Saturday, October 09, 2010

communal living

As I mentioned before, D and I have been remodelling our house these last few months.

Our architect strongly encouraged us not to try to live in the house during construction, so at first we thought we would have to rent an apartment. Then, D's old college roommate generously invited us to live with him and his wife for the duration of the project. They had coincidentally moved to a house about a mile away from us last year, and luckily they had yet to entirely furnish the place.

So, nearly six months ago, we completely emptied out our house. We sold off our cheapo living room furniture and rented a moving van. We moved our family room furniture into their empty living room, and put our breakfast table into their empty dining area. We stacked probably ten or fifteen boxes in the back of their living room, and put another five in their garage. We brought over a couple of dressers for our clothes, and packed the rest of our furniture into our own garage.

We've been mostly living out of two rooms; one is our bedroom, with a bed and dressers, and the other serves as a study/living area, with a desk, couch, and TV. We all use the family room and kitchen together, as no one ever really hangs out in the living room. (Amusingly, one of their visiting friends once remarked that she liked their new couches, only to find out that they were ours.) It's been really comfortable for us and we all get along amazingly well.

I was thinking the other day, I'm surprised more couples don't live together like this. D and I had a housemate for several years before we started the remodelling project, but we didn't hang out with him all that much, and he pretty much never used the kitchen. Similarly, some of our other friends have single housemates, but we don't know of any other households consisting of multiple couples.

These days, at least once or twice a week, the four of us will manage to conjure up a multi-course dinner from scratch. We all love farmer's markets, so we're always well-stocked with fruits, veggies, and fresh bread. We never get bored, because we have built-in critical mass for board games (our favorites are Puerto Rico and Agricola) and video games (Rock Band, Starcraft). There's a ping-pong table in the garage, a grill in the backyard, and between us we have two wine fridges full of wine and a ton of hard liquor. Also, with four of us being in the same place already, it's super easy to convince our friends to come over instead of us having to go to them. It's a little bit like living in a dorm again, but with more space and lots more money.

I guess it only works if everyone is easygoing and conscientious about sharing chores, groceries, and of course, the TV remote, but luckily everyone has been, so I've been very much enjoying our setup. I'm excited about our house being finished soon and being able to invite people over again, but I will definitely miss some aspects of communal living.

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