Developing the Obenaus Community

A plan for the community and its investors

The Obenaus Community

Obenaus is a tiny farm place located in Ehrenhausen, Austria. After a pioneering period with a number of community life experiments, we open up for a new phase with a number of fresh members. Principles for the community are a diversity of backgrounds and generations, commitment to a communal and simple lifestyle in respect of Nature, decision-making on day-to-day life by the residents, and decision-making on long term developments and investments by those who hold investment shares.
We intend to have a nucleus of 12 or more residents at the middle of 2022, with a wider circle of temporary visitors and community friends and partners in the region and worldwide.

The overall development direction

We want Obenaus to support the livelihood of a nucleus of 12-15 residents permanently.
For this, the former stables, barns and various other buildings need to be rebuilt or developed into living, working and meeting spaces. This in turn requires an investment volume of 2 to 3 Mio € over the next ten years.

2020 - 2021

During 2020, the Obenaus building area has been classified as “village space”, which will allows us to submit a building permit application for all buildings in Obenaus to become living, working, or meeting spaces.
We invite fresh investors and potential residents. During 2021, two new apartment spaces (farmers house 1st floor, cowstable) and a few smaller improvements shall be funded and realised.


Developing the former cow stable, completing the presshouse refurbishment. Further building investments if interested new residents and funds are available.

2026 and beyond

Completing the building programme.

How can I invest?

We issue a loan, secured by a mortgage on Obenaus and the rental income from the Community. As holder of a share in this loan you receive an interest of 1% and vouchers for stays in Obenaus or products from the Community and the wider network.

The legal ownership of the property is transferred to an association of investors.

The association holds the long-term interest for Obenaus, and rents the place out to the association of the resident Community members.
You will become member and will receive regular reports about the health of the Community and its finances.
Contact Rainer for the details and to speak about your plans.

Building projects for 2020 till 2030

Here you find the complete list of existing buildings and the associated development projects with a first cost estimate and funding plan.

The Farmer’s House

This is the main living building, in which the farmer’s family used to reside. The groundfloor is fully used with private bedrooms and the now privately used kitchen and small living room area, a community living room and community coworking office space. For the residents of the House there is a shared bathroom. A historic cave and the central heating serve the whole Obenaus estate.

At the first floor there is a huge attic and a private bedroom.

Extending the 1st floor. 

The attic space could host a new bathroom, toilet, living room and 4-5 private bedrooms or 2-3 smaller 2 room apartments in the same space. Walls to be lifted up, openings (windows) towards the valley (scenic view) and the court.

New roof construction to correct the roof shape, modern roof covers (biologically friendly), insulation, solar heat exchanger for the central heating, possibly solar panels for electricity supply. 1st phase: walls and new roof, 2nd phase new rooms/apartments and sanitary rooms.
Result: Living places for 5-7 new residents or guests in rooms. Total budget: min 250’000 €.

Terrace towards South Garden

The house would open the backside to South. The window of the small living room would become a door, the coworking office will receive a door and a window to the South side. The terrace would be a wooden construction mainly built from the Obenaus-grown wood.
The coworking office and both living room floors to be remade and insulated towards the soil. Floor heating system installed, new floor covers in both rooms.
The terrace could be covered with an inclined roof to provide shade and rain cover on the balcony. On that roof, solar heat exchangers could be placed. (option: extra 7’000 €)

Result: Improved accessibility of co-working area and community kitchen. Better light and insulation in the ground floor area. Total budget: 35’000-42’000 €.

The Press House and former small cattle stables

The Press House contains a historical fruit and wine press, a cellar and a gallery with an attic room facing the valley and access to the first floor on top of the former small cattle stables.
At the corner of the two joint buildings is the recently renovated community kitchen.
On the ground floor, a studio of 40 m2 with private bathroom is readily built with organic materials.

The remaining ground floor is used as shed for garage tools and as stable for the Obenaus flock of sheep.
The attics are not useable.

Press house as co-working space

The Press House is the oldest part of the Obenaus buildings (ca 1720-30). Around the press, a number of seating possibilities and coffee tables will make this a cosy place to be for residents and coworkers from the region. The wood gallery would be adapted to offer a number of computer desks. The attic room facing the valley could become a workshop or a bedroom/visitors space. Next to the passage to the community kitchen, a toilet and sink can be placed, on top of the kitchen a bathroom could be installed.

The walls need to be renovated, the floor insulated, floor heating installed. New windows on both sides of the press room. The carpentry rehabilitated and partially renewed, the roof opened and built new with insulation, some roof windows and new roof cover. 

As the building is on the list of revitalisation projects of the country of Styria, only traditional methods and organic building materials will be used.
Overall investment for this part ca 250’000 €.
10 % Funding possible by the Styrian revitalisation fund, further subsidies possible from the European Regional Development fund, under condition some 40% of the funds firmly guaranteed by other sources.

Living spaces in the former small cattle stables

The current garden shed area serves as a corridor and entrance from garden, court and staircase to the 1st floor of the building. The current sheep stable transforms into a loft with bathroom, toilets, kitchen and living space and 2 bedrooms on the ground floor and 1st floor levels. On top of the kitchen a bathroom serving the coworking space (one door) and the roof rooms on the 1st floor. The roof is completely re-built, partially with new shape over the kitchen, openings towards the valley view to the south, so that the roof top rooms can serve as bedrooms or guest rooms.
Revitalisation project: All is realised with organic materials and traditional methods and look. 

Budget ca 280’000 €. Funding possibilities through the Styrian revitalisation fund (10% of the budget).

The former Servant’s House (Knechthaus)

Since the early 1820s there has been a wood construction serving as the private rooms of the farms servants and their family, later as a hen’s house, now as a shed. Water and electricity supplies are already present.
This building can be replaced by a modern construction from organic material (straw and clay walls), so that an independent living house appears with 2-3 bedrooms, living, kitchen corner, bathroom and storages and its own central heating based on solar exchange panels and a wood kitchen stove. Terrace seating towards the general court and the fireplace.

Space for 2-4 individual residents or a family.

Budget: 200’000 up to 250’000 € 

The former Cow Stable

The biggest building of the estate is the former cow stable. The main building is a massive concrete construction from 1957. To the West is a cubic concrete construction over two levels with an open plan on the ground floor and an attic on the first. To the East, the barn on the ground floor serves as open air seminar space in the warm season (April-early November), the first floor has been rehabilitated as a covered workshop or gathering area.

Apartment in the ground floor

An apartment with 2 rooms and a private bathroom fits in the ground floor, with communication to the garden area and the main entrance/parking spaces. The construction required is to clear excess of concrete, insulation of floor, floor heating tubes and sanitary for bathroom, openings in the walls with new windows and doors, constructing the interior walls.

Central heating buffers to fit into internal silos in the cowstable. Offers space for 2-4 residents or a small family of residents.

Budget estimated at 65’000 €.

Obenaus shop and storage

The Obenaus shop room is earmarked at the entrance towards the main parking space at the main access to Obenaus. Visitors to the shop can reach there without needing to enter the main court, delivery of goods is close to the offloading area on the parking.
The shop space requires internal walls, new electricity installations and new windows along the lenght of the cowstable building. Heating to be connected to the buildings central heating buffer.
Budget at ca 10’000 €.

First floor building

The first floor is currently a naked space, the roof needs to be renewed and insulated, windows and extensions to be fitted into the roof inclinations.

On top of the roof, photovoltaic cells and solar heat transformers installed.

Space for 8-12 guest room or bedroom units with sanitary each.

Solar installations: ca 50’000 €

1st floor constructions: ca 350’000 – 400’000 €

New sheep stable with hay store built in 2021

The current flock of sheep shall grow to up to 20 mother sheep combined with sheep milk collection and cheese production. For this, the sheep need a new stable, built completely in Obenaus-grown wood on the meadows some 80 meters away from the current stable in the small cattle building, close to the fresh water well.
The stable is covered by a large roof construction offering space to store hay and other materials for shepherding. Fresh water supply for the sheep built directly from the well.

This construction needed to precede the renovation of the small cattle building.

It was realised in 2021.

Sauna/bath house

Community life is hugely enhanced with a sauna. The placement is still to be explored. One option is to build it as an extension to the servants house, or to construct it close to the capsula to offer the tiny house a bathhouse at the same time.

It could be constructed as a loghouse or other wood construction, sauna oven with wood fire.

Budget: ca 10’000 € depending on size and materials.

Car port

The car port should cover the parking area for at least three cars. During the cold season this will protect the cars from frozen glasses, and in the warm season from hale.

On the roof, some solar panels can be mounted to collect solar energy.

Budget: 7’000 €, with solar panels: 9’000.

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