Shared mansions

I love walking through fancy neighborhoods.

During those walks, I often think, what if that couple shared their oversized house with other people? Do two people really need seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms?

So I came up with a solution to a question that was not asked.

Large houses could be shared.

Dividing up a house into three separate dwellings would have so many benefits:

  1. The most significant benefit could be increased mental health and social wellness. Three empty-nest couples who were good friends could band together to create one of these multiple-family homes. For their entire shared time in that building, they would have built-in friends for dinner parties, happy hours, morning coffee or just borrowing some Grey Poupon.
  2. Shared dwellings have a smaller environmental footprint than single-family dwellings. For example, one driveway in snow country takes less energy to plow than three separate driveways.
  3. Choosing such a dwelling would make a statement among your peers about the value you place on community and sharing.


  1. Zoning for a multiple-family building in many fancy neighborhoods is not currently possible. That would require a major cultural shift. “Influencer marketing” could make this possible… a famous person who catches this vision could wield enough influence to change local laws.
  2. Selling individual homes within a larger building could take longer than traditional single-family dwellings. This would also require a significant cultural shift.
  3. Scheduling a party would necessitate communicating with your neighbors about when the hot tub and swimming pool would be booked. But there are apps for that.


  1. After zoning is in place, an accomplished architect could design appropriate buildings that would ensure privacy for all occupants and good access for all to mountain or ocean views.
  2. Existing buildings could be converted. Heavy sound insulation could be added between each home. Additional three-car garages could be added and creative driveway solutions to provide access to each. Below, I grabbed a big house floor plan (top) and created a three-family building (bottom). I did a quick mockup by adding two additional garages and divided the footprint into three homes. (It’s a crude mockup – obviously, the front porch would be converted to a closet. The rear porch would become a master bedroom, etc.) And each home would have its own kitchen, porch, bathrooms, laundry rooms, wine cellars, etc.
Large home floor plan
Floor plan of a large single-family home
Floor plan of a large single-family home converted into three separate family dwellings
Floor plan of a large single-family home converted into three separate family dwellings



I realize this is not a new idea. It’s happening in different ways all over the world. But I have not seen this in very many posh neighborhoods.