A Communal Kitchen

updated May 2, 2019
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This wonderful video from Etsy features an unusual living situation: a variation on a commune in which four families share a beautiful piece land on the California coast. Each family has their own house, but the bathing and kitchen areas are shared. What do you think? Could you share a kitchen with three other families?

The house featured in the video belongs to Nikki Silva, one half of the well-known and respected radio series duo called the Kitchen Sisters. Nikki and her husband Charles Prentiss have been living in this arrangement since the 70s when they, together with seven other people, purchased land overlooking the gorgeous Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz, CA.

Eventually, each family ended up with an individual home, but the heart of the community is a large central house that contains bathing facilities and an enormous kitchen. Each night everyone gathers for dinner that was cooked by some one in the community, on a rotation system. In many ways the group seems like a family, enjoying the best of both worlds: the support and nourishment of community along with the privacy of individual units.

The kitchen, indeed the whole compound, is quite beautiful. There’s a big professional stove, and lots of counter space and light. Even more stunning is the outdoor cooking area with a huge fireplace and pizza oven. Just the land alone would have been too much for an average person to afford, not to mention two amazing kitchens. In many cultures, especially in the past, it was not unusual for people to share kitchen and bathing areas. Only the very wealthy could afford their own facilities.

This way of living isn’t for everyone, it’s true, but it does seem to have some advantages. How about you? Would you be willing trade a little autonomy and privacy for a chance to eat dinner every night with some very interesting people in a very beautiful place?