July 29, 2020  Newsletter
Let's get to know each other. 
Attend one of our virtual Meet & Greets
on August 1 or August 11, or by arrangement. See details below.
View this Newsletter in your browser
Share this Newsletter with a friend.
Visit the Newsletter archive to learn more about Village Hearth Cohousing
(in Durham, NC)  and our members.

Personalizing Our Homes

Our members are gathering in Durham, North Carolina, and moving into our new homes.  In the two months since Village Hearth construction was completed, 22 members have moved in and more are continuing to arrive.  One of the (many!) fun things about moving in is the excitement of choosing how to decorate and arrange furniture, and what special customization projects to pursue.  

Many of us have chosen fun paint colors to make our walls exciting and special.  Part of the fun is in making personal choices to express individuality -- and part of it is sharing ideas and inspirations (and contractors and plans) with our friends and neighbors.  It reflects the "best of both worlds" balance that defines cohousing, the blending of individual private choices and shared community.
This month we thought we'd take you on a "tour" of a few of our projects transform-ing the base white interiors into individual beloved homes with added personality.

Barbara’s green wall and some of the artwork that will go on it.  What a great use of the space!  Vaulted ceilings with a high peak leave room for a gallery.

Kim & Carol chose colors with a "Key West" theme, and have decorated with seashore inspired items.

Transformation in progress!  The bold colors provide a clear separation of the kitchen and living room sections of the bright great room.

Part of the fun is figuring out how to arrange it all! Linda is designing a cozy space for herself and her terrier.

Painting the shelves and walls light blue, and the closet doors dark blue, ties everything together with a unique look.  This is the room shown in the sketch.

The Landscape Circle Explores

The landscape committee started meeting on Zoom and now has plenty to do on the site.  In addition to the Village Green where our houses are located, we have twelve acres of wild forest, including a stream and a pond.  The landscape committee has been scouting for smaller saplings suitable for transplanting closer to the community, and delighting to discover serviceberry, persimmon,  elm, maple, redbud, and paw paw.

Discussions are underway to create a vision for the Village Green, adding color and function while creating a space that encourages interactions.  We want to rely largely on native plants that are suited to the environment.  We're looking for high-impact, low maintenance plantings that will be welcoming to pollinators.  

Where should we put the fire pit?

The Landscape commitee, on the ground, checking out what species we have.  

Pat & Margaret were the original visionaries who launched Village Hearth back in 2015. Now they have moved into their home overlooking the Village Green and the Common House. Margaret loves spending time on the glorious front porch, enjoying the summer breeze.

Would you like to join us?

If seeing all these pictures is making you wish YOU were moving in too... it's not too late!  We've saved a home for you.  Choose from either  of our 2-bedroom floor plans, or take a look at our newly available 1-bedroom home. It won't last long!

Visit Virtually ...


Please join us for an online Meet & Greet via Zoom. You can socialize with some of our members, and we'll answer your questions about cohousing and Village Hearth. 

Upcoming Online Meet & Greet Events:
 Saturday,  August 1, 2:30 pm Eastern Time
     Tuesday, August 11, 6:00pm Eastern Time
To register, please write to and indicate which date you'd like to attend.  If this time don't work for you, contact Pat at or Margaret at 561-714-8009 to set up a personal meeting.
If you like what you see, you will be invited to follow up with a "Nitty Gritty" session to learn more.  

This is such an exciting time to join Village Hearth Cohousing, while everything is built and ready to move into, but you can still be a part of the process of defining how our community will operate.  

        ...or In Person


We have now begun to welcome visitors to tour the community and the available homes, by prior arrangement.  We do follow all COVID-19 guidelines for real estate, so wearing a mask and observing social distancing are required for everyone's safety. 

Please contact Pat at or Margaret at 561-714-8009 for more information, or to make an appointment to visit Village Hearth. 

About the homes for sale

- 1 BR / 1 BA;    641 sq ft   $310,000
- 2 BR / 1 BA;    989 sq ft   $375,000
- 2 BR / 2 BA; 1,157 sq ft   $409,000

- Single story / no-barrier entry
- Vaulted ceilings / skylight
- Accessible bathroom w/ roll-in shower
- Covered front porch
- Generous closets 
- City water / sewer
- Electric water heater / heat pump / central air
- 2 parking spaces
- HOA dues $305/$357/$413 per month includes: water / sewer / trash / recycling; cable / internet; pest and termite control.  Also ongoing maintenance of: Common House / grounds, exteriors / roofs of homes; parking / sidewalks; stormwater pond. Insurance of common areas including as-built home replacement. Minimum 30% Reserve Fund.
- Architecture by Charles Durrett, internationally known designer of cohousing communities

- Ages 55+ senior cohousing community
- 28 condos attached in quads
- 2605 sq ft Common House (which is co-owned by all Members)
  •  Kitchen, dining/meeting
  •  Sitting / game room
  •  Laundry, exercise, craft rooms
- Electric car charging station
- 450 sq ft workshop
- Planned dog park, art studio, community garden
- Planned walking trails through our woods, meditation garden, chickens

- 15 minutes to downtown Durham, 9th Street, Duke University Medical Center
- 1 - 3 miles to grocery, pharmacy, gym, library, post office
- 4.5 miles to Duke Regional Hospital
- 1/4 mile to Mountains to Sea Trail along Eno River
- 2 miles to West Point on the Eno
- 3 miles to Penny's Bend Nature Preserve
What to do with all that "stuff"?  Here's one approach, described by member BarbaraS.  Others who have just moved in said they wished they had read this BEFORE they started packing!

Drastic Downsizing  

I write this knowing few people will think this is good advice, or advice they 
could actually take, but I’ve been observing move-ins at Village Hearth 
Cohousing for nearly a month, and had my own experience, so here goes.

Downsizing from a large, typical American home, where you are surrounded by the 
things you’ve acquired over a lifetime, in order to move to a far smaller home 
in a senior cohousing community is a project few of us can approach with any 
equanimity.  It’s rather terrible.  Those who make a party of it by having yard 
sales, inviting friends to take part, combining it with farewells and social 
occasions are on a more positive track.  But having done some of those things 
during my move from Boston to Durham, NC, I’ve been totally exhausted by it 
all, and a total of four separate moves of my stuff from home, to storage, to 
sorting location, to an apartment in Durham, and finally to Village Hearth was 
an exhausting year that cost nearly $10,000 that I shelled out to various 
moving companies, and gave in tips to those who shouldered the burden.  That’s 
how much I paid to haul my things about.
One of my new neighbors did not do that. She came from a distant state, also. Before she came, she decided to divest herself of everything but that which she could fit into six boxes of true significance. She moved in very easily, and her moves cost her almost nothing at all. Instead of being faced with unpacking for weeks, trying to fit all the things she couldn’t part with into various nooks and crannies in her new home, her space is virtually empty. Now, she’s acquiring a few things slowly to fill her new home.
I wish I had done that.  I’d have saved thousands of dollars with which I could 
have bought a few new, striking pieces of furniture that would compliment my 
new vaulted interior of 650 square feet. I’d have saved my back, and my legs, 
the countless hours at every juncture when I had to lift, push, unpack (or 
pack) and fume over what almost, but did not quite, fit.  Yes, there’s some 
comfort in the familiarity of my “stuff,” and I’m very glad (as a baker) to 
have my heavy stand mixer sitting on a corner of the counter in my new home.   
But it was all very costly in money, time, and energy.  The delight of buying 
some new things (and maybe a new mixer), things that would have been perfect 
for this new space, may have compensated a great deal for the losses.

So that’s my advice. For those contemplating expensive, long distance moves 
especially.  Instead of sorting, making one pile of things you can part with 
and one of things you can’t, let it all go (except for those very valuable 
items you can fit into your SUV or your car, and of course your dog and cat!).  
Start over with your new life, in more ways than you even thought you would.  
It’s a bold, scary thing to do.  Maybe few can do it. But it would bring great 
benefits…including not least among them, the benefit of letting go, and 
breaking attachments that hold you back.

                  - Barbara Simkowski, Village Hearth member

Village Hearth Cohousing’s Facebook Page

Recent posts on the Village Hearth Facebook Page include photos of our workshop, a separate building for our community power tools and gardening supplies, and the illustrated story of how we came to be in the possession of 2.5 truckloads of mulch!

You don't need a Facebook account to view our page:
Copyright © 2020 Village Hearth Cohousing, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp