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Anyone live in a town house? Advantages and disadvantages

(30 Posts)
sanityforlunch Thu 13-Aug-15 08:56:08

I am starting to look at houses with a view to buying a new property for me and my two dc. I had never considered a town house before but have been to see a couple, all different layouts.

A couple have the living room and kitchen on the Middle floor. It feels odd to me. How does that work? Some of them had a bedroom/study area on the ground floor. Would that ever get used?

Others had the biggest bedroom on the top floor. Would I go in there or my eldest aged 12? I don't like the thought of me being on the second floor and not knowing what was going on on the ground floor.

I am also thinking of privacy as the dc get older. My 12 year old likes to do his own thing a lot of the time these days eg play on the iPad, chill out in his room. So it could work quite well if he had a big room with ensuite to himself as he becomes a teenager.

How do they work as a family home in practice?

SauvignonPlonker Thu 13-Aug-15 09:11:50

I'm on my 2nd townhouse & really like it, although people always comment on the stairs (I obviously don't have issues with it).

In both houses, 3 bedrooms have been on the top floor plus a family bathroom.

In my current house, the living room & kitchen are on different floors, which is a pain. But we have a bathroom on every floor & our master ensuite is on the middle floor. This has advantages & disadvantages, but gives us privacy from DC who are on upper floor.

The garden room in our previous house was a bit under-used, as is our dining room here on the ground floor, but I think that's more due to the age of DC (toddler).

I think the most important thing is to have a bathroom on every floor & to ensure the kitchen/lounge are on the same floor.

sanityforlunch Thu 13-Aug-15 09:14:28

That's interesting thanks. I would like the garden room for myself but dc would be two floors above in the one house we saw.

Vagndidit Thu 13-Aug-15 09:17:29

We've been in ours for about 6 months now and love it. Admittedly I was a bit meh about the kitchen and living space upstairs but I find it works brilliantly. It allows for space on the ground floor for a massive utility, garage and office space, while our main living is on the middle and top floors. It's great. Everything feels so bright and airy upstairs. and I have a cheeky birdseye view of neighborhood life through my kitchen and living room windows

NoMilkNoSugar Thu 13-Aug-15 09:25:14

I know someone who lived in one with the living room and kitchen on the middle floor, yet the utility was on the ground floor. She found carrying baskets of clothes two flights between sorting then washing, then drying and hanging them a pain. She also found with a toddler going to the garden found like quite a trek and she started packing a picnic bag to take down with her, as she wasn't comfortable leaving a toddler alone in the garden while she went back inside, up the stairs, to the kitchen to get a drink.

NoMilkNoSugar Thu 13-Aug-15 09:26:06

Also, her kitchen was on the front, so she couldn't even keep an eye on Dd whilst she was up there.

Spickle Thu 13-Aug-15 09:29:34

Friends of mine have one.

Lounge, kitchen, cloakroom and conservatory on the ground floor.
Two bedrooms and bathroom on middle floor.
Master bedroom and en-suite on top floor.

They love it.

Bearbehind Thu 13-Aug-15 09:35:30

I think it depends on the layout of the house and ages of your children.

The layout spickle described is the best option if you have young children, for the reasons nomilk described.

If you have older children, middle floor living can work although I don't fancy lugging all my shopping etc upstairs every time and I suspect ground floor rooms are underused in that layout.

I've always wondered how often you'd use your garden if your kitchen and lounge were in the first floor?

CorBlimeyTrousers Thu 13-Aug-15 09:41:33

We have a town house. The ground floor is a massive garage (lots of people have theirs converted now property prices are bonkers), toilet/shower utility room and small room (we call it the 'garden room'). The garden is small. 1st floor is large reception room (above massive garage) and kitchen. 3 bedrooms, another toilet/shower and our bedroom has an ensuite with bath.

To be honest I don't really like the layout. We hardly use the ground floor at all - just walk straight upstairs to where all our living space is. We make less use of our garden because it's not possible to potter in/out of the kitchen, you have to make a big trip down there (or so it feels). I am heavily pregnant and dragging myself up and down the stairs to use the loo is a chore at the moment (admittedly the rest of the time it probably provides beneficial exercise).

The good thing about our house is location, location, location. I'd much prefer a traditional semi but we're close to Tube station, shops, park and son's school. That all counts for a lot.

CorBlimeyTrousers Thu 13-Aug-15 09:43:10

Sorry I mean our bedrooms are on the 2nd floor. Another downside is that it gets very hot up there.

We bough this house with head not heart! And as I say the location works very well for us.

mandy214 Thu 13-Aug-15 10:28:07

We almost bought one in our pre-children days. The layout was garage / utility / garden room downstairs, living rm / kitchen on middle floor, bedrooms on top floor. The ground floor utility had been converted to a very small kitchen and shower room, and the owners let the ground floor out to a lodger, getting an additional income from space they probably wouldn't have used as a couple. Thought that was a brilliant idea.

As a family home, I can't see that they work unless you have the layout spickle describes, unless you have older (teenage) children.

united4ever Thu 13-Aug-15 12:25:45

Renting out the ground floor is very entrepeneurial I agree. What a great income that could be although I guess you lose the garden or at least privacy in the garden. They would be perfect if you had an older parent/grandparent living with you...ground floor for them so no stairs and a bit of privacy/independence being on a different floor....but yeah, this would usually be only for a few years. Other great use is if you need a decent office. Would be nice to work on ground floor office looking out onto garden.

FrogletinaBallerina Thu 13-Aug-15 12:29:42

I live in a townhouse. Downstairs is loo, study (or bedroom 5) and large open plan kitchen diner. First floor is lounge and master bedroom w/en suite, and top floor is three beds and family bathroom.

Major downside is small ish back garden as we are a new build.

I've grown to like the layout. Was a bit meh about the lounge being on the first floor, but it is great for being nosey from.

sanityforlunch Thu 13-Aug-15 16:43:57

Thanks everyone, that's really useful. I thought that the garden could be underused and I love my garden.

AboutTimeIChangedMyNameAgain Thu 13-Aug-15 18:10:32

Depends on the layout. I wouldn't want my living room in the middle floor. I like to be able to hear what my dc are up to in the garden.

Indantherene Thu 13-Aug-15 18:27:56

We had a townhouse for 12 years. Moved in when the children were aged 6 - 11.

Layout was garage, cloakroom and kitchen/diner on ground, with access to garden (no windows at front of house). Very small north-facing garden was a drawback.

Living room, main bathroom and bedroom 3 on middle floor

2 large bedrooms on top floor, one with en suite.

We converted the garage into an internal bedroom, because we had more children than rooms.

I loved having the living room upstairs. Didn't need nets, nobody could look in. With a toilet on every floor we didn't have too much trouble with the stairs. We always wished the kitchen was upstairs but I hadn't considered the issue CorBlimey raises.

We did notice every neighbour moved out when they had a toddler, and once our DC5 was born we did the same. Not so practical with a very small child, but ideal with teens.

sanityforlunch Thu 13-Aug-15 19:22:40

Yes I thought that with teens. It might be a house we can grow into. I wouldn't want to be following a toddler around but we are all starting to like our own space a bit more. (Children 9 and 12.)

ld7675 Thu 13-Aug-15 22:11:17

We're in the process of buying a town house, from a small semi detached 3 bed. Our children are 9 and 12. To be honest we very nearly didn't even go and view the house as we were adament we needed a large 3/4 bed semi detached with cloakroom. Once our house had sold we found it really difficult to find a semi detached that ticked all of the boxes and that offered larger room sizes, so although the living over three floors isn't ideal it will gives us 3 extra rooms which are bigger, allowing our children to live their teenage years with a bit more space and opportunities for privacy.

The house we're buying has bedroom 4 (converted from garage), study, utility and cloakroom on ground floor, lounge/kitchen on first floor and 3 bedrooms/bathroom on top floor. I think if kitchen/lounge were on different floors we wouldn't have been interested. The idea is to convert the downstairs to a large kitchen/diner/sitting area in time but as this is very expensive it will wait. I have a friend who lives in a more recently built town house with 4 toilets and 3 bathrooms who would prefer more bedrooms and less loos and currently uses one of the bathrooms as a store room, she has the lounge/diner on the first floor with the kitchen being downstairs and says family mealtimes are a pain.

I'd be interested to know if anyone's moved the kitchen to a different floor of their town house and how much it cost (also how much of a nightmare it was!!). Interesting.

FinallyGotAnIPhone Fri 14-Aug-15 07:25:52

I rented a town house for 18 months. Would never live in one again. Admittedly my kids are younger than yours but don't forget there are lots of people who wouldn't even consider living in a town house - when you come to sell your target market is smaller.

The layout was:
Ground floor- garage, toilet, utility, "bedroom" opening into garden.
Middle floor- lounge and kitchen
Top floor- 3 beds, one with en suite, and a bathroom

Three toilets
Lots of space including a dumping ground (aka garage) on ground floor
Was lovely and modern because it was a new house

- having a bbq- massive pain "oh no I've forgotten the ketchup"... Cue having to trek upstairs to the kitchen
- leaving the house you realise you've forgotten something in the bedroom - you have to trek up two flights of stairs
- always have to go up or down some stairs if you want the toilet and you are in the lounge
- 4th bedroom on the ground floor is ridiculous.
- having a garden you can't just "let the kids play in the garden" while you do the washing up (if they are young- appreciate yours aren't) - as they are on another floor.
- weekly food shop- you have to unload it from the car then take it upstairs. Massive pain.
- sure this isn't true for all town houses but in mine the windows were quite small so it was quite dark

In response to the q about would the fourth bedroom get used my OH used it as a study and we used it as the room where we dry our washing

Hulababy Fri 14-Aug-15 07:38:29

We live an end town house, 3 storey and 3 bed (though some agents would - and do - sell them as 4 bed these days.

We bought it 10 years ago but have made some layout changes to it this year. Dd was 3 when we bought it, now 13y.

Lay out was with the kitchen (with smaller breakfast area) and living room (with dining area) on first floor and ground floor having utility and garden room. All bedrooms on top floor.

However, I wanted the kitchen downstairs as felt the garden room wasn't getting proper use (was used as a study more recently) and as ground floor wasn't lived in it was much colder.

So we have a permitted extension at the back, one floor only and knocked through the utility and the garden room to make one large room. Our garage was only used for storage anyway (can't two cars in drive) so we punched the back portion to make a utility room of decent size and still have a garage that would fit a small car - my mini would just fit in.

So now the layout is:

GROUND: entrance hall and hall way. Downstairs toilet, garage, good sized utility fitting in separate washer and dryer, tall fridge freezer plus cupboards. Then back of house has an open plan kitchen and dining room with breakfast bar. There would be room for a sofa if we wanted it but choose not to and have more space.

FIRST: large L shaped living room at front. At back (old kitchen) is currently Dd's study/snug. Could easily now be marketed as a 4th bed.

SECUBD: three bedrooms, one en suite and one family bathroom.

Hulababy Fri 14-Aug-15 07:42:39

I like the living room on the first floor. I find it quite a secure thing, especially having had burglars at my older house and having an attempted break in here once. When I'm home alone in an evening and when we go to bed at night we alarm just the ground floor. So when someone got in they didn't get further than that. Alarm Went off and they ran.

However I do much much prefer the kitchen and dining downstairs, and I didn't like the dining on the living room - we quickly stopped having a table there and had it in the smaller area in the kitchen instead.

ValancyJane Fri 14-Aug-15 07:51:33

Depends entirely on the layout I think! If the kitchen and living room aren't on the same floor it's a bit annoying having to trek upstairs/downstairs every time you fancy a cup of tea. I wouldn't like the bedrooms being split how you describe either, it's better having them all on one floor, or on the two floors next to each other. Also agree that an irritation is carrying the weekly shop up a flight of stairs! But I've seen some nice ones, it totally depends on the house.

Hardtoknow Fri 14-Aug-15 08:03:57

There are a few near us & I have two friends who live in them & so did a cm we used.
The friends both have three bedrooms, an en suite & a bathroom upstairs, kitchen & living space on middle floor & garage, 4th bed & bathroom downstairs. One uses the downstairs bedroom for the au pair and says that they all benefit from the separate space. Downside is that the downstairs bathroom is, essentially, the au pair's bathroom so they let visitors use the bathroom on the top floor when they wouldn't otherwise go up their. Second lot of friends use the downstairs bedroom as a study &, again, the separation works well. Downstairs bathroom is more of a utility room.
CM has a different set up. Garage & kitchen on ground floor; living room, masted bedroom & en suite on middle floor; three beds on top floor. She looked after DS from when he was 7mth - 12mth for a few hours a week and, whilst it was fine before he was mobile, it quickly became quite hard work as, if she was in the living room & needed something from or to do something in the kitchen, she didn't think she could leave him on a separate floor so was always having to carry him up & down the stairs. She said she was very glad they hadn't moved in until her youngest was 4.

KitKats28 Fri 14-Aug-15 08:04:07

Ours is garage, shower room, bedroom and utility on the ground floor, kitchen and living room/diner on the middle floor and 2 bedrooms, en-suite and bathroom on the top floor. We bought it when the kids were 14 and 11. The older one has the ground floor bedroom and shower room and then the younger one has a top floor bedroom and the bathroom, and DH and I have the ensuite bedroom.

The bedroom arrangement has worked well, as everyone has their own bathrooms, so no queues in the morning (yes, three bathrooms is way over the top). However there is no loo on the main living floor so it always involves going up or down. Not a problem with teenagers but would've been a nightmare with toddlers. Like someone else said, the kitchen looks out to the front and the angle of the living room window makes it hard to see the whole garden so it would have been impossible to watch toddlers playing outside.

We have lots of dogs and it's a pain going up and down to let them in and out, especially when they were puppies. We've had one BBQ in 4 years as it was too much hassle to take everything down and bring it all up again. We hardly ever use the garden except to sit with the dogs while they are outside.

The top floor is hotter than hell, and the ground floor is freezing. The thermostat is on the middle floor so it's quite hard in winter to get the temperature balance right.

All in all, the house layout suits us with two almost grown up children but it would have been a disaster with little ones.

MoreBeta Fri 14-Aug-15 08:13:40

We have a town house arranged over 5 floors.

Basement room is TV lounge and a gym for teenagers. Ground floor dining, kitchen and family/office room. First floor drawing room and guest bedroom. Second floor main bedroom plus guest bedroom. Third floor two teenage bedrooms.

I suggest teenagers go on top floor above your bedroom. You can hear them moving around and they are only a short flight of stair away.

We have a toilet and shower/bath on each floor and which is important for DCs so they don't have to come downstairs in dark if they need toilet in night and you don't have to trail up and downstairs to get a shower.

Townhouses work if you are fairly fit and your children are teens. They don't work if you are elderly, disabled and/or you have very young children. Going up and downstairs all day is a real killer.

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