The State of Supernuclear

A re-introduction to what we're doing here

We were excited to be featured on the Substack blog this week. That means that many of you readers are new to Supernuclear. Welcome!

It’s been five months since we started publishing this blog, so it seems like time to do a round up of what’s happened so far.

First, our most popular posts:

  1. The Mega Guide to co-buying property with friends: in which Phil goes in depth on The Process of finding, financing, and setting up a communal property. This is also our longest post, but it won’t feel that way thanks to useful infographics and a guest appearance from Brad Pitt. If you’ve been living with friends already or have a group that’s interested in co-buying, we hope this will make that much easier.

  2. A low-risk way to see if coliving is right for you: on the opposite end of the spectrum, for those who haven’t tried coliving before, I interview a few ‘traveling quaranteams’: folks who are trying to socialize responsibly in the time of COVID by renting houses with groups of friends. Check this out for the questions you need to ask before renting a place, techniques for finding good deals, and how to assemble your crew.

If you’re more of an audio/visual learner, Phil also did a webinar on co-buying property that was attended by more than 100 folks, and the recording is posted here.

Second, our personal favorite posts:

  1. The 9 types of people you find in coliving: this quick post is great inspiration for the types of people you might want to add to your community (and the few you want to avoid). My current house has one omelette guy, one bean counter, about 7 silent assassins, but no Agent of Chaos! I shared this post with our group in hopes of inspiring someone to take on the mantle.

  2. Fairness is overrated and bragging is underrated: motivational systems for coliving: this is one of those posts that applies as much to any team (sports, company) as it does to a group of folks living together.

  3. Managing finances: As PT Barnum said “Money is a terrible master but excellent servant.” This post is about making group finances work and avoiding those oh-so-common pitfalls like not being prepared for unexpected emergency expenses (like that time the roof caved in at my old community).

And finally, the most requested type of posts per our intro questionnaire were case studies of coliving communities. So far we’ve only done the three we were each most personally involved with:

  1. The Story of RGB: in which Phil goes into detail about the 9 bedroom townhouse he and his then-girlfriend-now-wife Kristen rented with their friends in San Francisco.

  2. The Story of Gramercy House: in which I share the ins and outs of setting up a coliving community in a 5 bedroom brownstone in Manhattan.

  3. The Story of The Radish: Phil and Kristen took what they learned with RGB and bought a compound in Oakland, California with a group of friends, many of whom are thinking of having kids in the next few years.

We have a few more case studies in the works already, but are hoping to write many more.

Two asks of you:

  1. if you have founded or helped manage a coliving situation and would be willing to share a bit more information about your experience (confidentially), please fill out this coliving community survey.

  2. Everyone: if you haven’t already (thanks to the hundred or so of you who have) fill out this intro questionnaire so we can bring you the most useful information.

Enough about us, let’s talk about you. Here’s what we’ve learned so far about our readership.

This is about what we expected: we know there are a lot more people interested in coliving than are doing it right now.

You’re very international! Tbh we expected the Bay Area to dominate this, but it’s cool to see a long tail that stretches from Oklahoma to Warsaw, Poland.

Finally, a few comments we especially loved in response to our question of why you’re interested in coliving:

I think that a large part of the issues we face is the continued push on individual success trumping community success. Individual success is great, especially when it lifts a community. As a black male, I’ve lost count of the times when people’s initial fear (societal conditioning coupled with laziness in exposure to different) breaks down through familiarity (others are often very similar despite preconceptions). I think that millennials need more pushes back to a big tent, broad community perspective and local examples through coliving (not just a roommate relationship) could be a key part of reaching that goal.

I've grown up in the RE industry and would love to see property ownership more accessible to people. Too many large houses and vacant properties going unused or underutilized. Need for real community.

As a father of three, I find that our family is more isolated than I ever imagined. Lonely even though constantly surrounded by people I love. I want our kids to grow up knowing how to work out challenges that come up and embrace multiple viewpoints. We can do that in the abstract through conversations at the dinner table, but if they can be participants and observers of the process, it will help them become problem solvers and collaborators with all kinds of people.

I have experienced that so much magic happens in community. Co-creation, co-elevation, healthier habits, etc.

I'm actually not that interested in co-living, but my boyfriend is really excited about co-living, co-working spaces, so I'm trying to learn more about it and get comfortable with the ideas on my own time.

I am a single community-minded female who works in education. I am unlikely to ever afford a home myself as are many of my peers. Co-living is aligned with my values.

Lots of gay men I've talked to (like, hundreds – I did an informal survey in a big FB group and have talked to dozens of people directly) are very interested in creating small spaces just for us. There's this paradox for many gay men who don't want to live in the densest urban cores because of the price and hassle but don't want to live out in the boondocks by themselves. Being able to BUILD community is what many of us seem to want, but it's hard!

We love that going supernuclear (living with people beyond your nuclear family) applies to a wide swath of people, and we’re excited to keep sharing what we learn. Thanks for being on the journey with us so far!


Curious about coliving? Find more case studies, how tos, and reflections at Supernuclear: a guide to coliving. Sign up to be notified as future articles are published here:

You can find the directory of the articles we’ve written and plan to write here.