of cohousing life is decision by consensus. As opposed to a majority-ruled condo board, decisions at Takoma Village and most other cohousing developments must have unanimous support. “Our recent pet policy went through 13 drafts before being adopted,” Zabaldo said. “Even though the initial effort was long and took a lot of energy, the result is a policy everyone has bought into.”
Inside an Eastern Village condo
The community is often self-selecting. While Eastern Village lists their units through traditional means, Takoma Village owners post flyers at natural food stores and coffee shops or place an ad in a community housing publication. Only one sale in the history of Takoma Village went through a real estate agent, and deals are finalized by settlement attorneys.
If this lifestyle appeals to you, both Takoma Village and Eastern Village currently have units up for sale. Takoma Village has a two-bedroom currently on the market, and Eastern Village has two two-bedroom condos available.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/cohousing_not_communal_living_but_close/4429.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
Why condo fees are high in some buildings and low in others can be a difficult questi... read »
When sellers haven't quite lined up their next house before their settlement date com... read »
In this edition of First-Timer Primer, we look into the question of how to determine ... read »
The preferred mortgage product among most home buyers is the fixed-rate mortgage. How... read »
Here's what you need to know about reporting profit made from the sale of your home.... read »
UrbanTurf has compiled virtual looks at large new developments around the DC region.... read »
Virginia's homebuyer assistance programs can seem complex. This edition of First-Time... read »
A recent transaction shows that the housing market isn't cooling off everywhere.... read »
Developer Akridge has released new images of their planned Burnham Place development ... read »
The new development will also have a nearly 20,000 square-foot public plaza.... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro