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Rental houses, noise pollution outdoors vs 1 smaller living area, what's "worse"?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi all. I am pregnant with my first baby, and we are/were deciding between 2 modest rental houses in the Los Angeles area. Since I don't really know what life with a baby is like, and what are pluses and minuses, I thought I'd ask for opinions. Honestly, we just signed the lease yesterday.....but since then, I'm "convinced" I made the wrong decision, so I need some kind of validation from people who have babies. I am just really curious what you all will say/think.



House #1: 3 bedroom spacious ranch built in '70s, 1600+ sq feet. Shockingly big for our budget and has TWO living rooms (one facing front of house, one facing back yard). Kitchen is larger and overlooks the one living area. I figure the baby will have plenty of room to toddle around once he's walking/roaming. Hubby and I won't be tripping over his little play areas, or stepping over him during "tummy time."  That is my logic, at least. Also, I can interact with him more while I"m in the kitchen.


Disadvantage: Only about 200 meters (so one or two residential streets between) from a smaller airport that is busy nonstop, from 7 AM until after 10 PM. Both hellicopters and small planes, mostly propeller but some private jets. There is literally no breaks between takeoffs and landings, you are hearing planes 24/7 while outdoors. The house has new windows that block out all the noise, however. We sat outside the house though, and it didn't bother my hubby, but for me, I felt it ruined the whole "zen" aspect of sitting in a yard, which is what I like about being outside.


I guess most people get used to it.....it isn't like it interrupts your conversation, you can still talk. But I felt that when I'm spending time with the baby outside, it would be bad for his attention span, and bad for his idea of what being outside means (peaceful, quiet, fresh air, relaxation). I do hope to take the baby out once or twice a day, because I like being outside.


House #2: 3 bedroom, rooms smaller and more segregated, built in 1940s or 1950s. This house has a more quiet backyard, neighborhood has nice sidewalks, our walks would be quieter and more peaceful. But there is only one living area and it is smaller, and closed off from the kitchen. To me, it felt a little claustrophobic, like how much time can 2 adults and a baby spend in that room before we just need to be away from each other? (I am one of those people that likes to have a room to escape to. Having a TV on makes that worse for me, but we'll be not using it once junior is here. It goes back to the noise pollution thing, and I want Junior to hear his own thoughts).


I have already told hubby that the TV will have to be off when the baby is in that room, which he agrees with me on. I think that will help. However, I worry about the baby having enough room to spread his wings and explore once he can move around. I don't want to stifle his creativity in that regard. I don't want him to feel "closed in" like I do sometimes, in these small spaces.




My thoughts about the larger house by the airport are: "You will be indoors with the baby sooo much. You and the baby could really use a more workable inside space. Babies don't play outside! He'll be outside for like 30 min a day, if that. 30 min of noise pollution isn't going to hurt him. He'll need inside space more."


Anyone have thoughts regarding that last part?


PS--I realize babies grow up in New York City just fine! And I *am* grateful that my choices are as good as they are. However, I would still like to make the best decision. Part of it, is that I'm a finicky person that is sensitive to noise (both when inside and outside).....so it just makes me more critical of these spaces. I know adding a baby will be stressful enough for myself, and the last thing I want to do is make the transition hard on baby too! I want him to feel happy and peaceful.



Also, if anyone doesn't want to choose, I'd just be interested in your thoughts on how much indoor space is ideal for 12-24 month olds? (I am sure the first year will work out, but we can't afford to move yearly) Or your thoughts on how big of a deal is constant noise pollution outdoors for baby/toddlers?

Edited by bobcat - 1/2/13 at 1:50pm
post #2 of 7

I spent a year or so living a few blocks from train tracks.  We rarely heard the trains when inside, but they would vibrate the house enough to be rather annoying.  It wasn't something I noticed when viewing the home, but I definitely picked up on it later.  I hated it.  Plus, I love being outside.  I would be outside with the baby for an hour or two a day if possible.  I have a feeling the airplanes would get on my nerves--the home close the airport would be a no-go for me.


Regarding how much indoor space you need, that depends on how often you are going to be home.  If you're planning to be out and about doing activities, running errands, going for walks, visiting friends, etc. then I really don't think babies need much room.  I'd be fine with one in a one-bedroom apartment.  However, if you're going to be home all day every day, then a bit more space sounds good.  To me, both homes sound like they have more than enough space for your family.


Good luck!

post #3 of 7

I personally would be very annoyed by constant noise, but that's because all unnecessary noise drives me crazy.  But also, constantly having the baby wake up from naps/sleep on account of some loud thing flying by could get old fast.  On the other hand, being near the airport means you can go sit outside and watch stuff land/take off.  That's a lot of free entertainment...


You're in LA so you can theoretically spend a lot of time outside (because of the mild climate).  Until kids are mobile, they don't really need a lot of indoor space because they just kinda lay there.  Having your living area separate from the kitchen actually might be nice with a baby once they start exploring--you won't have to spend all your time keeping them out of there!  (The kitchen is the hardest accessible area to childproof, IMO). 


No matter how much space you have, or don't have, it'll never feel like enough, once you have baby crud cluttering it up...it's just inevitable. 

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the input. It helps! :) :)


I will come back and let you guys know which one we signed the lease on soon.....I feel kinda bad witholding the info, but my mom knows what I picked and keeps reassuring me that my choice is "fine," which is annoying because I feel like she is just trying to reassure me and not talk "pros and cons" with me, so I feel better just hearing unbiased opinions for now. :) Hope that makes sense. It IS helping dispel my anxiety about this. And I am happy to hear that both choices sound like they would be good, and would be enough space!!! Yes, 1-2 hours of outdoor time is what I was hoping for, actually, so that is good to hear.


I think with the smaller place, the plan would be to put as few pieces of furniture in the living room as possible. Would that make up for a toddler or crawling baby not having two rooms to explore? Hopefully. (But again, the first 12 months I'll just be dealing with a little one who can't move around on his own) We will try to keep the bedrooms as places to retreat to, but they are really small.


I will be home a lot, so I'll be both indoors a lot, and (hopefully) outdoors a lot. Sageowl, yes, unecessary noise drives me crazy. Glad to be in the company of people who understand. :) I feel like I look nuts to hubby, because he is fine with background noise.

post #5 of 7
Quiet by a mile. Just moved out of very VERY noisy part of West Hollywood and mo idea what a huge relief it would be. Noise is stressful and it isn't just your house it is the filth too. Traffic/fuel etc are huge polluters. Have you every looked at the research on asthma rates next to freeways in LA? We needed air purifiers in every room.

Kids don't need a lot of space. They need clean air.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks, JudiAU.


I have looked into the freeway pollution thing. It was quite scary!! I kept that in mind when looking for this place. I realize being closer to the airport is still bad, but the distance of the second house is large enough that it should be okay. Hubby and I insisted on central air (vs wall units), so we can get a great filter for the A/C system and change it often, and we are also planning on buying stand alone purifiers.


I figured I am doing everything I can do mitigate the air pollution, then noise pollution became my next concern. If you google it, you'll see what I mean. And it intuitively made sense to me (before googling, so it's not like I googled then became worried) as noise slowly grates at me, and I can't imagine how it is for a baby who's trying to learn so much those first years. Attention span, etc is important, even for babies. For me, constant noise affects my mood and sense of peace.


We did end up picking the smaller house! So we'll see how it goes. I was hoping beyond hope for a medium to large living area, I always pictured that when I pictured starting our family, so it has been hard to get that huge second place out of my mind. I am hoping this place will feel large enough.

post #7 of 7

Air purifiers are great white noise machines! 

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