As the co-living craze sweeps Europe, cities with strong existing rental markets like Berlin and Copenhagen have wholeheartedly embraced the trend. But when it comes to communal spaces to call home, the US has been slower to adopt the concept. Outside of the Bay Area – an anomaly where co-living has become widespread thanks to the high concentration of young creatives and tech workers living in a city with spiralling living costs – fears of ‘roommate roulette’ have put many Americans off. Now all that looks set to change.
A flurry of fresh, stylish new communal living spaces launching across the country appears to be breathing new life into the sector. From country retreat-style lodges to sleek city centre pads, here are five of the most popular US co-living schemes.
Ollie, New York
The east coast experience
Despite now having outposts in LA and Pittsburgh, everything about the Ollie brand has stayed true to its NYC roots. Originally set up in Kips Bay Manhattan by a pair of college roommates, it now has all-inclusive spaces in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn and one in Boston which blow all preconceived ideas of dingy, student-style co-living out of the water. From high-spec hotel-style designs to amenities including pools, gyms, spa areas, juice bars and roof decks – which Ollie members can access at any of the growing network of buildings – this is a slick, high-end way to live. Think Gossip Girl meets Soho House.
Facts and figures: An Ollie’s studio apartment costs from around $2,300 a month for a 260-360 sq ft space. It comes fully furnished and the rent covers all bills including Wi-Fi and cable, weekly cleaning, linen change, use of the amenities and on-site social events.
The Forge, Portland
The homeworking haven
When it comes to working away from a traditional office, lugging your laptop from coffee shop to coffee shop isn’t for everyone. It’s loud, it’s public and when a latte costs upwards of $2 a pop, it can be deceptively expensive. The flipside is that working from home can be undeniably lonely. That is where The Forge co-living space in Portland, Oregon comes in. This huge, newly refurbished 8-bedroom house includes a 400 sq ft coworking space in the back yard plus a community kitchen, sunroom and basement tea lounge. A co-living/working hybrid, this is the epitome of a shared space bringing people together. Within walking distance of Montavilla’s restaurants and coffee shops and a bike-ride away from Mount Tabor, this US co-living space gives tenants more than just a space to live and work through easy access to the Portland way of life.
Facts and figures: A room in this 3,617 sq ft property in northeast Portland costs between $750-$925 a month in rent.
For city slickers
From New York to Washington and from San Fran to Seattle, Common has approached co-living design from an almost scientific perspective in each of its properties. South-facing windows where possible, carefully planned storage solutions in each of the bedrooms and kitchens and communal areas designed from the outset to be shared; there is a reason these US co-living spaces have become some of the most popular. Particularly for those looking to live in city centres on a budget. From the interior design through to the finishes and down to the art on the walls, the style in each property is carefully curated and showcased in a look book that can be researched online in advance. The company motto on design says it all: ‘The recipe for Common design is equal parts data, feedback and heart.’
Facts and figures: Rent at any one of the Common studios is a flat rate of $1,650 which includes all utilities, Wi-Fi, cleaning and use of the onsite washer/dryer.
Euclid Manor, Oakland
Co-living for creatives
This one-off space is all about fostering the creative vibe that has become synonymous with Oakland. California soul with a hint of a tech startup atmosphere, this US co-living outpost – one of Opendoor’s group of community houses – is just far enough removed from the San Francisco bustle to exude a more natural, rustic charm. Traditional, relaxed and surrounded by wraparound wooden decking, the theme of Euclid Manor is transformation and social impact through resident-led creative projects and social ventures. The focus here is on community above all else – tenants call themselves Euclidians and have ‘family dinners’ twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Facts and figures: This 6,200 sq ft property can accommodate 11 residents with rent starting at $1,300 a month.
Made in the Midwest
Sleek, modern interiors with brushed silver and grey kitchens, salvaged furniture upstairs and a vast, graffiti-emblazoned bike basement downstairs, The L at Logan Square is what urban living dreams are made of. Available to rent by the room or apartment (there are 120), each space is clutter-free but homely. The apartments all have a similar vibe and style thanks to a series of partnerships that have been forged with Chicago-based businesses. These include foam mattress provider Leesa, local sofa company Interior Define and, of course, Chicago Salvage Works which kits the spaces out with reclaimed coffee, kitchen and end tables, benches and wine racks. With Second Shift coworking space and Bangtel hotel on site at Logan Square, there has never been a better time to take The L.
Facts and figures: A 395 sq ft studio starts from $695 a month for a basic package going up to $2,125 for premium. Rent for a 1,603 sq ft, four-bedroom apartment starts at $2,029 a month and will set you back $6,500 a month for the premium package.