30 Months of Co-Living

We are into the middle of our third year at the RobiRoost where we share a 5 bedroom house with another family of 4 (their last name also begins with Robi…). It was meant to be a single year of co-living in transition between our former homes and the anticipated cohousing project we were all a part of. When the project was delayed and then abandoned, both our families were left in a bit of a quandary and so we moved to a different house and continued our home sharing.

Our families live remarkably well together. We share essential tastes in food, drink, activities, movies, beliefs, and lifestyle. There is a mutual care and respect for each other. We trust each other. We play together. Look after each other’s children for date nights. We built and then enjoyed a beer advent calendar (more on this soon). This arrangement has given us some relief from the disappointment of losing our cohousing dream as we have built in community.

My children will certainly have a defined memory of these surrogate siblings and parents. They get tucked in once a week by either Jasen or Heather. They play Lego and superhero and house and watch morning cartoons on the weekend with their housemates.

We decided to celebrate our big family Christmas by going out for some food and then walking around Commonwealth Park to see the holiday lights. It was nice to relax together in this way. For me it demonstrated that getting together is not as special as it used to be. We’ve crossed a familiarity barrier that few people cross beyond the nuclear family. It’s uncharted territory. I joke with my work colleagues about having a sister-wife and brother husband because I haven’t found an easier way to explain who they are.

This fine family has inspired, encouraged, nourished, shared, commiserated with, challenged and blessed ours. I hope we have been able to do the same for them as they have become very special to us.

Cheers to 30 months together!


  1. Cari Mutch

    This was a very intriguing blog that leaves me wondering about more details like how you do meals, shared costs for groceries, cleaning and home maintenance etc. It seems that the things commonly worked out among single roommates would be a more complicated equation once subgroups are introduced. The dynamic here sounds like siblings and their spouses living together, with the kids having a cousin/aunt/uncle relationship. I have very happy memories of that sort of situation, but only for a few weeks at a time during holidays. You are demonstrating the unique ability to extend that into something that works for years in the midst of "real life" pressures. Hopefully a documentary is in the works!

  2. Debby

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and feelings on how this has all come to be. As part of the extended family it's been a journey too. I have enjoyed the combined family meals, parties, games… I'm sure glad I like the Robillards 🙂

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