A “highly curated community of like-minded individuals.”
July 31, 2015 2:23 PM   Subscribe

 
I like living in shared spaces. But this makes it sound as insufferable as any NYT trend piece generally does. I mean, "passionately disrupting," would you look.

Still, it would be great if there were an accessible business that made it possible to join a shared household of like-minded people without finding yourself in something like the Final Fantasy 7 House.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:31 PM on July 31, 2015 [16 favorites]


Wow, I wonder how much discrimination goes on in these places - even leaving out the "discrimination" aspect of the whole $4000/month luxury package, masseuse, etc. I wonder if they let, for example, fat people into the house. What about someone with a visible disability? Are there any Black people in any of these? Trans people?

Although actually, a "curated" group living situation wouldn't be such a bad idea if it were affordable and non-discriminatory. Let's say that you wanted to run a vegan house, or a house where everyone was a musician, or a house where there were serious film nights with a good viewing set-up twice a week. It's a real pain in the neck to run a group house (I've lived in shared housing for most of my adult life and show no sign of stopping any time soon); what if you could systematize it a bit and maybe afford to pay one long-term resident to be house manager? What if you had something halfway between your average group house and the trustafarian festival outlined here?

The tricky bit is personality - in a standard group house, you're really at people's whims. Someone who is lazy or noisy or mean or dishonest can be a real problem, and it's difficult to throw people out. And god knows, it's difficult to enforce rules. If you're lucky and smart, you can get a good stable set-up going and have long-term housemates with shared values, but you can also end up with a disaster. You can always interview people, but that sucks in its own way - not always the best way to evaluate someone, not always non-discriminatory, and it can feel so bad to turn someone down that you let them move in even if you know they shouldn't.

It might be possible to set something up with more rules and a different kind of vetting - references, an interview with a house manager, a streamlined process for kicking someone out, some way to track if - for example - you've had five trans applicants who meet all the normal criteria but you've never admitted any of them. Something where you wouldn't be promising a sort of social-climby-thing where you'll only meet useful, good-looking, wealthy people so you would only have to make sure that people could come up with a couple of references, wanted to live in the house and had the money.
posted by Frowner at 2:44 PM on July 31, 2015 [21 favorites]


paying from $1,600 to $4,000 a month for a room in an apartment

Takes the meaning of "commune" to whole new levels!
posted by bitteschoen at 2:44 PM on July 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


Leave it to the NYT to use "commune" as a synonym for "gated community."
posted by thetortoise at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2015 [76 favorites]


Stage 3 describes its mission as “passionately disrupting the housing industry by reimagining its process..."

* copious, bilious emesis *
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2015 [39 favorites]


The commune, monetized.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:54 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just like to daydream that in situations like this, periodically one of the "beautiful people" housemates just leaves suddenly overnight. No announcement, no forwarding address, just abruptly gone. Leaving their stuff behind to be sold for back rent.

Then the "landlord" in the attic, satiated for now, oozes over to the computer and sends out an advertisement for a new housemate...
posted by happyroach at 2:58 PM on July 31, 2015 [22 favorites]


From the landlord's POV: packing more people into less space, charging more, and having them on month-to-month leases. Do they then have fewer rights? Or are more likely to leave rather than demand you fix shit?

Giving this the side-eye.

Like Countess I am in general a fan of communal living, for those that want to. This reads more like rich kids playing at communal living.

or a house where everyone was a musician

haha no.
posted by emjaybee at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2015 [11 favorites]


Millennials invented liking people who like the things we like. That's why we are the best generation ever.

Hey, anybody like drinking, smoking pot, watching football, the occasional MLP marathon, and playing computer games? I have a great idea for a commune.

(Cowboys Fans Need Not Apply)
posted by Drinky Die at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2015 [6 favorites]


or a house where everyone was a musician

haha no


Oh, the point is to sequester the musicians so the rest of us don't have to live with them.

I once lived with a fellow who played both the accordion and bagpipes (though not at the same time). I've learned that even if one plays the accordion in the basement at the opposite end of the house, it is quite clearly audible on the second floor.

We had one of the other housemates' band practices in our house sometimes, too, but that wasn't as bad for some reason.

One of my current housemates sings tunelessly but with great joy while doing computer stuff and the other sings in the shower. This is all right, though, as the acoustics of the house are such that it's really only audible from one place, and it means that if I start talking to myself a bit as I sometimes do when washing dishes they can't complain.

See? We're a curated house - people with bad vocalization habits!
posted by Frowner at 3:07 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Prospective residents answer probing questions like “What are your passions?” and “Tell us your story (Excite us!).”

LEAVE NOT ONE STONE STANDING UPON ANOTH--ohohohoho nice try NYT, nice try, you almost got me there
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:19 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Millennials invented liking people who like the things we like. That's why we are the best generation ever.

"Different Like Everyone Else – The Musical Commune"
posted by a halcyon day at 3:23 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Cowboys Fans Need Not Apply)

As God intended.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's insufferable, and there's insufferable. And then there's "passionately disrupting the housing industry by reimagining its process, product and price points and curating an all-inclusive cosmopolitan living experience designed for today’s creative class.”
posted by dersins at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2015 [37 favorites]


don't curate me bro
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [34 favorites]


A “highly curated community of like-minded individuals.”

Like a treehouse.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:47 PM on July 31, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow, I wonder how much discrimination goes on in these places

I searched the site and couldn't find even the standard boilerplate Fair Housing disclaimer. This reminds me of the Uber FPP from a few days ago where people thought (or were misinformed) that ADA compliance didn't apply to Uber drivers. But unlike the drivers, these guys surely know housing discrimination is illegal. Even craigslist has a button to flag discriminatory ads. The omission smells to me like a big wink to applicants saying "Don't worry, we know what to look for." (Whatever that may be.)

I'm starting to see that "disrupting" really means "finding a way around all those pesky rules and regulations businesses have to follow."

Mitigating factor: Apparently there is a weekly supply of something called a Meta Shake.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2015 [10 favorites]


This doesn't sound that great. I mean, aside from the potential discrimnation lawsuits.

other tenants, who [...] stay a month or two at a time.

That sounds really temporary, and not at all like a situation where I can meet friends. Rather, it's just another version of "connecting" with a lot of people, but having (emotional) intimacy with none of them.

Also, you can get massages and cleaning services yourself. Almost any house that I know that's sane, with more than 4 tenants, gets a regular cleaning service, because it's necessary. That's not a perk. That's the landlord protecting his asset.
posted by ethidda at 3:52 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is this like a housing cooperative without any of the legal or economic benefits and only half of the social benefits? But rebranded as something new and disruptive. That is so milennial.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2015 [13 favorites]


Apparently there is a weekly supply of something called a Meta Shake.

Well that sounds a hell of a lot better than the Weta Shake everybody had to drink at the New Zealand commune
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:06 PM on July 31, 2015 [7 favorites]


Apparently there is a weekly supply of something called a Meta Shake.

It's a shake made out of shakes!
posted by dersins at 4:20 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


This isn't a commune. In a commune, the inhabitants own the property together, as opposed to just.. paying rent to a property management company and being given random roommates. So there's a personality interview? So what? That doesn't make this a commune.
posted by unknownmosquito at 4:21 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


They say commune; they mean tenement.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2015 [8 favorites]


I haven't even read the article yet and the interior decoration is enough to make me vomit.
posted by dis_integration at 5:03 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only thing these beautiful ding-dongs actually have in common is that they somehow have never heard of the Rooms/Shared section of Craigslist.

$4000 for a spot in a 4 bedroom apartment full of twenty something barista-musicians paying rent month-to-month, plus one older weirdo who thinks of himself as a the 'house dad'? Yes, there are about twelve zillion of these and the going rate is like $1100/month tops, hello babies, this is the real world calling, you are getting ripped off.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 5:26 PM on July 31, 2015 [25 favorites]


A “highly curated community of like-minded individuals.”

Like a treehouse.


I lived in a warehouse for a few years that started as "workshop and occasional party space that 5 people live in" that gradually transitioned into "party space that 5 people live in" as the resident makeup changed.

It was called The Treehouse.
posted by flaterik at 5:37 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also the rent for the ENTIRE BUILDING started at $5300 a month and we got rent breaks for doing improvements to the space so it probably wasn't a comparable situation in any way.

But that really was what we called it.

It is now a couple of recording studios, and the foot thick door I built out of MDF and insulation to keep the absurdly loud dance music in the back half of the building from being INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS on Grand Ave in Downtown LA allows the ability for them to have two, so I'm happy that a lot of the work we did survived everyone's departure after I left and the party kids stopped being careful about giving the police plausible deniability about whether it was a big house party because we happen to like that and have a lot of friends or if it's been rented out for a party come on guys I enforced the no cash at the door rule for a reason and that reason was to keep a line of people from spilling out onto a major street the police aren't STUPID and I digress.
posted by flaterik at 5:43 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was wondering how long it would take for VC-style "lets disrupt this" culture to catch up with shady, often vaguely illegal lease-by-room craigslist houses near college campuses. Apodments were halfway there.

Is there nothing they can't make shittier?
posted by emptythought at 5:47 PM on July 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


This in SF:

"Doing dishes is out of scope, let's put that on the backlog for now and get to it in next month's sprint."
posted by oceanjesse at 6:09 PM on July 31, 2015 [21 favorites]


So basically, this is like the $200-a-month room I rented in a group house in Adams Morgan when I was 23, except like ten times as much money, funded by venture capitalists, and aimed at "tech-savvy millennials" whose parents are probably paying their rent? This does not seem like a story. Or rather, this seems like a New York Times trend story.

I don't know. As a certified grownup, I don't want to live in this kind of arrangement, but it makes sense when you're 23. And they're probably right that it's harder to find group houses in New York than in many other cities. I still think this is a gooftastic story about something that is not going to affect the overwhelming majority of young people who sort of wish they still lived in a dorm.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:25 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


Robert Charles Wilson's most recent book is an interesting exploration of how something like this could evolve and spread.

Although he's no Peter Watts, by "interesting", I mean "sleep-disrupting for several months".
posted by scrump at 6:39 PM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's called an 'illegal SRO' (Single Room Occupancy)
posted by sexyrobot at 7:12 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


A babysitting service for nervous rich parents, live in, cotillion, the pupae stage, an arresting development. Ewwww...
posted by Oyéah at 7:14 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am incredibly glad to no longer have roommates, but there were aspects of college dorm living that I miss. Somewhere there might be a perfect housing situation that contains only the good and not the bad, but this article is not describing it.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:34 PM on July 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


At first I was like "Damn one of those snake people is totally going to go nuts and kill everyone, just wait" but then I realized I had that extension on. It can go up to 4k a month for a room in an upscale apodment? I'm looking around and noticed I could get a place all to my self from my current management company in SF for that.
posted by mcrandello at 11:43 PM on July 31, 2015


But now, a few companies are assembling bundles of apartments in New York with plans to fill them with cherry-picked inhabitants.

The Future Will Be Beautiful (People)™
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:57 PM on July 31, 2015


What job do you have to get to afford $4000 a month for rent? I'm a mid-career software engineer and that would be pretty much my whole take home pay.
posted by octothorpe at 3:36 AM on August 1, 2015


Well, this makes sense. The rents of individual apartments go up to 4000 a month, so people share with roommates, and their individual rents are still 1000 a month, even though they may be living in a closet.

So now the clever, clever Masters of the Universe have figured out how to raise the rent on an individual room to 4K a month. I assume that in 24 months or so all the apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn will be following this model, and then people will start to share rooms: bunkbed dorms are in our futures.

At least until the rent on individual bunks goes to 4000 a month. Then all bets are off.
posted by jrochest at 3:37 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


* copious, bilious emesis *

I was just about to ask to be pointed in the direction of the person whose shoes I needed to vomit on.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:55 AM on August 1, 2015


I don't know. As a certified grownup, I don't want to live in this kind of arrangement, but it makes sense when you're 23.

While I think this shared housing implementation is gross, I can also see how the concept could be extremely attractive for other certified grownups. Communal living has a lot to offer. But none of the things this communal living offers are anything I want.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:05 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


What job do you have to get to afford $4000 a month for rent? I'm a mid-career software engineer and that would be pretty much my whole take home pay.
posted by octothorpe at 6:36 AM on August 1


I can eat cheeeeeeap. Main thing is, for me at least, I think I'd rather walk to work and spend over half my income on my place than deal with rooming with people I don't know again. The place also has W/D hookups.
posted by mcrandello at 5:22 AM on August 1, 2015


At least until the rent on individual bunks goes to 4000 a month. Then all bets are off.

Where's the ancient-ish FPP about that "hacker commune" or whatever euphemism in an SF warehouse where a bunk, -a literal bunk-, was like $1500+ a month? It was like, "open floor plan" barracks style rows of bunks too + a deskless communal workspace and the entire thing looked like a sweatshop.

I couldn't finish the article in one shot because i was laughing too hard and then getting hit by waves of dread that seattle was only a couple years out from that as well.
posted by emptythought at 5:24 AM on August 1, 2015


I experienced something very much like this lo these 22 years ago when I was looking for an apartment share in Park Slope; the current residents of the multi-bedroom flat wanted to interview potential roommates for general compatibility and some indication that we'd contribute to the general zeitgeist of the place, and what ensued was a very uncomfortable group chat in which we applicants clearly didn't want to say anything that might get us kicked out of the running, and none of the current residents, whatever exemplary qualities they might have had, had no particular facility at ice-breaking or keeping the conversation going. Three of us left at about the same time, and our consensus was, "well, no matter how hard it is to find a good apartment share, at least we dodged that bullet."
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:59 AM on August 1, 2015


Where's the ancient-ish FPP about that "hacker commune" or whatever euphemism in an SF warehouse

I'm not sure about that one but I just happened to make a post about something similar.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:54 AM on August 1, 2015


Metafilter: A “highly curated community of like-minded individuals.”
posted by cynical pinnacle at 8:05 AM on August 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


What job do you have to get to afford $4000 a month for rent?

If you use the rough yardstick that rent/mortgage is a max of 30 percent of your gross annual income, then you make this work with a salary of $144,000 a year.

That's a little high, but definitely within the ballpark, for senior engineers in SF.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 AM on August 1, 2015


That's why I live in the rust belt. I don't think that I've ever paid more than 15% of my gross income on rent or mortgage. I don't make $144K but I can afford a house in the middle of the city in a walkable neighborhood.
posted by octothorpe at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2015


Maybe I'm getting old but isn't this just simply "picking a roommate?" Or am I missing something in my advanced years? Group home for adult children that need a lot of human interaction?
posted by Muncle at 3:48 PM on August 1, 2015


In very expensive cities that also have lots of young people wanting to do startups, there is a lot of weird activity around housing and living situations.

Dealbreaker recently did a bit on shipping container living and other oddities.
posted by theorique at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2015


I think of all the good ways in which this Pure House idea might resemble my long-ago mists-of-time college dorm experiences, complete with all-night bull sessions about the meaning of life and loud testosterone-rock music playing on an endless loop, along with the occasional James Taylor or Tracy Chapman track for "variety." Then I remember that that was a long time ago, that I didn't really like Tracy Chapman much, and that the good nostalgia usually crowds out the unpleasant memories of catty incestuousness, unaddressed sexual tension, boorish inappropriate behavior, smelly cramped rooms with crap lying in piles everywhere, and existential ennui. And I shudder in revulsion.
posted by blucevalo at 8:53 PM on August 1, 2015


i've kind of been thinking about this from the opposite end wrt low-income assisted living facilities like 'green houses' in terms of opening them up for 'mixed generation' use. like i remember reading about a place where seniors could volunteer at affordable day care centers (which reminded me of ponyo where the nursing home is right next to the school ;) anyway, i recently learned about honor -- an 'uber for elderly care' -- and i was thinking why not make it more like airbnb where you could negotiate more permanent arrangements!
posted by kliuless at 9:56 PM on August 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is dorm life, for people with money to spare.

I wonder if there are surprise room inspections.
posted by inertia at 1:15 PM on August 2, 2015


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