“We were home”: Treehouse Village Ecohousing Welcomes Its First Residents

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Treehouse Village Ecohousing, Atlantic Canada’s first cohousing community, has its first residents. The first family to move in was that of Clara Lovatt and Kathy Horton in late July. They were joined later the same day by the Stonhams – Caitlin, David, and their son Alfie. A few days later, Shirley Robb joined them at the cohousing development in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. 

Treehouse Village Ecohousing is a “cohousing” community. All households have their own private home, clustered around shared space to facilitate social interaction, with a Common House and many shared amenities. The 30-unit, eco-friendly condominium community has been built to Passive House standards with energy-efficient units and solar photovoltaic panels on rooftops. Homes range in size from one to three bedrooms.

Shirley unlocks the door to her new home for the first time.

The 30 households – who hail from Nova Scotia, across Canada, and internationally – are dedicated to creating a multi-generational, environmentally responsible community. Members range in age from 15 months to 80+. Languages spoken (besides English) include Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and Portuguese.

The first three households are quick to acknowledge that it took many other members of the community to make their move-in possible. The care and camaraderie shown by the entire Treehouse community created a warm and welcoming atmosphere that resonated with the first arrivals.

Caitlin expressed her delight at the heartwarming sense of familiarity among the community members. “I was listening to conversations outside my bedroom window, and I recognized the voices of everybody talking and it was just so beautiful,” she shared. 

David, Caitlin and Alfie relaxing outside their new home.

For Clara, the experience of moving into Treehouse Village brought a whirlwind of emotions. She expressed her gratitude for the community’s assistance during their transition, recounting how “many people came by to celebrate a Treehouse move-in and to welcome us that day.” 

Kathy conveyed a mix of thankfulness and amazement at being among the first to move in. “The first day and night were solid joy and happiness; great appreciation for all who contributed to making it possible,” she said. The collaborative spirit of the community was evident as she described the countless individuals who offered their assistance during the move-in process, turning the experience into a tapestry of shared memories.

As the community’s four residential buildings and common house near completion, Treehouse Village Ecohousing will welcome more families into its fold in the coming weeks and months, with full occupancy expected in the Fall.

Looking back on the move-in, Clara reflected, “Our first night at Treehouse is a blur. Michael and Katy had given their muscle and time  to  move our stuff and many other Treehouse members joined the effort. Many people came by to celebrate a Treehouse move-in and to welcome us that day. 

“As the night sky settled on us, the site became quieter and we were alone on our patio. We walked down the deck to see the lights on in our neighbour’s home. We weren’t alone. And Grandmother moon, almost full,  gave us a nod of welcome. Just before we turned in, Michael knocked gently on our door. He was holding  two small bolts for our bed. When he’d put the bed together earlier, he was missing the bolts.The last I remember that night was Michael repairing our bed and feeling thankful for the care. 

“We were home.”

Join our waitlist if you’re interested in living at Treehouse Village.

Photo credits Sandra Kipis

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