How do your family use your house?

(62 Posts)
Wallykazam Thu 28-Jul-16 18:09:05

We are currently renting and have had our offer on a house accepted. We have 2 young girls (3 and 5) and want to remodel the downstairs to allow us to socialise as a family, entertain adults and let the kids have their own space as well. We also have an amazing garden that we want to take advantage of. We have several ideas for example, partician off part of the current kitchen to have a kids room, rearrange kitchen and open plan it with dining room and have a tv and sofa in the corner, plus small dining table, add a conservortory and use as formal dining room, leave sitting room as is and only for adults.

So we have these ideas but no real experience of how this will work as the girls get older, before we engage with architects and builders etc we just want to make sure we know what we are asking for and know how families 'live' I.e what works, what room is hardly used, what is the flow of your house and what would you change if money was no object? Of course we have a budget but hopefully we can prioritise the important stuff over the nice to have. Hope this makes sense?

Fuzzywuzzywasabear Thu 28-Jul-16 18:17:16

We've just done exactly this, kitchen dinner with TV/ sofa and dining table this will be the hub of the house. Loads of space for parties and family gatherings we have large bifolds out into garden for bbqs and summer parties. Baby is a summer baby so will be perfect for birthdays! 😀

Adult living room at the front of the house, still being decorated but envisage cosy winter evening snuggled up with a glass of wine and a movie once dc is in bed.

We have a separate playroom which will house all DCs toys and when old we'll put video games etc. In there so dc has own space for friends to come over.

We've only just built it and baby arrives imminently so not really using it fully at the moment but that's the plan! Hth

Ilikedogs Thu 28-Jul-16 18:24:24

At the moment we have a semi open plan kitchen with a seating area off of it, which opens into the dining room and then a seperate living room.
We are moving to a house with all the rooms seperate although you can fit a small table in the kitchen. I think we will probably miss being semi open plan

frenchfancy Thu 28-Jul-16 18:31:21

Not keen on having an adult only space. I appreciate that a toy free living room is a nice thing, but if you have Adult only it creates a feeling of us and them within the family which isn't great as they get older.

I kind of feel the same way about a kids only room too.

Savagebeauty Thu 28-Jul-16 18:47:55

Toy free is great.

plusthree Thu 28-Jul-16 18:52:06

I love the idea of a playroom that becomes a den when they're older but IME they all gravitate to the kitchen or their bedrooms.
I'd keep the kitchen as big as possible but have great storage for toys and general stuff.

craftyoldhen Thu 28-Jul-16 18:53:20

A separate kids room didn't work for us because our kids follow us around tend to want to be with us, so end up in the lounge regardless.

So now we have a playroom off the lounge with doors that we can open in the day so they can still see us and talk to us, but we can shut them when they go to bed.

As they get older I imagine having their own space with be more important.

AGruffaloCrumble Thu 28-Jul-16 18:56:53

Just chiming in to say that we had an adult only living room and a kids living room when growing up and it was really horrible feeling so seperated and like we weren't wanted to be seen.

Wallykazam Thu 28-Jul-16 19:10:33

Thanks everyone for your input, just to correct myself, when I say adult only, we intend for it to be used when we have hubbies colleagues over and/or the kids are in bed - if it's just the four of us, then we would end up in the toy room/kitchen anyway. Also as one poster has suggested it would be a toy free room rather than an adult room, the kids can come in but they can't bring toys or food - I just want somewhere to relax without clutter - that's my ideal anyway 😀

Also if you could let me know ages of your children, as I assume the ones following you around are not teenagers...?!?

craftyoldhen Thu 28-Jul-16 19:42:56

Haha no not teenagers - 1 toddler and 1 primary school aged.

catsofa Thu 28-Jul-16 19:50:40

Are washing machine, dishwasher, microwave etc in the kitchen? Will you be able to hear the tv over the sound of them? Ours would be too noisy!

Wallykazam Thu 28-Jul-16 20:02:31

Catsofa - good point, we will have a separate utility room to house the washing machine, but I do wonder about how social a kitchen can be with an extracter fan going off, the garlic/ginger blender, not to forget the smells from the kitchen (especially Asian cooking)... It sounds great in reality to have open plan but does it work?

Ragwort Thu 28-Jul-16 20:05:44

I would love an 'adults only room' grin - having a teenager in the house tends to mean he dominates the 'main' sitting room - so DH and I can either sit in the kitchen, study or bedroom. What tends to happen is DS is in the sitting room, DH in the study and I am in bed with a good book - so much for family life grin.

Downstairs is pretty much open plan - big kitchen/diner leading to family room, then snug/TV area off that. Then utility and a front room with a wood burner. This isn't really an adult only room but I try to keep it toy free, plus no food/drink in there (kids)

The kitchen and garden room open out onto the garden, with bifolds. Which are lovely but a bit dated now. I'd go for French windows if starting again.

Kids are 6 and 4. We don't really have parties as very little parking available at the moment, but do have lots of people round.

PlotterOfPlots Fri 29-Jul-16 00:02:38

Toys live in the playroom but children and toys are very welcome in the living room. We just try to pack it all away at bedtime every day. I'm not completely convinced about the playroom, it's lovely to have an extra reception room but mainly it is just used for toy storage and music practice now.

We have a traditional unfashionable lounge diner and a separate eat-in (just!) kitchen. I really love having 2 separate tables. The dining table hosts craft projects, homework, DH and I WFHing. The kitchen table is the one we eat at. I love not having to juggle dinner, homework and papier mache simultaneously. I also like having separate spaces downstairs. My eldest is 9 so I don't need to keep an eye constantly, and the separation between the tv and cooking/dishwasher/washing machine noise is important to me. Especially when you add violin practice to the mix. Doors are good IMO!!

nell15 Fri 29-Jul-16 00:07:00

A conservatory could get chilly and damp in winter unless it's well built and insulated with heating. It can be too hot in summer.

PlotterOfPlots Fri 29-Jul-16 00:34:05

Re: what I'd change, I'd like a bigger kitchen and a study that could be flexibly incorporated or separated from the rest of the house, somehow.

ChunkyHare Fri 29-Jul-16 08:05:11

We moved here when the boys were 3 and 7 and now they are 13 and 10.

Due to the layout of the house the much wanted "family room" could never happen. We knew this before we bought it so worked around it.

We converted a double garage into a playroom and banked one wall with storage which houses coats, shoes, bags, toys, 32 inch tv, wii, x box, toys, more toys and more toys. I think we have every board game Toysrus sells grin

We did not hook up actual tv into there otherwise we would never see the children. They eat breakfast in the kitchen on weekday mornings whilst I unpack dishwasher/make packed lunch. We eat in the dining room for dinner, all gathered round the table talking about our day.

After dinner the lounge is where we all huddle together, we watch tv/youtube etc and talk.

The lounge was a no toy area because the playroom is so big they can leave out toys like train track, hexbug runs and it has a large sofa bed in there so I could sit in there with them when they were little.

It has a double desk in it and they do their homework in there too.

There are no tvs or computers in their bedrooms, they are for sleeping and reading in.

Although I love the idea of open plan, when I have cooked a Thai green curry I am glad I can close the door on the kitchen and let the extractor fan do its work. The washing machine and tumble drier are in the utility so I can hang clothes up in there and no cooking smells get in.

DinosaursRoar Fri 29-Jul-16 08:24:29

We're all a bit open plan here - previous owners loved knocking walls down. However, if I make fish pie the whole house stinks. If I'm a messy cook, you can see it from the dining table (so dinner party menus are based round messy stuff done in advance and just one/two pans to serve up from). Toys are in the space next to the dining space, so lots of brightly coloured toys when you are having a grown up meal....

We have a separate living room which I do like to be able to just shut the door on the rest and watch tv in the evenings!

Having a separate toy room is great, a separate living room for teens is a great idea for later on.

My "lotto win house" dream has a playroom, a kitchen you can eat in plus a separate dining room for eating with guests, a drawing room and possibly a library (not "office" or "study"!) where I can sit and read in peace and quiet. wink

Wallykazam Fri 29-Jul-16 09:03:09

Thanks everyone, this is what I wanted, to 'hear' real experiences, I think current trends say open plan kitchen, but I'm starting to feel the practicalities of cooking mean the kitchen may not be the place to 'hang out'. Especially as the girls get older, I doubt they want to smell of spices!

redhat Fri 29-Jul-16 09:09:24

We are not open plan but we have a family room off the kitchen with double doors . It's the best of both worlds. It is close enough that with the doors open it is the same as open plan but we can also close it off if for example I'm clattering about in the kitchen and the DC are trying to watch a movie.

I love having a kitchen large enough to have a decent sized kitchen table in there. We rarely eat in the dining room during the week.

We have a separate playroom where in theory all toys stay (of course they don't)

We also have a separate lying room which is the one room in the house that is always nice and tidy. Its great to be able to sit down and feel calm in there.

redhat Fri 29-Jul-16 09:10:17

I would say that in our house (which is very large) we spend 90 percent of the time in the kitchen and the family room plus (in summer) the deck that opens out of the kitchen

Iamnotloobrushphobic Fri 29-Jul-16 09:13:10

I have had a conservatory in a past house and wouldn't recommend one if you plan to use it daily as a main room. Conservatories are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter regardless of how well you try to heat them. If you need to extend invest in a proper extension,

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Fri 29-Jul-16 09:14:34

We have a large kitchen diner that leads into the back garden, and a 'dining room' through an archway off the diner part that we use as a music room/playroom. The washing machine is in the utility room.

We then have a big front room that's mostly toy free, and a junk room study that houses the pc and several bookcases.

We probably spend equal time in the front room/ kitchen. The older kids spend a lot of time in their bedrooms and ds2 (4) is starting to use his (the biggest bedroom) to play in as well.

It works perfectly for us.

JanTheJam Fri 29-Jul-16 09:15:51

I live in Aus. I literally dont know anyone without a kitchen diner.

I found it really hard with little ones to cook in a room separate o where they hung out. I much prefer keeping an eye on them when they are little and knowing what they are Doing.

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