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Townhouse with children - love it or hate it?

(43 Posts)
Wigeon Tue 06-Oct-09 12:33:30

We are currently selling our house and buying a bigger one. We have seen a lovely townhouse, great location (near town centre, near railway station for commuting, near lovely big park, within our budget etc), but it's still a townhouse with two flights of stairs.

We have one DD (15 months) and plans for more at some point(although no actual bump at the moment!). All I can think is that we will be constantly charging up and down stairs. DH thinks that doesn't matter and it's a lovely house with more room than non-townhouses.

Anyone live in a townhouse? Do you love it or hate it?

starwhores Tue 06-Oct-09 12:35:45

I would ensure the downstairs, where you spend most of your time is big enough. You won't be charging up and down the stairs as your dcs are most likely to be on the same floor as you when little.

jeee Tue 06-Oct-09 12:41:41

I live in a townhouse, and it's great. Masses of space compared to any of the non-townhouses we looked at. Though I admit that at the end of my pregnancies I try very hard not to go to the top floor.

ABetaDad Tue 06-Oct-09 12:44:14

Wigeon - I once spoke to an Estate Agent about this issue and she had children and admitted said that the reality was that most families get tired of them and want to leave after 5 years.

As starwhores says, a town house with a big enough ground floor so that you do not constantly have to go up and down is the key to enjoying the experience of living in them.

Have friends who live in a 3 storey townhouse with a lounge, dining room and a very large extended kitchen and downstairs loo so the family can 'live' downstairs.

They put an office on the top floor plus guest bedroom to minimise how much going up and down they have to do. The woman works at home and just goes upstairs to work when DCs out at school and does not need to trail up and down very often. It is also well out of the way.

We have other friends who did try extending and rearranging a similar 3 storey town house but in the end just got sick of it and moved house.

francaghostohollywood Tue 06-Oct-09 12:58:19

We used to live in a lovely townhouse when we were in the UK. It had 2 flight of stairs, but we mostly spent our time on the ground floor, as it was really spacious (huge kitchen etc).
When children are tiny they want to play where ever the adult is, as they grow up they start playing in their bedroom more.

I loved that house, I still miss it, I don't think I'd have ever wanted to move from there, had we stayed in the UK.

HouseHunting Tue 06-Oct-09 12:59:02

I think the key is to have the living accommodation on the same floor. We looked at a town house with this layout:

Ground floor:
dining room
double integral garage

1st Floor:
living room
bedrooms 3 & 4
family bathroom

2nd floor:
master bedroom with ensuite
bedroom 2 (guest room) with ensuite

We thought we could convert half of the garage into a playroom & that would solve the problem. But then a friend mentioned that having the living room on the same floor as the bedrooms meant that you would have to keep the volume down in fear of waking the kids, especially in new houses where the walls are not that thick. I also did not like the fact that the master bedroom was on a floor above the kids rooms as I am a worrier & hated thinking that if we had intruders they would meet the kids floor before ours.

What are your gut feelings on the hous eyou have seen? Do you feel brave enough to post a link?

MrsBadger Tue 06-Oct-09 13:02:14

as previous posters said, depends on the layout

freinds have one with garage / study / utility room downstairs and the kitchen / living room on the first floor. They hate it, have to drag everything upstairs and never get to go in the garden.

ours has a big kitchen/dining room downstairs that we use for 'living' in and a sitting room upstairs that's only used for tv / quiet reading etc. We love it - easy to go in and out the garden, no dragging shopping up stairs.

Having said that we only moved there when dd was 14m and could do the (multiple flights of) stairs safely - will see how it goes when the next one is born...

pagwatch Tue 06-Oct-09 13:16:51

my house has three floors. You get used to it and we work the rooms around what is safest and easiest.

Its lovely - especially having the playroom in the basement grin

allaboutme Tue 06-Oct-09 13:25:10

Love mine.
We moved here 2 years ago when DS1 was 20 months and DS2 not born yet. Now they are 4yo and 19mo and we have no problem with the stairs.
We used stairgates while DS2 was little and now they are both fine to make their own way round the house as they please.

We have all bedrooms on top floor, lounge and kitchen on middle floor and playroom and toilet on bottom floor (playroom leads straight out t garden)
Perfect for us!

2jamsandwiches Tue 06-Oct-09 13:28:57

love it, though that's not to say we mightn't like the alternative more (there aren't really any non-townhousey houses round us!)
We have 4 floors, I seldom take the children up to the top floor (DHs study, spare bedroom, bathroom), though DS rushes up there fairly often.
We don't use our middle (living room) floor much, and shuttle bn the ground floor (kitchen/dining/sitting) and 1st floor (bedrooms).
Charging up and down stairs is good for you!

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 06-Oct-09 14:02:03

I LOVE our house - also near town centre, park, station.

Different floors serve different functions, so you don't go up and down all day. For us - the basement is the working end - kitchen, utility/family room, workshop; so endless daytime hours spent down there, only going upstairs to loo. Ground floor the 'public rooms', so evenings largely spent there. The mess of the day is on a different floor, so it helps you relax, you can't see it . First floor bedrooms, rarely up there until I need to go to sleep. We already lived here when DS was born, so we're very used to it. OK, laundry has to go up and down two floors, but it's hardly charging up and downstairs all day.

Living near the town centre is brilliant as you can live on foot. No wrestling the buggy into the boot, no carseats to worry about, no trying to get parked and doing your back in to get DCs into/out of carseats. Just put your coat on, strap DCs into the buggy and go. So much easier! THey want to go to the park? Same thing, coat, buggy and go.

You'll wonder how you ever put up with anything else. You'll come to see the extra stairs as adding privacy rather than effort.

littlerach Tue 06-Oct-09 14:08:14

It depends on th elayout.

We moved when I was 8 moths pg with dd2 as I oculdn't imagine it working otu in the townhouse we lived in.

It had kitchen, dining room and hall on the bottom, then bedroom, bathroom and lounge, then 2 bedrooms and bathroom on top floor.

We now live in a house with a loft conversion but that works fone as it is a spare room and office and storage.

Stairs were never the problem, BTW.

starwhores Tue 06-Oct-09 14:43:11

I am so gutted we nearly bought a six bedroom townhouse, for the same price as our four bedroom victoriansad.....

ampere Tue 06-Oct-09 14:43:36

Yes, layout is all. And how you choose to 'live'.

We rent a 3 storey townhouse. The ground floor is a single garage, an L shaped kitchen, an undersized dining area off it and a WC (separate!).

1st floor: large living room, airing cupboard, master bedroom and ensuite,

Top floor: 2 huge bedrooms and a 'family bathroom'.

I am constantly trugging stuff up and downstairs (but am SO glad the kitchen is on the ground floor!). The DSs rooms are on the top floor with actually TOO much room. As I only go up there to sort them immediately after the boys have gone to school and at bedtime, it's oh so easy to ignore the encroaching tide of pokemon, lego, books etc that creeps across the floor. There's no pressure on them to clear up as there's tons more floor space and because I don't have to look at it, I tend to forget what a mess it is til I go up there! So it's not encouraging the sort of tidiness that I would be more inclined to insist upon if I had to LOOK at the mess more regularly AND if they ran out of floor-room more often!

Another issue is noise- our neighbours are OK but you DO hear them thundering up and down TWO flights of stairs!

And finally, will you have to carry the lawnmower through the house to mow the back lawn? We do!

NancyBotwin Tue 06-Oct-09 16:37:31

As others have said it's all in the layout- around here there are quite a few newish developments with townhouses where the ground floor has garage, utility and study and the kitchen & living area are upstairs. Everyone I know who has one has ended up converting the ground floor into a kitchen/living area because they like to be able to go straight outside without going downstairs and it's easier to keep an eye on small children in the garden.

However, if it's an old house and all it means is that the bedrooms are spread over two floors (or the kitchen and living rooms are basement/ground floor) then that would be fine.

HerHonesty Tue 06-Oct-09 19:11:53

my parents live in one and whilst it was great when i lived with them in my early 20's (top floor to myself, mess shut away) now when i stay with them with a young baby i really dont like it all. constantly up and down the bloody stairs like a yo yo.


Hulababy Tue 06-Oct-09 19:49:43

We live in a 3 storey townhouse. DD was 3.5y when we moved here; she is 7y now. We were in a 5th floor apartment prior to that.

Ground floor:
* small lobby type area (for
* garage
* dowstairs toilet
* utility room
* garden room - currently our dining room

First floor:
* living room (has room for dining table too)
* breakfast kitchen

Second floor:
* master bedroom and ensuite
* two other bedrooms
* bathroom

So, generally we live on the top two floors. We use downstairs most invthe summer, and the dining room when we have visitors.

Hulababy Tue 06-Oct-09 19:56:06

If I could change mine at all I would have a large kitchen downstairs with room for utility area, dining table and little sofa. All with big glass doors leading ono deck and garden.

AcademicMum Tue 06-Oct-09 20:03:00

I think that Hulababy and allaboutme must be neighbours of mine because their house descriptions sound scarily like mine...

We use our downstairs garden room as a playroom and use the utility room as a mini kitchen for making drinks, snacks etc so in the daytime we largely stay downstairs and just come up to the kitchen/living room when we have dinner. This has the advantage of keeping the living room clutter free so dp and I have "adult" space in the evening when the boys are in bed.

We also have a bedroom on the ground floor though (our garage is detached) and that works well for daytime naps especially for ds2 who is only 17 months.

Absolutely love mine and it works for us, but I can see that it depends on how fflexible the layout of your house is.

TheHappyCat Tue 06-Oct-09 22:14:22

3 floors is fine if you tend to live on 2. Our house has 3 floors and the top is guest rooms and study. Absolutely fine.
Our old house in central London had 4 floors - DD's/guest at top, then ours, then living room, then kitchen at LG. Sheer misery when pregnant with no 2 but I still miss the area!

Wigeon Wed 07-Oct-09 08:37:50

Thank you so much to everyone for sharing their thoughts - very very useful! Sorry not to post my thanks sooner - internet at home keeps going off (not ideal when you are buying / selling houses).

Seems like the majority vote "love it" - interesting.

Househunting - [ st.html%3Ftype%3DBUYING this is one townhouse]] we are going to see at the weekend, and this is the one we have already seen. First one has kitchen on the ground floor as they have converted the garage, second one doesn't but if they were willing to accept a bit under the asking price we might be able to afford to convert the downstairs into kitchen / dining area. Not actually sure what my gut feeling is! DH's gut says yes to townhouses in general. Do feel free to critique away!

Wigeon Wed 07-Oct-09 08:39:05

Grr - sorry about the first link. Trying again...


Rollmops Wed 07-Oct-09 19:31:13

The stairs are simply bonus - easiest way to lose any babyweight one needs! Never understood why people complain about stairs and then fork out £££ to get a gym membership and sweat for hours on the stairmaster hmm.

MrsBadger Wed 07-Oct-09 20:00:34

oh they are the same era as ours as well
in fact [squints] the second one has out kitchen cabinets too

remodelling / changign layout in these much easier than in period townhouses and they are built muich more solidly than newbuilds so noise isn;t usually much of a problem.

we use our garage all the time (as a workshop for dh's business, storing bikes, beer fridge etc) and I wouldnt; be without it, so I'd probably prefer the second house you linked to. You could always (eg) convert half the garage and use the rest as a workshop - our neighbours have done similar and it works v well.

Wigeon Wed 07-Oct-09 20:40:55

Good tips, thanks MrsBadger. Another vote for "love it".

This thread has really helped with food for thought - I think I expected everyone to say it's a bit of a nightmare, so it's been really useful hearing lots of positives from people with children (rather than the estate agent who, surprise surprise, thinks that the townhouses would be ideal for us!!)

I will post back after the viewing on Saturday...

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