Come up with a housing concept for the next 5-10 years. Please comment on what works for houses with kids age approx. 2-10.
When we bought this home, we had watched enough flipping shows to think we were up for buying a house that “needed some work”. After looking around though, we realized we were actually up for “possibly repainting”. Full stop.
We had no children when we bought this house so our priorities were:
- Easy walk to the metro.
- Impressive dining room to entertain about 10 adult guests at lavish parties.
- Big enough living room to fit most of Kent’s enormous carved Bali furniture. I know you’re supposed to buy furniture around the house, not the other way round, but these are one of a kind pieces which will follow us forever.
- NO YARD. Kent is the great indoorsman, and I have two brown thumbs, so what would we want a yard for?!
- Maybe some place for kids. I mean, children are small, how much space do they really need? We could keep a baby under the bathroom sink if need be so we could use the third bedroom as a fancy guest room.
Ha, ha. It is to laugh.
Now with a five year-old and twin 19 month-old boys, what we really want is:
- A place to hide from our children.
- A place to hide our childrens’ toys from the world.
After general contracting two major flood renovations and a kitchen reno myself, I feel MUCH more qualified to tackle a house that “needs some work” this go round. When I look at houses now, I really only see floorplans. I am able to look past everything cosmetic and just see square footage and flow.
After trying for years to protect my children from Kent’s 300lb serrated-fin-sporting predatory Bali furniture, and trying to protect my gleaming new hardwoods from the children, I find myself looking for a home that is actually two houses: a) my beautiful grown up world, and b) a foam-coated, cornerless playland for the children–and never the twain shall mix nor marry!
I would DEARLY LOVE to hear your thoughts on the utility of the following items. Which are more useful? Which do you regret? Which are redundant? Which have I left out?
- Four bedrooms upstairs with one used as a playroom.
- A study or sun room where the kids can play Dance Central 3 while the adults play Just Dance 4 in the adjacent family room.
- A big child-proof basement where the bouncy house, castle tent, and ride-on train can stay out all the time. It’s a toddler wonderland!
- Laundry on the bedroom level. Laundry is already my Achilles heel. If I had to go up and down stairs to do it, I might rather just let the boys live in diapers.
- A fenced yard with a playground. We have a tot lot literally just across our street in our complex, but we don’t use it as much as you’d think. Somehow it’s still a production to get over there. I have heard between the bugs and the humidity around here, people don’t use their yards as much as they thought they would either. Do you? My brother the orthopedic surgeon has convinced me never to own monkey bars or a trampoline, but there are plenty of other things that we could do with a yard.
- A nice sight-line from the entry showing, oh, the stairs, the living room, the dining room–nicely staged, visiting teaching areas. The kitchen and family room are for intimates only.
- Highly durable carpet in the play areas.
- A big fat open concept family area to entertain family-style get togethers of 15 to 20 adults and kids.
My friend who owns Focal Point homes has a very nice house plan that is the closest to what I envision. You can check it out here: http://focalpointhomes.net/images/pdf/bennett%20_brochure_20111130.pdf.
If I had unlimited funds, I would want it twice the size with a music room and a pool and an indoor basketball/tennis court and stuff. But I don’t have nearly enough children to get the kind of reality show I would need to bankroll that.