Architects Katie McCamant and Chuck Durrett initiated the project in 2002, bringing together future residents not only to plan the community, but also to work diligently to see it to completion. The CoHousing Company, a division of McCamant & Durrett Architects, provided architectural and project management services.
The principals of the company have been at the forefront of the cohousing movement since they introduced the concept to the US in the 1980’s with their book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves (Ten Speed Press). Since then, cohousing has attracted national attention, with 136 communities created in North America, and another 70 in process.
Cohousing combines fully equipped privately owned homes with a people-friendly design that supports an old-fashioned sense of neighborhood. The private homes are clustered around a “Common House” with facilities for children, cooking, dining, lounging, laundry, and guests. There is also a swimming pool, a community vegetable garden, and a workshop – 4,000 square feet of common facilities. In addition, seven single-family lots face Chief Kelly Drive, while the heavily forested six acres on the south side of the property will remain undeveloped.
The project incorporates many sustainable design elements. 80% of the electric needs will be met with a sophisticated photovoltaic system. Advanced framing techniques reduce 25% to 40% the amount of lumber used. Whole house fans, low E windows, skylights, and the installation of attractive and longwearing recycled building materials are also incorporated into the design. The General Contractor, Tintle, Inc., sub-contractors, and other trades worked hard to locate sustainably harvested lumber and other environmentally friendly materials for the project.
Nevada City Cohousing consists of 34 private homes that incorporate Victorian and Mother Lode architecture, ranging in size from two-bedroom flats to four-bedroom townhouses (860 to 1,680 square feet) on the 11-acre site.
House prices range from $255,000 to $450,000 and include five affordable units as part of Nevada City’s inclusionary housing program. Also, each of the single-family lots will have a rent-restricted secondary unit.
The site posed some unique challenges. In the 1860’s, hydraulic gold mining
was invented on the site. The washing away of hillsides with pressured hoses left
behind a ravaged, soil-depleted, “brown field.” Undeterred, Katie and Chuck were excited about the prospect of taking on the project. Chuck explains, “This project presented an excellent opportunity to stem the tide of housing sprawl in Nevada County, and build sustainable in-fill development and affordable housing at the same time.” Katie adds, ”We knew that with the right stewardship we could create beautiful place to live.” The couple, along with their 15-year-old daughter, are also new residents of Nevada City Cohousing community.
Inside the community, the energy-efficient town homes are clustered along pedestrian lanes where children can play without fear of cars, which are parked at the periphery. The residents have worked for four years to create their new neighborhood. During this planning process, participants have gotten to know each other well and have just moved into a neighborhood where they are already on a first-name basis with all of their neighbors.
The community’s residents range from a newborn to seniors. A few years ago, most residents did not know each other, and now they have created a neighborhood where everyone knows your name.
McCamant and Durrett Architects are also working on new cohousing communities in California--Grass Valley, Fresno, Truckee and Orangevale. For more information visit:
McCamant & Durrett Architects www.mccamant-durrett.com
Nevada City Cohousing www.nccoho.org
Cohousing Association of the United States www.cohousing.org
Directions to Nevada City Cohousing: Hwy. 49 to Nevada City, take Broad Street to Chief Kelly Drive then Redbud Way. Over flow parking is available at the Rood Center. The Grand Opening is from 2:00pm – 4:30pm. Opening Ceremony begins 3:00pm. Individual homes are open from 2:15pm-3:00pm.