Friendsgiving Coast to Coast

You never really know someone until you live with them and once that happens, you become family. While Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite excuses to come home and spend time with parents and grandparents, Friendsgiving is when most people spend with their chosen family.

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Common sponsors monthly outings for our members in each neighborhood to get to know one another. We also support our members when they want to plan their own events. This month, our MLE (member-led event) went to two neighborhood-wide Friendsgiving dinners. Our house leaders helped organize and the dates were set.

Last weekend, both coasts (San Francisco and NYC) got together to host a grand Friendsgiving meal. In NYC, Williamsburg came to Crown Heights and everyone prepared something. Many members from Williamsburg got to see our Crown Heights homes for the first time and meet their friends from Slack in person. Members also invited their friends to join via Facebook and many a meme were shared.

In San Francisco, our members from the Common Valencia home came to the Common Minna home for dinner and holiday decorating. They even stepped it up a notch mid-decorating to give us this Mannequin Challenge gem:

While Thanksgiving is a primarily American holiday, our international members excitedly joined in. Dominique from London prepared gorgeous desserts and a mac and cheese dish to write home about. Members loved the mac and cheese, that was mostly just cheese with little bits of pasta throughout. Farid from the Netherlands, brought a taste of home to the table with his Appleflappen.

Another variation? Members watched soccer (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid) instead of football.

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One of our members, not from America, was really excited to attend a real American Friendsgiving. “We did a Friendsgiving thing in Australia, but we didn’t really know what we were doing.” said Alice from our Williamsburg home. Zoran, also from Australia, enjoyed his first Friendsgiving too, adding “it was cool to see everyone pitch in. It was massive, loads of people came, and it was nice to see the homes coming together.”

Of course, the standard turkeys made an appearance along with pecan pies, and donuts too. Cole made some “really cool blanched greens and fried em up with garlic,” according to Alice from Williamsburg. A fun feature? Members threw up a video of a crackling fire to set the homey mood.

Check out these fantastic photos below:

West Coast
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East Coast
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friendsgiving-at-pacific-2016-3Get to know more about our community and schedule a tour, here.

A Look Inside Minna and Valencia’s Design

Alice is on the design and construction team at Common. They take on the construction and interior design of Common homes. She did her bachelor’s in design studies in Adelaide and then her master’s in Architecture in Newcastle.

Before she moved to New York, she was working in Sydney as a set designer on Ridley Scott’s Alien Covenant. As well as playing a part in furniture selection for the homes, she had the opportunity to live in both Minna and Valencia for a couple of weeks while they were being prepared for opening.

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What’s new about San Francisco?

Alice: Minna and Valencia are Common’s first homes outside of New York. We’re really excited to continue improving housing and bringing community to new neighborhoods. They also both have quite a different layout to our homes in New York.

Minna has two identical floors, each with a really large open plan kitchen living area. What I love here is the way the two floors are very connected to one another. Originally we saw the building as two separate suites, but more and more it feels like one large interconnected suite, especially since members have moved in.

Staying here, it felt really natural to move between floors if, say, the oven was already being used or if somebody was watching tv and you wanted a quiet space to read. I felt very comfortable moving around the entire home in my pajamas.

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In Valencia, the kitchen and lounge are on separate floors. Both spaces have very different atmospheres about them; the Valencia kitchen is very bright, airy and open, while the lounge has a much more of a cozy and relaxed feel about it. I really enjoyed having the option of two spaces to hang out in, depending on my mood or who else was using the space.

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How is the design and decor at Minna and Valencia different? What key furniture items and decisions contributed to the overall look?

Alice: In all of our homes, we have some fundamental values when it comes to choosing furniture; we look for pieces that are high quality, honest materials, and of a timeless aesthetic. We steer clear of trendy pieces and instead opt for generally good design, which never goes out of style.

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Minna and Valencia have very similar palettes to one another. Both have lovely high ceilings, beautiful original floorboards and those gorgeous bay windows on the street front which are such San Francisco icons. They also both have a lot of soft, warm elements in the walls and floors – plenty of wood and warm accent colors on the walls.

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Because there was already so much going on in the surfaces of the home in terms of color and texture, the furnishings needed to be primarily simple, clean and understated. A lot less wood than we would normally use – because it was already there! The room and the furniture needed to complement one another rather than compete for attention. The plain white Parachute sheets we use look amazing next to the timber walls, and really give the space some breathing room.

blue-couches-minna-2The exception to this rule came in the form of two navy blue velvet sofas from Interior Define, which now live at Minna. To be honest, I was quite nervous as they arrived, but the cool blue tone adds a really nice relief to the warm hues of the room. I ended up being really delighted with them!

There are also some large antique Persian rugs at Minna. Again these break the rules because they are richly textured, but it is a different kind of texture to the suite’s walls. I think they take the edge off of the room.

We chose a lot of darker colored elements, to pick up on the dark gray trim and dark metal handrails throughout the home. These really pop against the rich materials of the home.

Where do these items come from? Big brands, startups, or a combination of both?

For sourcing, we went to fellow startups whom we work with frequently:

In addition, we sourced accent pieces from:

  • Industry West,
  • Restoration Hardware,
  • Blu Dot,
  • ABC Carpet & Home,
  • CB2,
  • and West Elm.

One of my favorite examples of the dark colored elements at Minna is a dark gray adaptable sofa lounge from fellow startup Poppin. It can be setup in a few different ways depending on how people feel like hanging out together. It’ll be fun to see what happens there if the members move it about and change it up. When you start looking outside of the box, you end up discovering some fun finds!

How do you decide what to decorate within the home?

Alice: In terms of decorating, we try to supply enough to make a home warm and inviting, while leaving room for members to add their own personalities to a space. We never decorate members’ bedrooms for example – that is their own to customize. Our art was beautifully chosen by Mayday (now Kaplow), whom we have used time and again for their great attention to detail and location specific choices. The pieces were framed by Framebridge, with simple and elegant white frames, to allow the spaces and the artwork to speak for itself.

What was your best local find in San Francisco?

Alice: The San Francisco flower market! One of my absolute favorite days was shopping for the flowers and greenery for Valencia’s photoshoot. It is a seriously amazing place, where the colors just go on and on. Any SF locals should absolutely pay it a visit.

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I was also shown around Berkley by San Francisco local Bridgette (also from Common). We went hiking up behind the university, where you just get the most incredible view of the entire bay area! It was really easy to get to from Valencia via the BART train.

Want to see what our community in San Francisco has been up to? Learn more and join the San Francisco waitlist here.

Move In Day at Common

After you finally find your dream home, there’s still one more important step: moving in.

carefree hassle free move in day

If only all move ins came with balloons.

Moving has never been an easy process. Deciding what to keep, what to donate, or what to sell is a long, often emotional, process. Then figuring out how to transfer all these items can be a logistical nightmare. 

Move in day can be bittersweet too. Once you get to your new place, working on getting your cable, wifi, gas, electric, and all other items set up can make you pull your hair out.

Calling moving a bit of a hassle is an understatement. Yet for Common members, move in day ishassle-free, and dare we say it, fun!

Let’s go through a typical move in day at any Common home:

Step 1: Bring your suitcase and the rest is ready for you

That’s all you need to do. Check out some snaps of our various rooms in NYC and SFO.

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“It was really easy all I needed to bring was my clothes.” G, Crown Heights

“It was so easy. Everything was there except my clothes!” L, Crown Heights

“I showed up with nothing but a suitcase of clothes, and that’s all I needed to get settled!” A, Crown Heights

Step 2: Get the Grand Tour from your House Leader

Our House Leaders greet our members on move-in day, help them with their bags, and give them a full tour of their new home. Members enter a home completely ready for them. Their home is fully furnished with just what they need, plus a few extra items.

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“Moving in was very easy. I had my room set up within a few hours and having the wifi password ahead of time was great.” Z, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

“The furniture is very comfy. The bed, in particular, is incredible.” H, SoMa, San Francisco

Step 3: Meet the Community

Move ins tend to happen on Sundays between 3-6. As most members are home on Sundays, we encourage new members to move in on Sundays so they could meet their new suitemates.

Many new homes have Sunday dinner or brunch together, while our older homes host regular spontaneous events throughout the month. These events are pretty casual get-togethers that the house leaders help arrange based on their home’s mood that week. Let’s just say that brunch at Albany is spectacular, and obviously, delicious.

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“I loved how easy it was, and that i got a chance to meet everyone on the first day so made things easier and less awkward “ D, Crown Heights

“I loved how willing people were to pitch in and help, socialize, and say hi.” J, Crown Heights

“The potluck dinner to meet everyone was great. And the fact that I could just take all of my stuff in an uber and not have to worry about furniture.” L, Crown Heights

Or just go to bed to prepare for your brand new life at Common

Some members arrive on Sunday after a long flight and with a new job waiting for them on Monday. They decide to meet their new house mates after they’ve rested up. Current members have been there and know they’ll get to meet their new neighbors later that week at the next house hang.

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Luckily new members have not only their bed made but their entire home made, ready for anything they may need without any set up.

“I loved that my bed was made and ready to sleep in.” J, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

“The furniture was great; I love the bed.” S, SoMa, San Francisco

“It was nice to have everything ready when I arrived especially having a bed made – it was nice to crash after my long flight” M, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

On move in day, new members enter their homes completely ready for them and that’s just how we like it. As one of our members put it I am very pleased with my decision to move to Common. I have made some great friendships and met such interesting people. And nothing beats coming home to a warm environment after a long day of work.”

Want to experience this for yourself? Schedule a tour here.