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What would you ideal living space be (downstairs)

(23 Posts)
Mandy21 Thu 07-Jul-11 12:41:16

We have an architect coming to the house to give us some ideas about extending.

The house is a typical 1930s semi - entrance hall with stairs leading off to the right, tiny loo & washbasin jammed into what is effectively the understairs cupboard, lounge at front of the house, separate dining room (which we use as the playroom) at the back, kitchen on the other side of the house at the back. Small outhouse / utility room behind kitchen. 2 big double bedrooms upstairs, v small double room, bathroom and separate toilet.

We are a family of 5 - 2 x 6yr olds (who share a bedroom) and a 2 yr old.

The idea is to have a double storey extension - to go out at the back of the house, and out to the side (across the drive which runs down the side of the house into the back garden).

Plan upstairs is to have an extra bedroom and possibly ensuite.

Plan downstairs is to have a half garage / storage for bikes etc at the front of the house, a utility room and small cloakroom where the driveway is now, and then for the rear extension and what is now the kitchen, dining room & outhouse to be one big kitchen diner / living space. Perfect for entertaining, integrating as a family etc.

2 slight concerns - my Mum is saying that I will miss having a play room, especially as the children get older - they'll want their own TV room, or somewhere they can play with friends together (i.e. not their bedrooms) and if we do have one big living space at the back (and keep the lounge as an adult space) would the clutter get on my nerves?

Amy suggestions as to what works for your family as they children get older (we're staying in this house once its extended for the foreseeable future!).


kitsmummy Thu 07-Jul-11 12:58:38

I kind of agree with your mum. Can you not shoehorn a tiny little kids room in somewhere? It need only be a snug, but somewhere they can have tv, sofa and a few toys?

Your plans sounds lovely and I'm all for open plan living, but I think it's ideal to have a specific kids space too if at all possible.

feckwit Thu 07-Jul-11 13:03:59

I've 4 children and my ideal living space would be a really big kitchen/diner/sitting room which would be the heart of the house (probably with the sitting area being slightly raised and like an orangery with view over a stunning garden).

Then I would have a separate adult living room and separate children's play/tv room.

Then a lovely utility room with loads of storage for clutter like pe kits, and football boots.

A study for the pc and latop and all the bills and crap that needs a hidey hole.

Oh and if I could I would have a formal dining room for dinner parties too.

sigh I have thought about this in much detail over the years...

CointreauVersial Thu 07-Jul-11 13:12:36

I definitely agree with your mum that it is a good idea to have a separate space for the kids. Open-plan living is for grown-ups!! There are five of us too, and we have a separate playroom which is used for noisy, messy stuff like Wii and crafts, and there is a second TV.

I would go bonkers with all of us sharing "family time" in one space all the time, and it is perfect being able to close the door on all the clutter.

Now, as the DCs are getting older (DS1 is starting senior school in September) it is evolving a little more into a study/quiet refuge/teenage hang-out/homework room.

Pinkjenny Thu 07-Jul-11 13:16:27

I thought that my ideal layout was exactly as feckwit described - open plan kitchen, diner, sitting area/playroom. Then my lovely friend had an extension added to the back of her house to achieve that, and we went round to see it. It was completely trashed within about ten minutes. Toys. Everywhere.

Keep the kids space separate. Of course, this depends on the age of your kids.

Mandy21 Thu 07-Jul-11 13:17:21

Thank you! Food for thought!

With the constraints that we have (although am loving the sound of feckwit's dream house smile) would you sacrifice part of the open plan living space for a child-zone? By that I mean, if the plan was originally to extend across the back of the house then knock down the back walls of the dining room and kitchen to make one big space, would you consider keeping the dining room nas a play/child's room and just have a big L shaped kitchen / diner living space?

Amaretti Thu 07-Jul-11 13:19:11

Can the front room be the place for the kids?

vonnyh Thu 07-Jul-11 16:45:19

We live in a 1930's semi and had last year had some work done to the downstairs of our house. We exactly what you're proposing to do to your garage, half storage at the front, and a small study and utility room in the remaining space. Works brilliantly. We reinstated the wall between the lounge and the dining room, so now we have a separate living room, with a large kitchen diner at the back of the house. I'm so glad we did this, as I found open plan living incredibly noisy. My children are older than yours, but know when their friends come round, they can use the space at the back of the house, and I can be in the living room or vice versa.

kbaby Thu 07-Jul-11 16:59:24

we have a big open kitchen and family room and I couldn't do without a playroom. The kids toys are so bulky and always look messy , I would say in an open plan house you will appreciate it. I use ours for kids toys and all dhs rubbish that he likes hording.
We have an l shape family room /kitchenwhich works well.

sixtiesqueen Thu 07-Jul-11 23:08:33

I had a house exactly like yours - we extended it in the way you are describing but have now sold and we're on our second renovation project. Couple of things to think about -

I would reconsider your plan to steal part of the garage - 'half a garage' will reduce the value of your house and make it difficult to sell if you want to move on in the future.

ALso, with regard to extending across the rear of the house - you have to comply with the 45 degree rule - have a look at the government plannign portal for advice. I have a blog - I'll post the floor plans for my last house so you can look at what we did. Look here - I'll do it now.....

ChristinedePizan Thu 07-Jul-11 23:14:14

I have a house almost exactly like yours which has a single storey extension added on. The extension is off the kitchen and has a big dining/seating room which is open plan off the kitchen so great for entertaining, then (and this is the cunning bit), a utility/cum play room with a wetroom at the end. One wall of the utility room is all cupboards (with built in space for washing machine, dishwasher etc) but the rest of it is just empty space and that's where the toys stay.

Can take no credit for it as it was like this when we moved here but it works really well (they did originally submit plans for a 2 storey extension but didn't build it in the end - whether that was because of planning permission or cost, I don't know)

Mandy21 Fri 08-Jul-11 08:19:45

Thanks for all your replies - really interesting. We wouldn't be completely open plan, would still have the separate lounge my own adult haven at the front but it seems like some kind of separate kids rm is the way forward. Will see what the architect says smile

sixtiesqueen I take your comment about the garage but we've checked this with a local estate agent - most of the houses on our road have compromised part of the garage for additional living space. All of the houses have large front gardens too which have been altered so that there is a driveway large enough for 2 parked cars and still have little borders / trees. Provided there is space for storage of bulky items such as bikes / lawn mower / ca,ping gear we've been told families want the living space rather than having a garage big enough to use for a car (as not many people tend to use garages for this anymore).

sixtiesqueen Fri 08-Jul-11 12:05:54

You may be right - but I've just spent a year looking for a house and instantly rejected any where the garage was half sized. I'm going to remove those floorplans from my blog just now - did you see them?

Deux Fri 08-Jul-11 18:13:29

Mandy, we've been through the architect process and it was fab. Our plan involves part of the garage for a utility room.

Our architect stressed that the remainder of the garage (which obviously we would call a storage room or something) should be big enough so that if we or future purchasers wanted to convert it to say a bedroom or study that this could be done. That way you get maximum flexibility.

We have neighbours who have converted 75% of their garage to a lovely big utility room but the remaining garage space could only really be used as a skinny study.

Interestingly, when I had some local EAs round to give me a valuation before we embarked on these plans, they all commented that the garage was a waste of space and purchasers would want to convert it. One referred to it as a 'very expensive indoor shed' smile

confusedperson Fri 08-Jul-11 22:07:30

My ideal dowstairs space: open plan kitchen/diner, separate living room, utility room, play room, downstairs loo and a conservatory. My current downstairs space: open plan kitchen/diner, separate living room, lean-to conservatory (used as utility room/playroom) and former outside toilet off conservatory.

Georgimama Fri 08-Jul-11 22:08:52

I want feckwit's dream house when she has finished with it.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 08-Jul-11 22:12:56

My idea:

Large kitchen/diner with the diner bit slightly separated from the kitchen with patio doors on to patio then enormous garden.

Utility room at least 10ft x 10ft.

Downstairs loo and washbasin with room to swing a cat.

Two separate living rooms, both with real fires, and room for a desk in the corner for pc, books, shelves etc.


Herringbone woodblock floor throughout.

Enormous front door and wide hall with original Victorian tiles.

(You did ask about ideals grin).

kbaby Fri 08-Jul-11 22:15:40

We have a large garage and it has a separate utility room at the back too. I agree with others, it is a waste of space. It's just one big shed. If I could move it closer to the house I would've converted it too

mollschambers Fri 08-Jul-11 22:29:50

We designed our house. Downstairs we have

large kitchen / diner (biggest room in house)

large sitting room accessed via kitchen or hallway

small sitting room / play room / family room

small double (spare) bedroom

shower room

utility room off the hallway which leads into the garage.

Lots of cupboards - Huge built in cupboard in utility, full height cupboard under stairs, plus one other cupboard in hall for coats.

We gave it a lot of thought and it works well but obviously ours was a new build so less restrictions.

TheDetective Fri 08-Jul-11 22:33:08

I like the way your house sounds now to be honest!!!! Maybe I am just odd!

Greenshadow Fri 08-Jul-11 22:41:00

Now I don't agree that the children like a separate play room, especially as they get older.
Ours would much rather be in the main living area playing Wii/whatever on the big television than stuck in some little back room with a smaller TV.

mollschambers Fri 08-Jul-11 22:42:37

Trick is to give them a big TV and the Wii in their sitting room wink

JumpJockey Fri 08-Jul-11 22:46:31

We're hopefully moving to a place with similar to what you describe, extended by previous owners. There's an L-shaped kitchen/dining room/family room, opening onto garden, with the 'family' bit up a step like feckwit describes; massive utility which will also double as study (used to be the kitchen); big under stairs storage cupboard; smaller front room with open fire which will be grown-up space.

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