How do you make sure a residential building where a dozen co-eds eat, sleep, work, and play doesn’t feel like a college dorm? “Co-living” startup Common is on a mission to find out.
The Brooklyn-based company, founded in 2015, operates a chain of fully furnished apartments where tenants, mostly young professionals and creatives, can rent bedrooms for varying lengths of time. Residents share common spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and even a roof deck, and participate in community events such as museum trips, bowling, and Sunday night dinners. The toilet paper is always in stock, and HBO GO streaming is ready-to-go upon move-in.
Common is a sweet solution for city transplants — if they can afford it. Rooms at Common’s first San Francisco outpost, which opens this week, start at about $A3,248 a month.
Business Insider has the exclusive look inside Common’s new San Francisco building.
Common's newest building is a 12-bedroom, 12-bath walk-up in San Francisco's up and coming (read: fast-gentrifying) SoMa neighbourhood.
Leases are flexible, and can last as few as three months or up to 12. There are only a few rooms still available at Common's newest location.
Unlike traditional dorms, Common's bedrooms are all single-occupancy (though couples may share a room). The rooms look straight out of a West Elm catalogue.
The space's aesthetic is what founder Brad Hargreaves calls 'Hudson Valley Americana,' a blend of warm, homey textures and industrial fixtures.
Each building in Common's real estate collection aims to honour characteristics that are unique to the site. The SoMa location features all original wood paneling.
Bedrooms start at $A3,248 per month, which is about $A1,000 less than the city's median rent for a one-bedroom apartment. But you get more than a place to lay your head.
Each floor accommodates six people and has a communal kitchen, souped up with a dishwasher and six-burner stove. Sunday night dinners are not uncommon at Common.
A cleaning crew comes once a week to mop, sweep, and scrub down the common areas. Private bathrooms and bedrooms are the tenants' responsibility.
Some bedrooms include a kitchenette with a sink, mini-fridge, and storage space. That's useful for the food-lover who has cooking gadgets that they don't want to keep in the common area.
The ultra-plush beds come with mattresses from Casper and linens from Parachute. Tenants can take their linens and towels with them after their lease ends.
Besides the furniture, the bedrooms are otherwise barren. A Common representative says they used to provide more decorations in the New York rooms, but tenants' feedback suggested those touches made the rooms feel like someone else's home.
Common squeezes personal storage space into surprising places, like above the bedroom closets. Ladders are provided.
When tenants move in, hangers are waiting in the closet so that settling in is as easy as unpacking your clothes.
About half of the tenants in the San Francisco location have private bathrooms, while half will share with one other resident. Shared commodes have doors that open into both rooms.
Rooftop access gives tenants a private place to sunbathe and space to grill a rack of ribs (through the grill is a little small for feeding a community this big).
The media has been quick to dub these co-living spaces 'dorms for adults,' but Brad Hargreaves, founder and CEO of Common, rejects the connotation.
'I've never really understood the dorm comparison because (the assumption is) the only time that people can interact with their neighbours is when they're in college,' Hargreaves tells Business Insider. 'We don't think that's the case at all.'
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