She built it. Will they come?

A Toronto woman, Carol Buss, has an idea about sharing her home with some congenial roommates in an arrangement that’s somewhere between co-housing and a standard landlord-tenant relationship.

She’s conducted an extensive renovation with the thought of renting two rooms to people who would become friends and share the rest of the house with her.

It’s a nice idea and I certainly wish her luck. I must confess, though, I was taken aback when I got to this paragraph:

Upstairs, two furnished bedrooms at the front of the house each have their own bathrooms. Ms. Buss deliberately didn’t incorporate sitting areas because she doesn’t want housemates to spend all of their time in their rooms.

We certainly expect to spend a lot of time in common space. That’s one reason we’ve opted for the greater intimacy of a shared home, rather than the separate residences that make up traditional cohousing arrangements.

But our view is that private space is also important. Everyone should have a place to go and be comfortable and secure when they just need to be alone.

And in our conception, decisions about the nature of the private space — with or without a separate sitting room, for example — will be made by the people who intend to occupy that space.

Ms. Buss designed the space the way she wanted (fair enough, it’s her house) and now is looking for people who want to live in it. We’re looking for people who’ll work together with us to design a space we all want to share.


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