Highlights From Our San Francisco Opening Party

This past Sunday, Common members, friends, and our team all met to celebrate the opening of our first West Coast neighborhood, SoMa. We’re working to build a strong community in our homes, and a major part of this is bringing people together.

Our community in SoMa was immediately off to a great start as one member from our Albany home, in Crown Heights joined as House Leader as soon as our San Francisco announcement was made. Having Kamilah help start this brand new community is essential. Our House Leaders are the glue that keeps their home together; from welcoming new members to planning events our House Leaders are there.

One of the benefits we were so excited to provide through Common, is the flexibility to live in community wherever you are. With our West Coast neighborhood opening this past summer, we’re achieving that. Members who have to move for work or would like to get to know a new neighborhood can transfer homes within 24 hours. Across our four homes now open, many members have taken advantage of this flexibility, experienced new homes, and became friends with their new suitemates.

At our first party on the West Coast, we were excited to take advantage of the beautiful roof deck, enjoy some drinks and fantastic conversations with Common team, members, and their friends. As the party wound down, guests played Jenga, Cards Against Humanity, and enjoyed feeling very retro by snapping some pics with the home’s polaroid camera.

Minna’s members are already planning several outings for September and October. Some ideas were local architecture tours of San Francisco, a Stanford Football game, and a Dragon Boat Festival at Lake Merritt. Look out for recaps of those member led events soon and read about our past events here.

Check out some highlights from the event below:

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Want to be apart of our community? Join us today.

Meet our Summer Interns

This past summer, Common was lucky to have a handful of interns working on teams from Real Estate to Finance to Community. Three of our summer interns, Alice, Song, and Lior share what it was like working at Common and the projects their teams are working on.


ALICE -Space Intern at Common

alice space intern design construction

Tell us a bit about yourself

Alice: I’m 26, recently moved here from Australia. I grew up in Adelaide but I’ve lived in Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, Worcester (UK), and now Williamsburg, Brooklyn at our Havemeyer home! I did my bachelors in design studies in Adelaide and then my masters in Architecture in Newcastle.

Alice featured on our photowall.

Alice featured on the photowall at Havemeyer along with other members and team members.

Before I moved to New York, I was working in Sydney as a set designer on Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant. I’m currently on the Space team at Common, we take on the construction and interior design of Common homes.

Why did you want to intern at Common?

A: In architecture school, we spent a lot of time analyzing the way people live and interact, and our environmental impact as humans, always considering alternatives and better ways of living. I really love how Common resets our expectations on how we ‘should live.’ I don’t believe people were ever meant to live alone.

I also find the idea that every person should have their own washer, dryer, kitchen table, sink, shower, toilet, set of pots and pans ridiculous. It leaves us feeling inadequate when we can’t afford these things, or frustrated when we have to buy low-quality items and they constantly break (don’t forget, affording the space these things take up and the environmental cost of producing them).

I love how Common allows people to have access to high quality, well-designed things that rarely need replacing. Especially when we are able to source those things from local designers or manufacturers, or other startups.

Finally, working at a startup in itself is such a great learning experience. In other established organizations people become set in their ways, systems are already in place and there is no process of self-reflection. At Common, we are always examining ourselves and checking if our processes are as good as they could be. It is a great process to witness.

What is your team working on?

A: Currently, we’re putting the final touches on two homes in San Francisco and one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We also have two homes completing renovation in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which should open in the next few months.

Describe what working on the team is like?

A: Great, fast-paced, and satisfying. There is nothing nicer than seeing a completed home with everything in place. In my day-to-day, I mainly correspond with suppliers and contractors and make choices about furniture for homes.

What has been your favorite part of working at Common?

A: The awesome group of people! Everybody here has been so welcoming and helpful. It helps that we all clearly have the same major goal too. Surprisingly that is not always the case in some offices, but I really feel it here. People are very supportive of each other’s ideas and respectful of each other.

What is something you learned working at Common?

A: For me, personally, I’ve been able to work on my organization and communication skills. In architecture, it’s easy to get carried away with the creative side of things and forget logistics. Working at Common has been an awesome chance to learn about various project management tools, timelines, and real-world budgets. Experiences that would have taken a longer in most architecture firms.

SONG -Software Engineering Intern at Common


Tell us a bit about yourself.

Song: I’m 23 and currently studying computer science at Columbia University with a focus on machine learning. I did my undergraduate degree in telecommunications engineering at Xidian University in China, which is where I grew up.

The choice to move to America was mainly because there are great programs for IT and computer science here. I also wanted to challenge myself to explore and meet new people in a new country. I work on the Digital Product team at Common.

Why did you want to intern at Common?

S: I really wanted to work at a startup because it’s exciting and there’s always a lot of work to do. Definitely not a typical or boring internship in any way. A huge component of why I wanted to work here is all of the communication between teams.

I worked not only with the Digital Product team but with pretty much everyone else. This helped me know what everyone needed, which is integral for an engineer. In a startup, you have to ask yourself questions like: Is this a design issue or an engineering issue? Does this help the team or the customers? And you have to do a little bit of everything.

digital product team common

Some of the members of our digital product team hard at work.

I love being able to see a raw idea into a product in a short period of time with the help of my team. At big companies, they reserve only very small projects for interns and you don’t have much communication with senior staff, you don’t know the meaning of your work, you just finish what you need to do and go home. That was not my experience here at all.

What are you currently working on?

S: I’m currently working on a Slack integration. We’d like to create automatic welcome messages for new members and other custom messages for our team to communicate with the members seamlessly, among other things.

What has been your favorite part of working at Common?

S: Definitely being able to interact with different team members, everyone is super smart. I can learn from them and everyone is very open to chat if I have questions. But more importantly, I’ve met people who have become role models for me, people who are doing exactly what I want to be doing, people who I can learn from and are excited to teach me.

What is something you learned working at Common?

S: I love coding more now than I ever have. I’ve found that I’m more interested in it when it’s not based on coursework when I get to be creative. I’ve been coding more in my non-work hours, as well, just for fun.


LIOR -Community Intern at Common


Tell us a bit about yourself

Lior: I was born in Israel and moved to America when I was very young. I’m 20, currently a student at Boston College studying Applied Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Studies, and minors in both English and Management.

Why did you want to intern at Common?

L: I am usually the event planner in my circles, whether it’s organizing a weekend at the beach for one hundred people or just making dinner for friends. I love all of the little details that go into making something happen, and I love knowing that others around me are having a good time. When I heard that the Community team was looking for an intern, I jumped at the opportunity to apply.

What is your team working on?

L: Other than the day-to-day, we’re working on some big and exciting things, like destination homes for our members. We did one this summer in the Berkshires and it was a success, so I’m currently scouting different homes for the Winter.

berkshires hike

Our members on a hike during their Berkshires trip.

Describe what working on the team is like?

L: Amazing. We’re a small team and as a result we are constantly communicating with each other, with members, and with the other teams to see what we can do. I’d describe our team as fast-paced and highly reactive. We are always available to members and to each other.

What do you do?

L: I do a variety of things, from chatting with members on Slack to planning outings and events for them. I also reach out to local businesses that we’d like to work with. I do some office tasks, but most of my day-to-day is highly active and social. It never feels like work.

What has been your favorite part of working at Common?

L: My favorite part of working at Common has definitely been getting the chance to work with extremely intelligent and motivated people. Everyone’s energy is contagious, and there’s a lot of communication between teams. If I show interest in another team, it’s very easy for me to hop onto one of their projects or working groups.

What is something you learned working at Common?

L: I learned so much here, yet most of all I realized that I want to work with people. Previously, I worked in a laboratory, alone in a windowless office. Common was the exact opposite of this. I was constantly interacting with and learning from people. I learned how important it was to have a great team. It wouldn’t have been the same if everyone hadn’t been so encouraging and open to teaching and mentoring.

We will feature three more of our interns from the Digital Product, Admissions, Marketing, and Real Estate teams next month. Interested in helping make housing better? Apply here to join our team.

Our Favorite Comedy Clubs in NYC

As summer in New York City took a sweltering turn towards the end of August (see: ninety-degree-plus weather), our members searched for ways to enjoy NYC without subjecting themselves to the heat. Two of our members – Bryan (Crown Heights) and Charmaine (Williamsburg) – took initiative and led their own outings to explore the great indoors. They took members to comedy shows to enjoy more than a few laughs as well as hang out while grabbing a drink or two.

member led event august comedy

Bryan organized an event for members from all of our homes to see Trike, TimeOut’s Critics’ Pick comedy duo consisting of Nick Kanellis and Peter McNerney. They perform improv at the Magnet Theater in Chelsea.

trike comedy club

Trike performs every Saturday at nine o’clock at night. With tickets at only ten dollars, it’s a relatively cheap way to laugh your head off while enjoying some well-deserved air conditioning. As one of our House Leaders, Bryan was able to use his budget to let members go for free. But the show had some consequences, as one member said, “I laughed so hard I hurt.”

Charmaine took a different route, applying to lead one of our monthly member led events, where we help members put on activities for the Common community. She suggested the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in the East Village, which was founded by comedian Amy Poehler among many other successful comedians. Members searched through their vast show offerings and decided on Comedy Central Corporate Retreat, one of UCB’s many sketch comedy shows.

Several members took advantage of these comped tickets and slowly made their way to UCB after work for the show. Before arriving at UCB East our members got together after work. On their way, some met up at Kinokuniya’s New York City flagship bookstore beforehand to peruse books. Others lounged in Bryant Park, and another group grabbed a quick dinner at Spice Grill.

UCB alumni and current performers include Broad City’sucb amy poehler matt besser comedy Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari, and many more. So our members were really keen on attending a show at the legendary theater. The show they say boasted “Comics to Watch,” including Ana Fabrega, Joey Dundale, Devin Bockrath, and more.

Elizabeth, a Crown Heights member originally from Illinois, commented, “Every show I’ve been to since moving to New York has been one of the best I’ve ever seen.” In addition to the quality laughs, at only five dollars a ticket, our members will certainly be heading back to UCB Theater sometime soon.

What about when the weather begins to cool down in the fall? From apple picking to Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners to karaoke nights, our event calendar is already starting to fill up. To learn more and join our community, apply here.