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What sort of house would your kids choose?

(28 Posts)
elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 15:34:05

We're currently thinking about moving to a 'forever' house - we love where we are (fairly urban but friendly area) but I just don't think it will be big enough for us and two ds's as they get older and louder! We're having difficulties deciding what kind of place to move to though.
My ideal house would be in the same area but with more space and a better garden (we have one but it is very slopey, not great for football or den-making!). This doesn't really exist so we will have to compromise and I am wondering what sort of house and location will be best for the kids as they grow.

Do kids like being in the city, or is out of town safer and freer?
Do they really like having a garden or would it be better to be on an estate where they can play out? (have never really considered modern housing but many friends say their kids would love to live on an estate)
Do kids value having a playroom or will they soon be able to play in their rooms? (I have a fantasy that if only we had a playroom I would be able to do so much mroe creative stuff with the ds's...)

I suppose I am just wondering how much of my idea of an ideal home is about my priorities rather than theirs, or is based on what they need now (at one and three) rather than what they will need later.

Hausfrau Mon 24-Jan-05 15:45:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SPARKLER1 Mon 24-Jan-05 15:47:24

just asked dd (5) and she said her perfect house would have a red car parked outside and the house would have a pink front door!!! aaah.

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 15:50:58

I suppose I'm trying to get at what constitutes an ideal family home and location.

Talking with friends some say, well a garden is only important until they are around 10; others say, if you live out of town you will be a permanent taxi service; others that their kids would love to live on a modern estate (something which doesn't appeal to me at all, but maybe I should be more open to different ideas?)

Hausfrau Mon 24-Jan-05 15:52:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

welshmum Mon 24-Jan-05 15:54:24

dd wants to live in a windmill

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:07:42

ok I can see you lot just aren't taking this seriously [stamping foot icon]
Guess I'll just have to make my life-changing decisions by myself then!

marthamoo Mon 24-Jan-05 16:08:41

I think mine would like a big garden (ours is small - too small for a climbing frame or swing - or one of those enormous wooden forts that, as ds1 pointed out are "only" 1300 pounds!)

I don't think it needs to be as polarised as city v. country: we live in a smallish town (well, small compared to Manchester which is where I grew up). We have the Peak District on our doorstep but all the amenities of a town too. I guess as childen get older they do want the trappings of a town - McDonald's, cinema etc. My dh grew up in a tiny Welsh village with nothing to do - and he came into far more contact with drugs and delinquent behaviour than I did growing up in inner city Manchester.

I'd go for what makes you happy - because if you're happy your children are more likely to be too.

marthamoo Mon 24-Jan-05 16:09:53

I was serious! I didn't say "at Legoland" which is possibly what ds1 would say if I asked him!

starlover Mon 24-Jan-05 16:14:38

I think it depends on the kids!

I used to be a mother's help for 6 kids. They lived on a big farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with a HUUUUGE garden, but they had to share bedrooms and needed taxi-ing about a lot...
it was fab because we could chuck them outside all the time without any worry.
They moved a couple of years ago when the oldest was 12 and the youngest 2, into the nearest village. They now have a house where they all have a bedroom, and they can walk to school... but the garden is a lot, lot smaller.

I asked them which house they preferred and it was a mixture! The oldest likes the new one because he has his own room, second and third oldest like the old one because it had so much space to play outside and the house was "cooler".
numbers 4 and 5 like the new one because they are near their friends and can go round to their houses easily or have people round without mum's having to arrange picking up and dropping off.

I think they probably have it as good as it's gonna get to be honest with you... they're in a semi-rural location where they can go out and play with their friends, and go to the park etc without too much of a worry to their mum and dad. The local community is quite tight-knit so it feels safe to let them out (although the littlest ones aren't allowed out alone).... they also have the bonus of being near friends and school, without being a big town near main roads etc etc

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:15:59

thank you marthamoo!
I'm just wrestling with compromise here, and coming to terms with not being able to afford the kind of house I grew up in!
Garden is the big issue - very scarce round here in the city. So do we move out to try to get mroe space or just make do with the park?

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:20:07

starlover that's interesting...too early to tell what my kids will want when they are older but they certainly need outdoor space now!

starlover Mon 24-Jan-05 16:20:42

it's nice to have A garden, even if it isn't huge.
Do you live near the park?
I grew up on a council estate and although we had a reasonably big garden my brother and i spent most of our time playing outside with our friends, out in the street or at the park.

starlover Mon 24-Jan-05 16:23:46

I will just add to that...
I think it's nice for both you and the kids if they can have a bit of freedom and go out and play without you having to supervise (when they're old enough obviously)
If you live in an area where you're happy for them to play out with friends, or go up to the park then that's great and a garden of your own may not be so important.
But if you think you wouldn't be happy with them being out unsupervised then you may find yourself getting tired of the constant demands to accompany them to the park etc (it gets worse as they get older!) in which case you may want somewhere with a nice big garden where they can have friends round and you know they're safe

Hulababy Mon 24-Jan-05 16:23:56

I would say that a garden is good. We currently live in a city centre apartment, which is fab and we adore it, but we have had to sell (mixture of emotions)

DD is now 2y 9m and:
she needs some outdoor space,
we need more than 2 bed rooms,
we need storage - apartments and city living don't have storage - get somewhere with storage!!!
we need a good primary school in catchment area

ediemay Mon 24-Jan-05 16:29:32

hausfrau, love your DS' house idea, especially the rocket park!

elliott, have just moved and had similar thoughts to you. In the end, went for location - walkable to school, good bus service, semi-rural. I think it's hard when things feel like a compromise, but if I were you I would try to think what features will make your day-to-day life easier over the next few years.

princesspeahead Mon 24-Jan-05 16:31:16

Hi elliott! My 2p worth...
First, although of course you need to consider the kids, the most important thing is that you go somewhere that YOU are happy. That sounds obvious, but I know a number of people who have moved to a rambling rural idyll because was a perfect safe environment for the children, but because they aren't particularly country people have ended up feeling isolated, trapped by their car and perpetually cold. I made that sort of move from central london, but because I tend towards the sociopathic, love driving and have an aga, I think it is great!

Having said that, the ideal house for children up to about 10 is one with lots of space, own bedrooms, a separate playroom (for some reason that is just better than bedrooms - easier to do creative play, easier to have a joint pool of toys rather than separating them out into bedrooms, etc) a big corridor or room they can run up and down in (or ideally skateboard up and down), a big garden with a lawn to kick a football on, a wilder area of shrubbery or trees they can build a den in, and somewhere to put a swing and/or climbing frame. It is perfect if the garden is safe and completely enclosed so that they can come and go out of the house as they please (my 18 mth old is regularly discovered chatting to the rabbits a good 70m from the house), and that fosters wonderful independence. You need to be very rural for that though (we are surrounded by pastureland with no water, roads or anything vaguely dangerous for about a mile). Oh, and they all want a dog. And lots of sticks, sticks are good.
From about 10, they like to be closer to friends, but they are still OK in the rural idyll if you ferry them around a lot.
From about 14 (12 for girls) they want to be in a mews house off the King's Road.
I'd say playing out on an estate can't possibly compare to making dens in your own garden with your mates, but I don't have much experience of estates (well not the kind you mean) .


elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:41:19

pph, your second paragraph perfectly sums up my ideal childhood house - if I had a spare million quid or so! But then I also completely identify with those who find living in the country isolating and hate being trapped by the car. Endless ferrying would drive me round the bend - I need my children to be seasoned bus travellers as soon as possible! I just love our current location, in large part because we can walk just about everywhere we need to. So for me the city would win every time. I'm also not convinced that we'd be able to afford that much more space out of town than in it - at least not in the few places I'd consider living. And school catchment is quite a limiting factor too.

hmmph. not sure really what we'll do. Sit tight and hope for a house price crash or a large inheritance

princesspeahead Mon 24-Jan-05 16:44:05

I bet I could find you somewhere really good, in your budget, outside of the city. there is so much out there, you'd be surprised. try me! budget, number of children, where your dh and/or you have to work, please!

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:49:07

well, since you asked for the challenge....budget 350-400k (but 400 slightly palpitation inducing), 2 kids so really 4 beds unless plenty of downstairs rooms, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
School catchment will be the killer though, I can guarantee it!
Will catch up tomorrow...

Sponge Mon 24-Jan-05 16:51:09

pph are you secretly Kirsty Allsopp?

princesspeahead Mon 24-Jan-05 16:52:04

ok, I'll have a look. but to save me some time (never having been to newcastle), do you have your heart set on any particular school?

princesspeahead Mon 24-Jan-05 16:53:02

no, but I do know her... hmm, maybe I'll palm this off on her and see what she thinks!

elliott Mon 24-Jan-05 16:57:47

no, we are nto too fussy but there are a few no hopers around. Any bog standard comp with around 60% with 5 good GCSEs would probably be ok.

crunchie Mon 24-Jan-05 16:59:44

Personally I think I live in the ideal location. In a village, but 2 miles from a 'proper' town/city with all things a teenager would need. Therefore while my kids are small we have the village and a garden, but there is a bus stop outside the house to get into town (no ferrying teenagers). However my ideal house would have another downstairs room (or two) for a playroom, and a separate dining room (have kitchen/breakfast room) A bigger bedroom with ensuite for dh and I. And one more bedroom. we have 4, but one is used as a dressing room, one is ours and the kids have one each. I would love a 'proper' spare room.

Also if we are being picky I want a proper larder, and a boot room, a double garage and a drive in drive out driveway!!

All told I feel the semi rural location is perfect, with a good town on the doorstep.

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