On April 27th, 2016 40 individuals linked to organisations affiliated with the home and the sharing economy gathered in a home near Brick Lane. From the outside this home may have seemed like many other shared flats, but when you entered you realised it was something much different. Called ‘CoHome’, this flatshare has achieved what may seem impossible. It was harmonised. It was a happy home.
As soon as you enter CoHome, the residence of 5 London tech workers, you can feel that the energy is different. As the guests began to gather, I reflected on my first experience with this truly ‘happy home’. It had been approximately 6 weeks earlier after a breakfast meeting with one of the household members, Jonathan Baillie Strong. He invited myself and acasa’s CEO, Nick Katz to come visit his home. It was 9 am, on a Wednesday and I was skeptical to enter a home at such an early hour on a weekday. Upon entering, I realised I was wrong to doubt. Rarely have I received such a warm reception in someone else’s home. Every single member of the house was thrilled to have guests visiting regardless of the hour. It was hugs and smiles as we met each of the housemates despite the fact they were still in their pajamas.
Amazed at this home’s charm, Nick and I discussed and then agreed to collaborate with Jonathan on figuring out how to share this experience of truly positive living with more people. The CoLiving Experiment was born.
CoLiving, is an emerging trend in cities around the world. The idea to have ‘shared housing designed to support a purpose-driven life’. We wanted to create an event that showcased coliving and how it connects to the sharing economy. Sharing economy ideals have been popularised by organisations like AirBnB and Bla Bla Car, but coliving is still in it’s infancy.
— Bernie J Mitchell (@BernieJMitchell) April 27, 2016
Beginning with prosecco and apertif, the group gathered. Standing on a rooftop surrounded by gorgeous street art and with the brisk Spring air around us, attendees anxiously waited to discover what the evening had in-store. The master of ceremonies of the event separated everyone into 5 groups. Guests learned that they would be visiting 5 different rooms around the home for 25 minutes each. Each room represented a different organisation connected to coliving. The guest’s quickly connected with their fellow team members. Below is a shot of ‘Team Yellow’ visiting the Splittable room.
Go team yellow!
— Eleanor Moss (@Eleanor_Moss) April 27, 2016
The organisations present had been uniquely chosen due to their connection to the home and were spread across 5 areas of the home.
Ouishare – connectors that organize local events to connect collaborative economy enthusiasts.
Vrumi – who allows you to rent peoples home to become your workplace for the day.
Shaken Cocktails – who delivers cocktail ingredients to your home monthly with easy to follow directions.
Peter Levics – an instrumental duo combining classical and folk elements that does private performances in the home.
La Belle Assiette – bringing world class chef’s straight to your home.
And ourselves, acasa – an expense tracking and splitting application for people sharing a home.
As the guests visited each room, I spent the evening hosting guests who were visiting the acasa room. Upon entering, guests gathered closely together with as many as 10 people clustering onto the room’s queen sized bed. We asked them to share stories of their shared living experiences and were amazed by some of the tales we heard. Some of the best included:
A stay at an AirBnB that included warnings of a man turning up at the door in a wolf mask, a car being flipped onto its hood and running through a corn field in the middle of the night. Yes, in one weekend!
When one of the attendees discovered upon returning home from vacation that his flatmate had used his £280 candle.
Stories of those who would truly rather not be sharing.
And a story of trusting (and having it work out) when the guy you met at a SpareRoom flatmating event asks you to pay the room deposit in cash and doesn’t provide a contract.
We heard stories of friendships that started and that ended all due to sharing a home.
It was the good, the bad and the crazy of sharing a home together.
Guest’s exclaimed that each room had brought such unique experiences. From live music to fantastic cuisine, it gave them new light on how a home could be and function. Everyone had thrived off the energy of this happy home. They got a glimpse at the way home services are changing they way we live. They saw that with the right mix of people, a shared rental can feed positive energy into our lives. That it is the person to person relationships you build in a property that turn a rental to a home. Coliving is the path.
5 mini experiences
Lots of awesome people
— Rishi Chowdhury (@rishi_chowdhury) April 27, 2016
Want to be involved in the next coliving event or share your opinions on what it is like to share a home? Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org Haven’t tried Splittable yet and want to use the app? Download it here.
Special thanks to Smartup Visuals for the illustrations!