Author Topic: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)  (Read 15869 times)

sjc0816

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Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« on: January 26, 2016, 12:39:14 PM »
What would be your minimum needs for housing under the following circumstances?

- Family of 4
- Two adults work from home (dh full time with travel - me, part time)
- Away from all family - will have parents/in-laws visiting regularly

I don't think there's any way around us not having to have a 4 bedroom house PLUS an office. Or, 3br plus office and finished basement.  DH will need a definite dedicated office space. I suppose a 4br plus finished basement could work. 

It doesn't seem very mustachian to have a 4br house plus an office - but I am not seeing any way around it.  Thoughts?  I don't care about square footage -- we can get by on a small amount of overall square footage but we need the bedrooms and the office space -- the houses I'm seeing with these things definitely take us up into a higher price range (300-400k vs 200-300k) and we'd rather spend the lower amount....but I'm struggling to see how it will work.

I'd love to hear from those of you with young children - work from home - and how your house is set up. 

Thank you!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2016, 12:40:14 PM »
Can the office be sorta crap, like a finished porch or attic?

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 12:48:23 PM »
What would be your minimum needs for housing under the following circumstances?

- Family of 4
- Two adults work from home (dh full time with travel - me, part time)
- Away from all family - will have parents/in-laws visiting regularly

I don't think there's any way around us not having to have a 4 bedroom house PLUS an office. Or, 3br plus office and finished basement.  DH will need a definite dedicated office space. I suppose a 4br plus finished basement could work. 

It doesn't seem very mustachian to have a 4br house plus an office - but I am not seeing any way around it.  Thoughts?  I don't care about square footage -- we can get by on a small amount of overall square footage but we need the bedrooms and the office space -- the houses I'm seeing with these things definitely take us up into a higher price range (300-400k vs 200-300k) and we'd rather spend the lower amount....but I'm struggling to see how it will work.

I'd love to hear from those of you with young children - work from home - and how your house is set up. 

Thank you!
Need more info, like, how old are the kids, what sex, etc?  We are a family of 4 - 2 adults, 2 boys (9 and 3).  We both occasionally work at home, but my no means a lot.

So, we have 2 bedrooms.  We only need 2, because the boys share a room.  Our entire house is 1100 sf.
Our "office", used to be a corner in the living room.  We have since moved the computer/ office space (which is super small) into our bedroom.  This works because:
1.  I am never working when my husband is trying to sleep.  I generally work at home when one or both of the kids are sick, or it's a school/daycare holiday.  The kids are in their bedroom or the living room (and I'm never able to do more than half time, because  you really do need childcare with a toddler.)
2.  My husband will often do work at night when everyone is asleep.  However, he can just plug in his laptop and work on the kitchen table, which is in the living area.

So: sleep wise, you only need 2 bedrooms if the kids are both boys or girls.  3 if they are not (although that's arguable, I wouldn't quibble).
Work-wise, you can make do with the office in the bedroom.  However, are you and your husband BOTH trying to work at home at the same time?  If so, and if you don't want to be in the same "space" (say, one of you is on the phone a lot, and that's distracting), then you'd need an extra space.

So, kids of the same sex and minimal overlap in working from home: 2 bedrooms
Kids same sex and a lot of work overlap: 3 bedrooms
Kids of opposite sex and minimal overlap: 3 bedrooms
Kids of opposite sex and a lot of overlap: 4 bedrooms, or 3BR + office

Regular visitors do not necessarily need a "guest room".  A pull out couch will suffice.  You want to avoid the guests being in your office.  This is where having your office in the bedroom helps.  Alternatively, you can have an office, and give up your own bedroom to guests.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 12:50:05 PM by mm1970 »

Helvegen

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 12:49:38 PM »
We are three people and have a 3bd/2.5 bath.

Master bedroom for me and my husband.
Room for daughter.
Room for home office area.

When guests come over, we kick our kid out of her bedroom, guests stay in there, and she sleeps in our room. The guests can also overflow onto the couch pullout bed in the living room.

Why can't your kids share a room? I shared a room with all three of my siblings at one point. We didn't die.

jeromedawg

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 12:50:31 PM »
What would be your minimum needs for housing under the following circumstances?

- Family of 4
- Two adults work from home (dh full time with travel - me, part time)
- Away from all family - will have parents/in-laws visiting regularly

I don't think there's any way around us not having to have a 4 bedroom house PLUS an office. Or, 3br plus office and finished basement.  DH will need a definite dedicated office space. I suppose a 4br plus finished basement could work. 

It doesn't seem very mustachian to have a 4br house plus an office - but I am not seeing any way around it.  Thoughts?  I don't care about square footage -- we can get by on a small amount of overall square footage but we need the bedrooms and the office space -- the houses I'm seeing with these things definitely take us up into a higher price range (300-400k vs 200-300k) and we'd rather spend the lower amount....but I'm struggling to see how it will work.

I'd love to hear from those of you with young children - work from home - and how your house is set up. 

Thank you!

We're starting to think about this as a family of 3, having just had our son in August and me starting a telecommute job as of this year. My wife will also be going full-time SAHM come February at least for now (we'll see how she likes it and will re-evaluate some time after the transition). Currently we're in a 3bed/2ba condo and have my parents in town living with us to help with caring for the kid during the transition of my wife's last month of work. It's pretty tight but it's manageable. One of the bedrooms is actually a converted den that I'm using as office space. There's a ton of baby stuff in here that we need to clear out into the second bedroom as we will be transitioning our son in there soon hopefully (he'll be 6 months in February so that might be a good time). If we had two kids, I'm not sure what we would do though - currently our son sleeps with us in a co-sleeper crib in our bedroom and that has worked out for nighttime feedings. We're trying to get him to sleep through the night though so hopefully soon enough.

A 4bed place with an open space (that could be used as a common work area) would be ideal I think for us. It's hard to tell though - I would want enough privacy/enclosed space to where I wouldn't be distracted by kids as well. I do like the basement idea (either put the kids down there or make it an office space and keep the kids out), but where we live (Southern California) there's no such things a "basement" LOL

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2016, 12:54:00 PM »
We are three people and have a 3bd/2.5 bath.

Master bedroom for me and my husband.
Room for daughter.
Room for home office area.

When guests come over, we kick our kid out of her bedroom, guests stay in there, and she sleeps in our room. The guests can also overflow onto the couch pullout bed in the living room.


Why can't your kids share a room? I shared a room with all three of my siblings at one point. We didn't die.
Yes, we are trying to figure out what to do when my MIL comes soon:
1.  Put the kids in our room on cots, let MIL have their room.
2.  Put the MIL on the sofabed
3.  Give MIL our bed, and we bunk with the kids.  Little guy is in the bottom bunk in a full.  Technically I could fit, but he kicks.  Husband could sleep on the cot.

Generally we do #2, or in the past have had MIL sharing a room with our older son.  But she's in her 70's now, maybe we should let her have our bed.  Dunno.  The thing is that bedtime order is:
- me and kids (same time, really)
- husband and MIL

It's really much better for nobody to be on the sofabed if we can avoid it.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2016, 12:55:30 PM »
You do not need separate rooms for the kids AND an office AND a guest room! At minimum, surely the kids can share a room* when your parents visit? That kid's usual bed could be a double or queen to make  guests comfortable.

At our house, the guest room doubles as the office, but Mr. FP does not work from home and just removes his laptop when guests visit.

Yes, even if they are of opposite sex, it won't kill them to share a room once in a while. Want to know how old I was the last time I shared a room with my brother for a few days? 26 :-).


lbmustache

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 12:58:57 PM »
I say 3 rooms mustachian style, 4 rooms if you really want (separate rooms for the kids).

1 bedroom for you
1 bedroom for the kids
1 bedroom that is an office / guest bedroom

I don't think you need a separate guest bedroom AND office. Right now you are suggesting 4br (I am guessing 1bd per kid + guest bd) + office - which is really like 5 - which sounds crazy.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 01:00:32 PM by lbmustache »

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 01:19:08 PM »
See, this is helpful because some of these ideas I have not considered.  My boys are 10 and 7 -- so they can definitely share a room IF the room is big enough.  My older son doesn't fit in a twin bed any more (DH is 6'6" and I am 5'10" and he's crazy tall)....so he needs a double bed.  So that is a consideration. Both boys are going to be large - which obviously doesn't mean anything right now....but if we are buying a forever home, I can't frankly imagine them sharing a room forever unless its a big one. 

Another idea I had....is if our master bedroom is large enough to put a desk, we can use that as an office.  I don't need an office - can use my kitchen table.  Any "common" space cannot be used as an office for DH.  We need a lockable room because summers and breaks with the kids - he needs separate space for work.  We can figure out guest space when it comes but in general, I'd prefer to not put our elderly parents on a pull-out couch. 

Thanks for all of the suggestions.  We want to be as efficient as possible but also need to be realistic about comfort and needs.

MrsDinero

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2016, 01:31:46 PM »
This is pretty much my situation.

I work 100% from home and Mr. D works part time from home.

We have a 3 bedroom home.  My office is in the master bedroom.  Mr. D's office is in the guest room.  The baby (and sibling along the way) have 1 bedroom.  When we have guests during the week (usually his parents) they know he is working and they spend time somewhere else in the house, but sleep in the guest room.

Another thing to keep in mind is if your oldest is planning to go away to college then they really will only be sharing a room for the next 8 years. 

tj

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2016, 01:41:41 PM »
Quote
When guests come over, we kick our kid out of her bedroom, guests stay in there, and she sleeps in our room. The guests can also overflow onto the couch pullout bed in the living room.

This is what our parents did growing up. There were actually two twin beds in my room, so either for friends who stayed over or say my grandfather. If both grandparents were in town, then I think my sister took my spare bed and the grandparents had her (bigger) bed.

I wouldn't over-consume on housing just because of guests...you will figure out a way to make it work, unless you are having guests over all the time.

In terms of working from home, that's trickier, I'd almost want to lease an office space somewhere else just so I could separate home life from work life.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2016, 03:41:03 PM »
If you can work from the kitchen table comfortably, do that.

I work from home a few days a week, generally sitting on the floor of the living room with my computer on the coffee table.  It's actually pretty ergonomic.

I haven't had a guest room in 6 years, which hasn't been a big problem for us.  When we have a guest, the kids have a slumber party in one of their rooms and the guest(s) get the other room(s).

justajane

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2016, 04:40:26 PM »
For the height issue, don't they have extra long twin mattresses now?

We are a family of five in a 3 bedroom home - 1500 sq ft. My husband works from home two days a week. He works in a partially finished basement. He has his desk in the corner. The rest of the space is a playroom.

At least two of our three boys will always have to share a room. That's just the way life goes. If the eldest some day wants some space, he can maybe set up shop in the basement if he wants. Otherwise? Oh, well. I don't feel obligated to provide them their own rooms.

Guests either stay in a hotel or sleep on a futon or the couch. We hope to finish a larger portion of the basement someday with a half bath, so that will also be good for guests. That way they could have their own space.

totesmahgoats

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2016, 04:49:26 PM »
We're grappling with this for our family of five (three daughters) with a spouse who works long hours from home. Not only have we observed the jump in price you have; but, the jump in sq footage (it seems to jump from 1500 to 2800).

Our solution, building. 1900 sqft MAX, 3 bedrooms, an office. None of that ridiculous master suite business that  seems all the rage. Could we go smaller? Perhaps. We're in 1500 sqft now but it makes for tense afternoons when conference calls are trying to happen at the same time as homework/snack/decompressing from school.

StarBright

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2016, 05:18:12 PM »
We're in a similar boat.  We are a family of 4, kids opposite sex, I telecommute and husband is a teacher so needs grading and prep space unless he wants to stay at school until all hours of the night. We don't live near any family so have regular visitors (sometimes for multiple weeks at a time).

The most mustachian/livable thing we can come up with is:
3 bed
1 office/guest room
and a living room area that has significant space for an additional "office/desk area" that can be utilized when guests are more long term.

We currently have a 3 bed apartment and I've been working from the kitchen table for the last 5 months - It is driving me batty! I never leave my kitchen table. When family visits we give them our bed and we sleep on a blow up mattress on the living room floor. Not optimal.




MayDay

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2016, 05:35:44 PM »
I ponder this a lot.  No working from home currently, but we have 2 opposite gender children so that puts us at 3 bedrooms to start.

What we have been doing so far is having the kids sleep on our flood when we have guests.  Both kids have twin beds, but one room has a trundle, so it sleeps 2 guests (or a kid plus a guest). 

The issue we have, and this is somewhat minor, is that when we have guests, the kids sleep like CRAP.  This of course translates to significantly more whining and bad behavior.  And since we do not live local to any family, we have guests quite a lot.  The other issue is that I am not going to have my elderly grandparents (and my parents and IL's are approaching elderly as well) sleep on a twin trundle on the floor.  Which means now H and I have to give up our bed.  That makes ME crabby.

So, long story short, I think we will be looking for a house with either a basement that is dry (finished or not) or a room that can be used as an office/guest bedroom/etc.  And if the kids' bedrooms are large enough, we might put our old queen bed in one of their rooms too, for added flexibility.  I know the common wisdom is that it is cheaper to pay for a hotel once a year when you have guests, but we have guests A LOT.  So I don't really know that a hotel is a better choice.

aFrugalFather

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2016, 05:41:44 PM »
I "work from home" but often my best work comes from when I leave the house to work at a coffee shop or one of the many local libraries.  My work office is almost a play office as far as productivity goes when everyone is home.  Often if I really want quiet I will take work calls in the car.  A dedicated full time home office is def. a luxury IMHO.  Certainly if you value early retirement or other goals you want to consider the need for a dedicated home office.


StarBright

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2016, 05:49:58 PM »
Not to threadjack- but @MayDay - we're in a very similar situation with lots of frequent visitors and another thing that has made our potential list is buying a 3 bed home but small in-law cottage outback (bedroom 1/bath). I don't know if it is any cheaper but it certainly would give some nice personal space when visits stretch into week two :)

MrsPete

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2016, 05:54:59 PM »
If I were in that situation, I'd want a four-bedroom house:

- One bedroom for the parents.
- One bedroom for each child; yeah, they can share, but it's a long way from ideal -- I'd do whatever I could to get the kids each a bedroom. 
- One bedroom to serve as office /guest room; I'd outfit this room with a sleeper sofa or a murphy bed, and I'd figure that when we had company, I wouldn't be working much anyway.  If I needed the office while we had guests, I wouldn't mind moving the kids together for a short time /putting the guests into one child's bedroom -- that's what we always did when we were kids. 


soccerluvof4

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2016, 06:00:31 PM »
You can easily build bigger/longer beds as needed its alot cheaper than adding square footage. I have a 6"8 son and its not uncommon to get double bed bunk beds. Family of 6 and we have downsized significantly twice in the last 3 years and doubled kids up and its worked out great and in alot of case brought the family more together since were always otherwise on the go.

crispy

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2016, 07:58:01 PM »
Also, does the office space have to be bedroom? A lot of houses here have formal living rooms and dining rooms that could work as an office and would probably be more functional also. I don't know anyone whoever actually uses a formal living room.

Another to look at is a master bedroom with a sitting nook. That could be used as an office without taking over the bedroom.

We re ently downsized from a four bedroom to a three bedroom for our family. I realized that we didn't want to keep paying for rooms that were rarely used.

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2016, 08:20:06 PM »
Also, does the office space have to be bedroom? A lot of houses here have formal living rooms and dining rooms that could work as an office and would probably be more functional also. I don't know anyone whoever actually uses a formal living room.

Another to look at is a master bedroom with a sitting nook. That could be used as an office without taking over the bedroom.

We re ently downsized from a four bedroom to a three bedroom for our family. I realized that we didn't want to keep paying for rooms that were rarely used.

It has to be its own space with a door. With kids, a common area will absolutely not work for DH to work.

Urchina

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2016, 08:57:26 PM »
Offices don't have to be rooms. We are a family of four with a four-bedroom house (originally five bedroom, but we turned an awkwardly located bedroom into a den with pocket doors that closes it off from the main living space. That's our TV room and once we get a sofabed in there it will double as extra guest sleeping space (We have a seperate living room). Our house is about 1600 square feet and it's more than enough space, even when family visits.

I'd look for alternatives to a home office. Most home offices take up way more space than is actually required, and that's space that you don't have to live in on a daily basis. Especially with access to digital storage, most people don't need as much space/paper storage as offices used to be designed for, so you can fit a comfortable, small, functional office into much less space. A walk-in closet with good light would do it for most people. It could be part of your master suite, for example.

There are a lot of really great, innovative home office ideas on websites such as Houzz, and in books such as The Not So Big House. For example, if you had a wide landing, that could be a bookcase/ office. Slightly wider-than-average hallways can house bed compartments (like ship's bunks) that can be used for kids when people are visiting. Closets can be turned into home offices. You could use a den as a TV room / office; pocket doors could close it off during the day.

Here are some links with images:
http://www.swdesignconcepts.com/apps/blog/show/11910881-10-beautiful-home-office-layout-and-organization-ideas

Here's the Not So Big House show house website:
http://www.notsobigshowhouse.com/


pbkmaine

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2016, 09:05:51 PM »
Get XL twins for your sons. That's what they will get in college.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2016, 09:54:28 PM »
My DH "office" is in a corner of the garage. He has a heater thing (like a space heater, but aims heat at him, not heating entire space) for the winter. It is quiet and secluded in our little house.

We have 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, but both a 14 year old daughter & 11 year old son. Against my better judgment, we had 2 sets of grands visit for Xmas (different weeks). Son slept on floor of our room and grands got his room.

In the future, we will simply pay for grands to stay at a B&B or AirB&B by us. It would take a lot of nights in a hotel to justify spending an extra $100k for a bigger house with a guest room.

lakemom

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2016, 05:49:24 AM »
- Away from all family - will have parents/in-laws visiting regularly

Just want to put this idea in your head.....you can supply a A LOT of hotel rooms/airbnb rooms for the 100k difference in getting a smaller vs. a larger house.  If guests were to pitch a fit you could gently suggest that they could either buy their own house in your area or upgrade your house for their convenience.  Beyond that, I'd get the least house you can and hold out for one with either a finished basement on a nice basement that could be finished by you (my minimum requirement on a basement would be a daylight basement with a preference given to a walk out) over time. 

Rubic

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2016, 08:30:40 AM »
In the past, I've used a walk-in closet as my office when I used to work 100% from home.  It might work for your DH.

MayDay

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2016, 08:36:31 AM »
In the past, I've used a walk-in closet as my office when I used to work 100% from home.  It might work for your DH.

Yes, or a set up in the master bedroom works- it has a door that closes and no reason for the kids to come in. 

The various ideas that include "corner of the playroom" and "stairs landing" and such are fairly comical.  How many times does she have to say that it must be a room with a door?

Papa bear

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2016, 08:55:30 AM »
I saw in a magazine recently a move to build "tiny house" offices.  Basically a shed/outbuilding that you could use as a dedicated office space.  Depending on climate, it could be a decent idea.


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soupcxan

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2016, 09:06:27 AM »
you can supply a A LOT of hotel rooms/airbnb rooms for the 100k difference in getting a smaller vs. a larger house.

Not exactly fair comparison because $100k paid to Airbnb is a pure 100% expense, while buying $100k of extra house is equity - it only brings incremental expenses of interest, taxes, utilities, and insurance on that $100k of extra house. You expect to get the $100k back when you sell the house, and if your home appreciates, you benefit from having more invested in it. Of course that cuts the other way if your home loses value.

justajane

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2016, 10:13:20 AM »
The various ideas that include "corner of the playroom" and "stairs landing" and such are fairly comical. 

My husband works in the corner of a playroom. I was sharing my experience. What's the problem here?

What's the point in starting a thread if all the OP wants to hear is, yeah, get a house with what is essentially FIVE bedrooms (four bedrooms and an office)? I thought the whole point of this forum was to find way to think outside the box.

Take what you like and leave the rest. It's a pretty simple concept.

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2016, 10:29:06 AM »
I appreciate the unique ideas.  But it absolutely will NEVER work without it being its own room. It would be one thing if work from home was not all of the time - but we have two boys and they are not quiet.  Period. Conference calls, sales calls, etc cannot happen when the kids are home if we don't have a separate space.  And I don't want my children to have to tippy toe around their own house every day until 6pm.  I'm not saying we absolutely have to have 5 bedrooms but it has to work and be comfortable for everyone.  I'm evaluating many different options - and if it makes the most sense to have a 4 bedroom house then we will absolutely do it and not feel guilty.  I'm just trying to get some ideas frome other people with kids who work from home 100%.

gatortator

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2016, 10:55:05 AM »
interesting post about rethinking the use of a house from a mom who works from home with two kids.  Their apartment is 900 sq ft 2bed/1 bath.

several of her ideas may be useful for you.

http://www.skywaymom.com/small-family-home/

MrsDinero

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #34 on: January 27, 2016, 10:58:30 AM »
I appreciate the unique ideas.  But it absolutely will NEVER work without it being its own room. It would be one thing if work from home was not all of the time - but we have two boys and they are not quiet.  Period. Conference calls, sales calls, etc cannot happen when the kids are home if we don't have a separate space.  And I don't want my children to have to tippy toe around their own house every day until 6pm.  I'm not saying we absolutely have to have 5 bedrooms but it has to work and be comfortable for everyone.  I'm evaluating many different options - and if it makes the most sense to have a 4 bedroom house then we will absolutely do it and not feel guilty.  I'm just trying to get some ideas frome other people with kids who work from home 100%.
Check out our setup.  We are both client facing (on the phone) and we are able to close the doors for conference calls occasionally hearing baby squeals. 

No one said your kids have to be like church mice, but there is a difference between normal activity/respecting when your parents are working and loud I don't give a damn behavior.

Another option is to rent some office space somewhere.  I know in some of suburbs where my friends live there are actually telecommuting centers where you can rent desk/office space along with other telecommuters.

zarfus

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2016, 11:04:45 AM »
You can convince yourself 4/5 bedrooms all day long.  Since this is a mustachian thread, I'm going to throw in this challenge based on my experience.

I grew up with 4 sibs and 2 parents in a 3 br 1.5 ba.  The boys shared a room, the girls shared a room.  There was an office space in the MBR.  When there were visitors, some people (let's be real, the boys), got sleeping bags and camped in the basement.  When we were noisy during work hours..."GO OUTSIDE/DOWNSTAIRS!!".

"And I don't want my children to have to tippy toe around their own house every day until 6pm".  I'm sorry, but this makes me laugh.  It's not their house, it is your house.  Aren't they in school until 3/4pm anyways most days?

sjc0816

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2016, 01:21:44 PM »
You can convince yourself 4/5 bedrooms all day long.  Since this is a mustachian thread, I'm going to throw in this challenge based on my experience.

I grew up with 4 sibs and 2 parents in a 3 br 1.5 ba.  The boys shared a room, the girls shared a room.  There was an office space in the MBR.  When there were visitors, some people (let's be real, the boys), got sleeping bags and camped in the basement.  When we were noisy during work hours..."GO OUTSIDE/DOWNSTAIRS!!".

"And I don't want my children to have to tippy toe around their own house every day until 6pm".  I'm sorry, but this makes me laugh.  It's not their house, it is your house.  Aren't they in school until 3/4pm anyways most days?

I'm not convincing myself of anything. We want to look into ALL options, not just a few.  And yes, my kids are in school until 3pm...with the exception of: a week at Thanksgiving, two weeks winter break, one week spring break and 3 months in the summer. Just because we could make a very small house work, doesn't mean we HAVE to or even necessarily want to.  There's nothing evil about having a 4 bedroom house.  We currently live in a 3br, 1500 square foot house with a basement and that works fine for us but my husband doesn't work from home right now.  We are relocating - and evaluating our options. 

galliver

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2016, 01:27:54 PM »
Regarding your question: I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done this exact thing in a single room with shared kitchen and bathroom. Kids on a bunkbed, parents in a sofabed, desk in the corner. Kids are reading or doing hw or playing outside while a parent works, OR ELSE.

I suspect minimum with any degree of comfort for you is going to be 2 BR. The secret is to get two floors, as they help with sound insulation. Office in the bedroom, you plan ahead so you don't need to go in there during work hours. Kids read or do HW or play outside until dad finishes work. Get them XL twin beds or full/full bunkbed. Or lofts w/ desks and storage underneath. For guests, a good sofabed or futon in the living room, either for them or for you. Or keep a spare mattress in the garage to throw on the LR floor. This is basically how it worked in my family growing up, although dad didn't work from home 100% (maybe 30%) and didn't do a lot of calls. I have 2 sisters, 5 and 8 years younger; parents gave us the larger bedroom. Having to share space and respect others' needs, while uncomfortable in the moment, was definitely a useful skill once I got to college.

I think 3BR would be absolutely tenable (might help to have one large bedroom for the boys or for master+office). At 4-5 I absolutely think you are looking at luxury territory, based on my life experiences. However, I'm not actually suggesting you try to fit into a studio or even a 2BR. I'm trying to point out that the question in these situations is always is it WORTH it, to you. Imagine that instead of your location you're in the SF Bay Area and the difference was more on the order of $500k-$700k than $100k-$200k. How hard would you try to fit into the smaller place then?

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2016, 02:18:16 PM »
See, this is helpful because some of these ideas I have not considered.  My boys are 10 and 7 -- so they can definitely share a room IF the room is big enough.  My older son doesn't fit in a twin bed any more (DH is 6'6" and I am 5'10" and he's crazy tall)....so he needs a double bed.  So that is a consideration. Both boys are going to be large - which obviously doesn't mean anything right now....but if we are buying a forever home, I can't frankly imagine them sharing a room forever unless its a big one. 

Another idea I had....is if our master bedroom is large enough to put a desk, we can use that as an office.  I don't need an office - can use my kitchen table.  Any "common" space cannot be used as an office for DH.  We need a lockable room because summers and breaks with the kids - he needs separate space for work.  We can figure out guest space when it comes but in general, I'd prefer to not put our elderly parents on a pull-out couch. 

Thanks for all of the suggestions.  We want to be as efficient as possible but also need to be realistic about comfort and needs.
This made me laugh.  My older son is almost 10.  I can't imagine him not fitting in his twin bed (the boys bunk beds are full bottom/ twin top).  He's shrimpy like me (I'm 5'2", husband is 6').  He's in the 20th percentile in height for his age.

We have, in fact, considered giving the boys our "master" bedroom.  If you will eventually need two full sized beds for the boys, you might consider that.   

Makes we wonder if I'd married my college boyfriend, who is 6'8".

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2016, 02:22:11 PM »
I ponder this a lot.  No working from home currently, but we have 2 opposite gender children so that puts us at 3 bedrooms to start.

What we have been doing so far is having the kids sleep on our flood when we have guests.  Both kids have twin beds, but one room has a trundle, so it sleeps 2 guests (or a kid plus a guest). 

The issue we have, and this is somewhat minor, is that when we have guests, the kids sleep like CRAP.  This of course translates to significantly more whining and bad behavior.  And since we do not live local to any family, we have guests quite a lot.  The other issue is that I am not going to have my elderly grandparents (and my parents and IL's are approaching elderly as well) sleep on a twin trundle on the floor.  Which means now H and I have to give up our bed.  That makes ME crabby.

So, long story short, I think we will be looking for a house with either a basement that is dry (finished or not) or a room that can be used as an office/guest bedroom/etc.  And if the kids' bedrooms are large enough, we might put our old queen bed in one of their rooms too, for added flexibility.  I know the common wisdom is that it is cheaper to pay for a hotel once a year when you have guests, but we have guests A LOT.  So I don't really know that a hotel is a better choice.
Are you rural?  I ask, because pretty much, the only person who stays with us when they visit is my MIL.  Everyone else stays in a hotel.  It's just too cramped.  (If people come for a day or two, they may stay, but not longer stays.)

Sometimes we pay for their hotel.  I also have friends on the street who tend to leave town during holidays, and they've offered up their homes for guests (in exchange for caring for their dog).  That's a good option too.

The main reason that I try to avoid the sofabed for guests is because some nights I just can't sleep, and I end up on the couch.  It's completely my own selfishness.  Plus, I wake up early, and I want to go get coffee, etc.

mm1970

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2016, 02:28:53 PM »
you can supply a A LOT of hotel rooms/airbnb rooms for the 100k difference in getting a smaller vs. a larger house.

Not exactly fair comparison because $100k paid to Airbnb is a pure 100% expense, while buying $100k of extra house is equity - it only brings incremental expenses of interest, taxes, utilities, and insurance on that $100k of extra house. You expect to get the $100k back when you sell the house, and if your home appreciates, you benefit from having more invested in it. Of course that cuts the other way if your home loses value.
YMMV, depends on the frequency of the visitors.

We have a smaller house, instead of the extra $100k for the extra bedroom, plus the extra $1k a year in property taxes it would have cost us.

In return, we put people up when they visit.  Thus far, in the 11.5 years since we bought our house, it has been:
4 days in 2007 (SIL and family)
3 days in 2012 (SIL and family)
4 days in 2009 (my Mom/stepdad)
3 days in 2013 (my stepdad)

20 days of hotels = about $3000, give or take.  My SIL, when she comes, tends to hit a few different places, so is only staying here for a few days (and in both cases, we were beset with either the stomach flu or head lice, otherwise, she would have willingly crammed into our house).  My stepdad prefers to have privacy.

An advantage to a smaller house is that people don't stay as long.  Who wants houseguests for weeks at a time?  The only person I can tolerate that long is my MIL.

AZDude

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2016, 03:06:29 PM »
I worked from home with a 2 year old home with me(along with my wife). We were in a 900 sq ft 2bd apartment. Had no issues.

Put your desks in the master bedroom or out of the way in the living/great room. Get a locking cabinet desk so you can lock your work stuff to keep people from messing with it. Plan out meetings, etc... so that you have someplace quiet. Use a laptop so you are not chained to the desk.

ender

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2016, 03:13:27 PM »
Don't forget you can convert other rooms.

My parents converted their formal dining room into an office, which wouldn't have showed up on a floor plan very well prior. If houses have multiple living rooms/dining rooms you may be able to convert one or more of them pretty easily.

Same with basements.

Papa bear

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #43 on: January 27, 2016, 03:26:52 PM »
Found that article. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248061

See the section on shedquarters.  You can build a shed for approx 1000-1500 and then outfit as necessary if you do it yourself.

I would have done that but I found a small space walkable to my house at $300/month and it's a lot easier to bring clients there than my backyard =).

I cannot work from home.  I am too easily distracted and tend to get on other projects.




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justchristine

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2016, 03:52:48 PM »
If I were in your shoes I think I would lean towards a 3 br that had either an attic or basement that was or could be finished for an office/guest room.  I'd also second the suggestion to keep your mind open about repurposing spaces.  I've been house hunting and was surprised at the number of 3br homes in my area that 3 living rooms.  A lot of the older ranch houses here have a living room and family room on the main floor and a finished basement.  Others have 2 dining areas.  Depending on the floor plan, either of these kind of setups could work for you.

With This Herring

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2016, 06:58:04 PM »
You will want the office on a different floor from where the kids normally play.  Dad has a basement office in my parents' house, and that worked out well.  The rest of the basement is unfinished, so it was relatively inexpensive.

If the boys are going to share a bedroom, I suggest lofted twin XL beds.  That keeps the entire floor area clear for games, maybe a desk or two, or alternatively a sofa.

What about a Murphy bed in the formal dining room or living room?  There are some really nice ones that would blend into your other furniture.

Also, before you plan on a guest room - are you sure that you will really have guests that often/for that long?  Many times these promises to visit frequently don't materialize.

Jon Bon

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2016, 07:54:40 PM »
Get the bigger house! I feel this site is about focusing on happiness, not bragging how many of your children you can fit in a room.

Do what works for you, my guess is you already know the answer.

Full disclosure we have 3 kids and 4 BR with 1 BR as an office. Twins get to share a room for now.

MrsPete

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #47 on: January 27, 2016, 08:55:49 PM »
My DH "office" is in a corner of the garage. He has a heater thing (like a space heater, but aims heat at him, not heating entire space) for the winter. It is quiet and secluded in our little house.
Work in a corner of a garage with a space heater?  I think I'd rather make the trip into the office.

Just want to put this idea in your head.....you can supply a A LOT of hotel rooms/airbnb rooms for the 100k difference in getting a smaller vs. a larger house.
Maybe it's different in other areas, but here the difference between a similar 3 bedroom and a 4 bedroom house isn't anywhere near 100K.  In fact, an average house is less than 200K.

I appreciate the unique ideas.  But it absolutely will NEVER work without it being its own room. It would be one thing if work from home was not all of the time - but we have two boys and they are not quiet.  Period. Conference calls, sales calls, etc cannot happen when the kids are home if we don't have a separate space.
Makes sense to me.  I could see adding doors to a formal dining room or den to make it into an office, but to work in all day, every day, I can't imagine the office not being a full-fledged room and including some privacy. 

Get the bigger house! I feel this site is about focusing on happiness, not bragging how many of your children you can fit in a room.
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 08:57:57 PM by MrsPete »

CanuckExpat

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2016, 12:10:38 AM »
OP, are there co-working spaces near where you live? That might give you more flexibility when needed.

Get the bigger house! I feel this site is about focusing on happiness, not bragging how many of your children you can fit in a room.
I agree with you about happiness, but you also seem to be assuming bigger house == more happiness. That is not necessarily true.
"A small house can hold just as much happiness as a big one."

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Minimum Housing Needs - Family of 4 (Work From Home)
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2016, 07:23:56 AM »
Yeah, the humble bragging -- I can make do with less than you, screw happiness and comfort -- gets bad here sometimes.

Thank God someone else was thinking this, because this thread (like so many others on MMM) was getting out of hand.

OP: this forum sometimes turns into a dick measuring contest to see who can be the cheapest person on the planet.
-Threads about buying an engagement ring often completely ignore the OP's request and turn into a philosophical debate about diamonds, and then people start bragging, "I made my wife an engagement ring purely from solidified dust from the attic and it's BEAUTIFUL."
-Threads about buying a treadmill or elliptical turn into "Buy used olympic weights off Craigslist and work out in your garage."
-Hell, any time somebody posts a case study and state that they have a car nicer than a used Honda Civic, it's inevitable that someone suggests "ditch the car!!!!"
-The latest one where I was called "lazy" was because I pay for cable TV because GF and I absolutely love sports and it's worth it to us.

The same BS is going on in this thread. You've stated your needs and wants. I say the most important thing you can do is buy a home that you will live in until you retire. There's a ton of money involved on the front-end of home ownership--moving into a new home and selling your old home is a huge expense that will cost more than the difference between a three bedroom and a four bedroom.

So do what makes you happy and comfortable, and buy a home that fits your family's needs. If your husband needs a dedicated office space, buy a house with a nice office space. If you don't want your kids to share a bedroom, buy a house with enough bedrooms so everyone can have their own. All this said, I think it might be silly to have a dedicated guest room. That room in my house growing up got used maybe 20 times in eighteen years.