Written August 2018.
Andrea is passionate, opinionated, has lived in five communities ranging is size from 6 to 50, and has a unique perspective - in other words, she's the perfect interview subject. In particular, I loved her nuanced thoughts on diversity, and her exhortation to have a high bar in recruiting.
- "There has to be a heart to the house. Community is harder when you don't have one - where you can go into the house, do all your things, and not run into anyone else."
- "I would not start a house where everyone wasn't required to pay into food - that's how critical I consider sharing food to be for house culture."
- "The benefits of being internally focused is that it feels really nice... but as someone with more of a diverse identity: I honestly couldn't really relate to that. It feels like a super hippie thing to be so inner-facing. As someone who's spent parts of her life at various socioeconomic statuses: to limit our impact to ourselves feels not great to me."
- "Take diversity only if people can actually hold space for it... Always offering to pay for shit for the one low-income person in the house eventually will make them feel like shit and creates a weird power dynamic. No one wants to be the house's charity person. So are people genuinely going to be cool with not always going out to eat?"
- "Once someone feels unengaged, and like they haven't been participating, they feel guilty. So they pull away more, and then they spiral out."
- and yet: "Everyone should still check Slack. Spend literally five minutes to like, keep decision making going. That makes a gigantic difference. It's when people go silent, silence like fucks with everyone."
- "Strong gates, soft center. You'll have a lot less rules if you're really strict on who gets in"
All house names other than the Embassy and the Archive have been omitted.
Table of contents
A house needs a heart
You've grown too much when you can no longer host all the people at the same time in the heart of the home. And for your house, the fact that all the kitchens are divided... like, there has to be a heart to the house. At [a past house], when you walk in: it's the kitchen. Here, it's the dining room. It's harder when you don't have one - where you can go into the house, do all your things, and not run into everyone on all the other floors.
Why isn't the heart of [that past house] the backyard?
Well, I think it's both. But it's the fact that it's really hard to go about your day without going through the kitchen. You can go your whole day without being in the backyard unless you live in the cottage. But no one's gonna not go through the kitchen.]
We don't really have that. That's why Embassy has the porch, isn't it.