Author Topic: Opinions Sought on House Layout  (Read 6047 times)

kenmoremmm

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Opinions Sought on House Layout
« on: March 30, 2021, 01:31:31 PM »



Family and I are looking to purchase a home, in Canada, sight unseen before we move there later this summer.
Covid border crossing = no-no.
Local real estate market in our new town = bonkers.
Rental inventory next to none.
My family = wife + 4yr old and 2yr old

We've found an off-market deal through the realtor I've connected with and I really like the house. It's a 1920's house, but fully remodeled. Great yard. Some potential for improvements that I would self-perform.

My wife's biggest concern is the layout of the bedrooms for the kids, and the master bedroom being upstairs. Our oldest kid is at the age where she'll occasionally wake in the middle of the night and come to our room for some comfort, and then go back to bed. Our youngest will be out of the crib in probably 6 months, but it pretty good about sleeping through the night. My wife's other concern is having the bedrooms on the opposite walls as the living and dining rooms, rooms that we'll presumably entertain in after the kids are asleep.

I'm curious if anyone here has a similar layout with kids and could comment on this setup. I personally think the kids will adapt and things will be fine, but I also don't want to hate it either.


tygertygertyger

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2021, 01:39:17 PM »
I don't have children, so please take my suggestion with however many grains of salt. But if the rental market is tight and the real estate market is bonkers, then wouldn't some creative shuffling of the bedrooms work?

Do you and your wife need to sleep in the master bedroom right now? Or could you take one of the main floor bedrooms, to be closer to the kids? At some point could you put the kids upstairs in the master to share, so you can keep the downstairs to entertain? There's no requirement that you can't shift the rooms in the house to use however you need, whenever you need to.

My partner and I sleep in the non-master bedroom, which is smaller and darker, and we actually sleep better there. The larger master bedroom is used for an office/storage catch-all, which... well, it doesn't work perfectly, but works just fine. We are looking for a house right now, which is quite difficult in this market, but knowing that we can shift around room use makes us more flexible on what might or might not work.

lindy_zag

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2021, 01:39:36 PM »
It seems like there are enough options here that it should be fine? Of course the large master is nice, but if being that far away from the kids is a huge deal, you and your wife could use one of the downstairs rooms for a couple years until they're more comfortable having you on a different floor. Conversely, if you entertain a lot and the noise is an issue, the kids could share the master upstairs for a few years (or even just on the occasional night when you're having guests over!).

Imma

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2021, 01:47:39 PM »
Looks like the media room could also be easily transformed into an extra bedroom, that way you could both sleep upstairs if you wanted to. Noise may or may not be an issue for the downstairs bedrooms, I guess that would depend a lot on the construction of the house. Sleeping on a different floor as the kids doesn't sound ideal at their current ages.

Northwoods

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2021, 02:46:13 PM »
Full disclosure, I donít have kids but friends who do. What they have told me is at the ages of your kids, sleeping on a different floor isnít happening. So I agree with previous posters that youíll have to be creative if you move forward with this house.  That being said, the location of the bedrooms along the rear wall would have me passing on this house. You mention the great yard but it seems the only access is though the laundry room. If I had a family or liked to entertain, that wouldnít work for me. I would want better access and visibility from the main living areas.

yachi

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2021, 03:11:09 PM »
Our house is all 1 floor, but there are 2 brick walls (former outside walls) separating the master bedroom from the others.  We can't hear the kids very well, so we kept a baby monitor on all the time when they were little.  Our living room (main TV watching room) is right next to my son's room and he occasionally scolds me for having the volume too high but only until he falls asleep.

You could use a baby monitor, maybe in the little hallway outside Bedroom 2 and Bedroom 3.  That way you could hear if they need anything.  I don't see much issue with the layout of the rooms you have.  The bedrooms are not actually adjacent to the dining room, and they are far from the kitchen.  There are two walls, a door and a stairs between the Dining room and Bedroom 2.  If noise during entertaining in the living room becomes an issue, you could turn entertaining nights into sleepovers in Bedroom 2 nights.

I really like the media room outside the master bedroom.  Almost like a TV room for before bed.  We tend to watch some tv in bed, but they say that's not best for sleeping.

The only layout I can imagine with less noise would be bedrooms upstairs and all other rooms are downstairs.  Is that what you're moving from?

TrMama

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2021, 03:18:35 PM »
It may not be a great layout for little kids, but it's fantastic for older kids. Our 14yo recently moved from her little bedroom that shares a wall with the principal bedroom to a basement bedroom because apparently DH and I are too loud. She never specified which noises were too loud and we didn't ask.

If you buy this house you'll grow into it.

Does this house have a basement? Maybe you could add a rec room down there and use it for entertaining. Or the kids could have a slumber party down there on party night.

kenmoremmm

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2021, 03:22:29 PM »
@yachi Our current house has 3 bedrooms, living room, and kitchen and main entry and deck on upper/main floor. The basement has a large play room (second living room) and a guest bed/bathroom. We spend 80% of our time on the main floor. Kids will play in the basement for a little bit in the mornings or after naps, but we're either upstairs or outside. Our master is directly across the 3ft wide hallways from their rooms. We watch almost no TV, but maybe that'll change in cold Canadian winters. I will be permanent work from home, so my office will likely use the Sunroom. Or, it could use Bedroom 4, but I'd have to pivot when overnight guests came over.

@Northwoods The house is sited a bit odd for the lot. Huge front and side yard, but little backyard. Thus, as I understand it, the laundry room to the covered deck leads more or less to a driveway and small portion of the yard.

kenmoremmm

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2021, 03:24:41 PM »
It may not be a great layout for little kids, but it's fantastic for older kids. Our 14yo recently moved from her little bedroom that shares a wall with the principal bedroom to a basement bedroom because apparently DH and I are too loud. She never specified which noises were too loud and we didn't ask.

If you buy this house you'll grow into it.

Does this house have a basement? Maybe you could add a rec room down there and use it for entertaining. Or the kids could have a slumber party down there on party night.

It has a basement of about 1500SF, currently used for storage. Supposedly uneven concrete floors and not set up for living space, but I have personally completely retrofitted a basement before and understand the process. If the headroom is inadequate, then I would be looking at underpinning and excavation, so a different LOE, but doable. If the headroom is good, then I could easily replicate my current basement retrofit and probably make it very comfortable without too much work (famous last words).

robartsd

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2021, 03:43:42 PM »
Does this house have a basement? Maybe you could add a rec room down there and use it for entertaining. Or the kids could have a slumber party down there on party night.
The floor plan shows stairs down to a basement.

Looks like the hall to bedrooms 2 & 3 has an open doorway, but if you wanted to, you could put in a door to make it a suite and figure out a way to make the media room space into a bedroom if you wanted to house both kids upstairs for entertaining after the kids bed time.

Layout indicates that outdoor entertaining would center on the covered porch; not sure how that relates to the yard though.

former player

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2021, 04:17:23 PM »
Children don't need large bedrooms.  I might put in a wall along bedroom 3 to create a corridor from the bathroom and put a new door at the end to bedroom 4, so you have 3 bedrooms all together at the back of the house.

kenmoremmm

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2021, 04:25:59 PM »
The bedroom sizes are about 10'x11 and I consider that a minimum given our current bedroom layouts. Perhaps if we had a bunk bed with a workstation would I consider smaller as acceptable.

Re: remodeling, I am trying to avoid at all costs. I fully remodeled my current house and while it's fun on some levels, it's not something I want to do with two young kids + full time work + moving to a new country. If kids were in high school, it would be a different story, but I already feel immense guilt when my limited free time is taken up by house projects when it could be spent with my kids.

former player

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2021, 04:55:52 PM »
How about having the kids sharing?

kenmoremmm

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2021, 05:06:39 PM »
How about having the kids sharing?

I don't think that's happening!

SunnyDays

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2021, 08:23:14 PM »
Different point - are you sure you want a house with such a small back yard with little kids?

Omy

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2021, 08:38:40 PM »
For safety reasons, most parents want to be on the same level as their young children. Maybe use the upstairs for office and guest room until the kids are older?

kenmoremmm

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2021, 09:58:20 PM »
Different point - are you sure you want a house with such a small back yard with little kids?

The lot layout is a bit weird. See below (bedroom numbers shown for reference). The house is set off from the road quite a bit. So, big front and "side" yards. Little "back" yard. I'm not concerned about the lot as I believe it's very functional. One of the adjacent roads is a dead end with 3 houses on it. The other road is very low traffic.

dhc

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2021, 12:03:46 AM »
We're upstairs and our one child (similar age as your youngest, from the sounds of it) is downstairs in a similar layout and has been since around the 1-year mark. It's not perfect, but baby monitors are reliable and include video these days, and it's actually helped reinforce good nighttime habits (i.e. minimized middle-of-the-night-parent-time), just because it's such a hassle to go up and down.

The pandemic has prevented us from answering the question about having company around on the other side of the wall from a sleeping child, so I can't help you there. White noise may be your friend? Unless you're constantly having dinner parties after bedtime, though, I imagine it's really not the biggest deal.

chemistk

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 09:38:30 AM »
The house I grew up in had EXACTLY this setup, less one bedroom.

When we first moved there, I was 4 and my brother was 2, and for the first few years my parents slept in one of the downstairs bedrooms (the other one was a nursery for our eventual 3rd brother). My brother and I shared the upstairs bedroom and what is your "media room" was our playroom.

The justification for this was that they wanted to actually do things around the house after we went to bed, and having us on the main floor would have absolutely woken us up.

About 3 or 4 years after we moved there, they swapped the bedrooms - us kids on the main floor. We never had an issue with the layout, including sneaking in and out of the house (although my brothers and I were generally not the type of kids to do that).

FINate

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Re: Opinions Sought on House Layout
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2021, 10:07:07 AM »
While I'm not a huge fan of kid bedrooms adjacent to living/entertaining areas for the reasons you cite, I find that doors are the bigger concern as they let in more light and sound. So bedroom 4 is the only real problematic bedroom on the main level, whereas bedrooms 2 and 3 have their own little hallway/bend that branches off the entryway which is not a major hangout area. Yes, they share interior walls with the dining or living room, but this isn't terribly different than having a floor separating rooms, though flooring is somewhat more sound insulating. So use bedroom 4 as an office, and if beds 2-3 end up with sound issues you can always open up the interior walls and add insulation, though I doubt it's necessary unless you have raging parties. If too much sound/light is getting to the shared hallway for bedrooms 2-3 you may be able to install a pocket door closing this area off from the entryway, though difficult to tell without knowing what's in the walls... if not a pocket door, a sliding barn door would also do the trick.

I have 2 kids, now 8 and 10 and we now live with the master on the main level and the kids upstairs. I would not be worried about being on different levels, it's just some stairs. For kids that get scared at night and want their parents, I find that lighting is the main consideration. So install some wall plates with built in LED lights to illuminate the path from the bedrooms to the bathrooms and upstairs to the master.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 10:13:28 AM by FINate »