Common House

The common house is the heart of our community life. We cook, eat, play, socialize, celebrate, meet, host events, and work together at the common house. It is an extension of our individual homes and allows us to live in smaller private homes than we might need outside of cohousing.

We have various rooms dedicated to specific purposes. Most rooms in the common house can be reserved for private reasons if you want to host a birthday party, a wedding, game day, or yoga class.

Virtual Tour

Industrial kitchen

In the kitchen, we cook optional group meals four or five times a week. Much of our social interaction is based around eating together. In addition – dining together, and not worrying about creating a menu, shopping, cooking, and washing your own dishes afterwards makes common meals particularly attractive to most busy families. Work surrounding common meals is part of our regular community work system.

Dining room

We also host various community-wide and private events in the common house. These have included dance parties, facilitation training sessions, costume parties, a wedding, several baby showers, birthday parties, graduation parties, board game nights, origami club meetings, and so on.

Children’s play room

One of the few places in the common house that can not be reserved, our children can always feel welcome to use their play room. This includes a loft built by our parents, various toys, and a crafts closet.

Game room

Our game room sees regular active use on the ping pong table. We also have a piano, a movie screen for use with a digital projector, and a stereo. This room is often used for other activities such as yoga classes.

TV / media room

Many households don’t feel the need to own their own television, since the community owns a rather nice large screen TV. We have a satellite connection, DVD player, and surround sound. Our TV gets regular use for daily TV watching, but has also been a focus of community around large events. We’ve had large gatherings to watch presidential debates, election returns, piston championship games, the olympics, the Super Bowl, UM football, and Saturday morning fishing programs.

Sitting room

Our sitting room is a place for us to relax and talk with our neighbors. Many times committee meetings will take place here, using the gas fireplace to add some coziness.

GO-Net campus Network

The Common House has a communications closet that is the hub of our campus Ethernet network. GO-Net provides low-cost, high-speed broadband Internet LAN and WIFI access as well as a shared laser printer and computer in the Common House.

Laundry Room

The laundry room is available for the use of all members of the community. Some members choose to do their laundry at the common house instead of purchasing their own machines. This economy of scale can make living in Great Oak more affordable, and easier on the environment.

Recreation Room

We have limited space, but we have managed to fit in a treadmill and a elliptical trainer for those not interested in owning their own. We also have a hot tub for outdoor soaking.

Guest Room

The guest room is used on a regular basis. Whether the guest is family, friends, or a special guest.


We have two restrooms. One is adjacent to the guest room, and is equipped with a bathtub-style wheelchair accessible shower. The other features a baby changing table.

Three private offices

We have 3 offices which are rented out to members of the community. These members find it convenient to be able to work so close to home, and yet keep their workspaces separate from their living spaces. This has proven to be rather convenient for our members whose business relies upon seeing clients.

Mailboxes and cubbies

Our US postal mail is delivered to the common house, which gives us yet another excuse to run into each other and engage in social activities. We also have cubbies, making it easier to hand off notes, announcements, misdelievered mail, save meals, etc. to our neighbors.

Solar Hot Water Heater

The Common House has a Solar Hot Water system that augments the natural gas powered hot water heater.

Solar Photovoltaic electricity


The Common House has a 19.44kw Solar Photovoltaic array to generate electricity that is net metered.