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Do you live in a 3 or 4 storey house with small children?

(29 Posts)
NoHotAshes Sat 25-Jul-09 10:44:22

I've seen a house on Rightmove which I like the look of, except that it is spread out over 4 floors. It's a tall, thin terrace. Two reception rooms on the ground floor, kitchen diner, utility and WC on the basement level which opens to the garden (it is lower at the back than at the front), two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor. I have a toddler and a baby and I am wondering whether this layout would drive me crazy. I can see it could be good when DC are older but at the moment I don't want to make my life too hard either...

If you live in a 3 or 4 storey house with small children, how do you find it? Does it work for you?

ComeOVeneer Sat 25-Jul-09 10:48:55

We live in a 4 floor town house. Playroom leading onto garden, door into garage and utility room on ground, first floor (this is the floor you come in on) has kitchen breakfast room, dining room, lounge and cloakroom, next floor has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, one ensuite, then top floor has master suite with walk in wardrobe and ensuite. We moved here when ds was a toddler and dd was 5. We invested in a lot of stairgates, but apart from the it has been no problem at all.

edam Sat 25-Jul-09 10:51:36

Depends on your lifestyle but if you keep your sitting room as an adult zone and live in the kitchen I suppose it could work, if the kids can share until they are old enough for you to be happy about different floors. Will be a long way up to their bedroom from the kitchen, though.

I live in a townhouse and tbh. it was a bugger when ds was tiny as I had to keep moving him up and downstairs with me - couldn't just go down to the kitchen and leave him upstairs on his own.

Kitchen and sitting room on different levels is still annoying now. Also, ds has a double bedroom as I didn't want him on a different floor to us, so we don't really have a spare room (well, we do, but it's a single so not really IYSWIM).

Previously had a three storey house elsewhere, but sitting room and kitchen were on same level, was much easier. And three bedrooms were on the same floor.

Fayrazzled Sat 25-Jul-09 11:16:16

We live in a Victorian terrace which we have made 4 storey by converting the basement. My children are almost 4 and 2. Layout is as follows: basement is playroom, utility and downstairs loo; ground floor is kitchen and sitting room, first floor is bathroom, spare room and our bedroom and second floor is children's rooms. It works well for us but you do have to be prepared to run up and down lots of stairs- it keeps me fit! There are times I would love an open plan bungalow but TBH I wouldn't really consider moving. And it means it is easier to keep the house straight as the children aren't roving all over the house.

For it to work, I think layout is key. My friend lives in a modern 3 storey townhouse and her kitchen and living room are on different floors, which doesn't work so well for her. Our kitchen and sitting room are on the same floor, plus the kitchen to basement is semi-open so I can see and hear the children in their playroom. Having the children's bedrooms on a different floor to me doesn't bother me, even though we do sometimes ahve to get up in the night to them.

edam Sat 25-Jul-09 11:43:35

Thing about children's bedrooms on different floor that would worry me is the risk of a fire. Although you can get your local brigade to come out and do a home safety check - with smoke alarms and a planned escape route I'm sure even my paranoia could be assuaged!

OrphanAnnie Sat 25-Jul-09 18:48:15

We lost about £70k on a 3 storey town house because basically only couples seem to want them and couples don't have the £400k required to buy one apparently.
The layout is essential though and ours wasn't brilliant.

pagwatch Sat 25-Jul-09 19:08:15

we are in a three storey. Although the other two are bigger DD was only 18 months when we moved here.
I did have to keep an eye on her and we gave some thought to where to place certain rooms so I was close to where she naturally wanted to play. But it worked beautifully and I like that DS1 is now based in the basement which gives him a little space now he is 16.

I do get knackered going up and down the stairs a lotthough - but suppose it keeps me fit.

NoHotAshes Sun 26-Jul-09 17:06:08

Urk, it's tricky. I'll have to ponder it some more. I hadn't thought about fire and that worries me too now!

Fayrazzled Mon 27-Jul-09 20:01:41

Just come back to this re. fire: we have fire doors throughout our house and the smoke/heat alarms are hardwired into the electricity. I'm perfectly happy as a result with the children sleeping on the floor above. The smoke alarms are very sensitive and the fire doors give 30 mins protection. Our house is actually much safer now than it was before we did the work.

Hulababy Mon 27-Jul-09 20:04:55

I live in a 3 storey town house. DD is 7y, but was 3y when we moved here.

Our layout is a bit different. Teh round floor is the garage, garden room (we use it as a dinign room), toilet and utility room. First floor is the kitchen and living room. Top floor is 3 bedrooms, one ensuite and a bathroom.

We generally live on the top two floors.

One thing I'd change would be to have a kitchen/diner on the ground floor, leading in to the garden, esp when DD was younger.

I don't find the stairs a problem.

nouveaupauvre Mon 27-Jul-09 22:30:03

i live in a four storey house with toddler and love it- ds also seems to like it as going from the loft to the basement provides a fair bit of entertainment in itself (he does like stairs.....)
what would worry me is the kitchen on one floor and the receptions on the other. we have a kitchen/diner and playroom in the basement, when ds was tiny he was right next to me and now he can wander in and out of the garden/kitchen/playroom while im cooking or whatever and that works fine. you need the kitchen next to the garden i think like hulababy says. or else be prepared to not get a lot done while the dc are awake....

NoHotAshes Tue 28-Jul-09 09:50:59

Fayrazzled, do you remember roughly how much the fire doors were? (Just for potential budget planning!)

Hulababy, do you eat in your kitchen or do you carry food upstairs form kitchen to dining room, and if so, is it ok?

moondog Tue 28-Jul-09 09:57:44

We lived in a 4 story [5 with attic] town house for a long time and gutted it completely.I used to love it but once the kidscame it was a complete nightmare [especially as my dh was away most of the time].

I remember crying to dh and saying 'I feel like I amliving on fucking scaffolding'. My life became considerably happier when we moved into a two story.

squix Tue 28-Jul-09 10:03:40

We live in a three storey house with a 2 year old. Ground floor is garage, utility room and spare bedroom with shower. First floor is kitchen/ dinner and sitting room. Top floor is 4 beds and bathroom. The only slight downsides are carrying shopping up to the kitchen (unless the nice tesco's delivery man does it for us) and the lack of access to the garden from our main living area.

Also the spare room does get treated as a bit of a dumping room (out of sight/ out of mind ) resulting in a mad panic when someone comes to stay. We also had to put new fire doors in (can't remember how much), hardwired smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide sensor thingy.

Works fine for us and DD is now very confident using stairs. We did have a few stair gates though.

BikeRunSki Tue 28-Jul-09 10:31:49

I was bought up in a 4 storey house (Victorian terrace), and am one of 4 children.

My mum hated it.

There were two loos in the house, neither of which were on same floor as living areas, so she was always running up and down stairs with a wet toddler (remember, there were 4 of us).

The bedrooms were spread out over three floors (basement and first floor, master bedroom on second (top) floor), so DPs were at least one floor, if not three away from DCs. Mum says that this did used to worry her, and she hated the idea of us coming up all those stairs at night if we wanted her. When we were older we had intercoms.

When DH and I bought the house we live in now, pre-children - Mum's first question was "Does it have a downstairs loo?", followed by "Are all the bedrooms on the same floor?".

My brothers also spent a lot of time pushing me down the stairs. But sliding down the bannisters was fun!

Dysgu Tue 28-Jul-09 11:10:05

We live in a 4 storey house with DD1 who is 2.10yo and DD2 who is 7mo.

We bought it prior to having children because we were planning on having them and didn't want a house that we would outgrow.

Layout - ground floor has livng room, kitchen/diner and downstairs loo.

First floor has master bedroom, nursery and bathroom.

Second floor has DD1's room and spare room/study.

Top floor is playroom.

We are in the process of changing things to move DD2 in with DD1, move study into nursery, make current study into playroom and top floor will be spare room/den.

I love this house. DD1 has always been great with stairs but we do have lots of gates and she is easy going and follows the rules!

DP wouldhave chosen a new build house on an estate but I think he likes the fact that we got a lot more house for our money as we have so much space even with 4 of us now.

The stairs do keep us fit - whatever you want is always on a different floor - but they have never got on my nerves.

I would like one day to put a loo/shower room on the second floor in the future.

I think it depends on you and what works for your family.

Fennel Tue 28-Jul-09 11:23:04

We have 4 stories in this and in our old house with babies and toddlers (this house has 6 different sub-levels, almost every room has its own floor). Even the garden has its own stairs.

It can be a pain but we like old houses and can live with it. We have always had kitchen and living room and downsairs loo on the same floor though, which probably does make life easier. We all sleep on different levels and we just got used to it. the girls like it because there are lots of steep stairs to slide down grin. and I like it because it looks like an Escher house, staircases going off in all directions. So it works for us. We did have a lot of stairgates at one stage though.

vonsudenfed Tue 28-Jul-09 11:27:23

We live in a three story house with DD, who's two.

It works for us pretty well - downstairs is all open-plan kitchen and sittingroom, so I can see her really easily and get everything done.

Top floor is her bedroom, ours and a small shower room.

The middle floor has two more bedrooms - one is DH's study, one is guest bedroom/my study. Plus there's the family bathroom and various other odds and ends (airing cupboard, storeroom). DD doesn't spend much time here at all...

What makes it work for us is that there is a loo on every floor, it would drive me insane otherwise. Oh, and having DD miles upstairs at night is also good, as nothing disturbs her!

I know people who live in houses with a layout like yours, and it works fine, as long as you have space in the kitchen/diner for a play area and possibly even tv. If not, you might find it hard.

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 11:33:18

We moved to this 3 storey house when DD was 3yo, DS1 & DS2 were teenagers. All living accomodation is on ground floor (inc loo) and the 2 upstairs floors are bedrooms/bathrooms. Our boys have the top floor, we (inc DD) have the middle floor.

So in essence our house is not really any different to 2 storey living where young kids are concerned. Plus our stairs here are much safer than the ones in our previous 2 storey house. The stairs in our 2st were a continous flight whereas here they are broken up here into 2 flights (each with a half landing). The stairs here are also wider and not as steep so are much safer for kiddies to negotiate. If we had another child (highly unlikely) I wouldn't use stairgates in this house, whereas I did in my old house.

Fennel Tue 28-Jul-09 11:34:13

One thing I like about lots of stairs and levels is that it feels very spacious, we get away from each other. Even though it doesn't have more rooms than many more modern houses all the staircases mean there is an air of distance, and privacy, that I think will be really useful as the dc get bigger.

Beachcomber Tue 28-Jul-09 11:49:02

We live in a three storey house, mostly I'm pretty happy with it, sometimes it is a pain in the arse.

Our layout is; kitchen/diner leading onto small terrasse thingy (we are in France), my work space and a toilet/utility on ground floor.

First floor is a large living room which also has space for a big table that we use when we have too many people over to eat in the kitchen. This room has a door to the outside as well (we are on a slight slope).

Top floor is two children's rooms and a bathroom, then you go down a few steps to our bedroom which is huge and also has an office space in it.

We moved here before we had the children who are now 3 and 5 yo. I do do a lot of running up and down stairs but that doesn't bother me.

What does bother me about this house are more things that are to do with it being old rather than the levels. It is difficult and expensive to heat and somehow never looks as clean and tidy as a newer house could.

Fayrazzled Tue 28-Jul-09 13:45:32

NoHotAshes, the fire doors were put in as part of all the conversion work we did and I can't remember exactly how much they were. They're 4 panelled Victorian style doors from Howdens. I think they were about £70each but I could be wrong. We needed them for each bedroom and "living" room. the only rooms that didn't require them were the bathrooms. They were tricky to fit though because I wanted to keep the original door frames and architrave and so it was quite fiddly for the joiner. They're painted now and you wouldn't know they were fire doors to look at except they are heavier than normal internal doors. Ours didn't have to be self-closing but I think Building Regs can specify this in some cases.

SausageRocket Tue 28-Jul-09 14:11:06

Ours are all self closing firedoors (without that horrid industrial looking arm bit, they just swing closed. They are heavy though so be extra careful with little fingers

allaboutme Tue 28-Jul-09 14:18:41

I live in 3 storey town house with 2 toddlers and have done for 2 years (before ds2 was born)
Apart from needing lots of stairgates (£££) we have had no problems at all
No toilet on middle floor (where all living space is) but ds1 potty trained with potty in living room and then was able to take himsef upstairs no problem
Slight difficulty getting new appliances delivered as they only deliver to doorstep so we have to get them all up the stairs ourselves (except John Lewis who I love and do it for you!)
We've taken all the springs out of our fire doors after my neighbours child lost the end of her finger in one....

MamaG Tue 28-Jul-09 14:27:38

3 storey here, DD and DS1 on top floor, my room and BAbyG on middle floor, kitchen etc on ground floor

I also have firedoors and smoke alarms wired in to electric

Only PITA is when one of the DC is ill and you're runnin gup and down two flights of stairs

oh and the fecking hoovering - 2 sets of stairs to hoover!

I like it though. Soon BabyG and DD will swap so both boys will be on the top floor, but I'm waiting until he sleeps through for that!

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