We decided early in our planning to build the common house first, instead of waiting until all the residences were finished. We knew from the experience of other cohousing communities that waiting until the end sometimes results in no common house at all being built. The common house is a unifying factor in cohousing communities, and we have been committed to prioritizing it, even though the homes would be less expensive without it. So our common house will be the second building to be completed, we hope in April.
We purchased the makings for kitchen cabinets from the IKEA store near Chicago, and one of our hard-working members has driven them in installments back to Iowa City when she's returning from visiting her daughter's family.
IKEA furniture comes dis-assembled, as you may know. So we needed to gain some skill quickly when we put together these many cabinets. We recruited some help from a friend who has done this before, for the first workday:
Following the instructions
Then we worked on our own for the next two sessions. Fortunately, we have a number of experienced woodworkers in our membership. So even folks like myself could find ways to learn and participate. Now our kitchen is full of cabinets waiting to be attached to the walls, and/or to have counters added on top.
It was hard work, sometimes frustrating when we couldn't get the instructions to work with the pieces we had. But we persevered (at least some of us!), and achieved a satisfying success. I know that whenever I work in the common house kitchen in the future, I will feel a strong bond with these sturdy cabinets. And working together created a stronger bond between us workers as well.