The tension between hierarchy and communalism is a prominent feature of social life in transegalitarian societies. How are hierarchy and communalism combined in these societies? How are they materialized in everyday life? In this paper, we examine the relationship between hierarchy and communalism in the transegalitarian societies of the Northwest Coast of North America. We focus on households, the primary socioeconomic units of the culture area, and on the plank houses that contained them. Despite the apparent contradiction between hierarchy and communalism, we find that in Northwest Coast households with highly developed social hierarchies, communal practices remained deeply entrenched, while in households with weaker hierarchies, communalism was less developed. The relative importance of hierarchy and communalism in daily household life was clearly materialized in the spatial order of plank houses. By simultaneously objectifying both principles, the house may have played an important role in easing the tension between them.