Hmm...effectively two bedrooms and four kids...how would you do this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a three-bedroom house, but one bedroom is our home office. DH and I both work from home.

Currently the boys (10 and 12) have one bedroom, and the girls (6 and 8) share the other bedroom with me and DH. I feel like within about a year it will be time to stop sharing with the girls.

The front bedroom is small and has a walk-in closet. That is the room we currently share with the girls (they have bunk beds and we have a queen). I love it.

The middle bedroom is small also, but has only a very tiny closet. The boys currently share this room (also bunk beds).

The back room (technically a bedroom) is the office. It is huge. DH and I both have desks with computers in there. There are windows in the middle of two adjacent sides of the room, so there is no easy way to split it in half. It is also a second family room, with bookshelves and game shelves and DVDs, and a table for playing games on. The room is used often for this purpose. It also has a futon for guest sleeping.

We have talked about moving our bed into the office, but DH is a night owl and I'm a morning person, and I want to make sure we both get enough sleep/quiet/dark. It feels weird to combine office and sleep space, but I'm not sure we have a better option.

We have also talked about the possibility of subdividing or partitioning the office and turning it into two bedrooms, or a bedroom and an office, but again, the placement of the windows makes that difficult. I'm also feeling a bit uncomfortable with the idea of having the boys and girls all share the big room, though DH is okay with it.

When we make this change, I want to make it so we don't have to change things around again, especially if we end up renovating at all. In other words, what we decide to do now should work for four teenagers (yes, they'll all be teenagers at once).

Adding a room in another part of the house or moving the office to another part of the house do not feel like options, with the possible exception of moving the office stuff down to the recreation room where the pool table and exercise equipment are, but the space there is very open (not able to close a door for a phone call, for example) and kind of limited with use of space.

Renovation is not DH's strong suit, and we don't have money to throw at this issue. Maybe a little bit, but I don't see us moving walls or anything like that.

What would you do? (I hope that is enough info).

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#2 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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I'm not a big fan of having work related stuff in the bedroom but it sounds like the best solution in your situation.

Could you get some room dividers to partition off a bedroom area and then you have some privacy? Would be a relatively cheap and easy temporary solution until you figure out a long term plan.

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/70182191

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#3 of 21 Old 09-03-2010, 10:53 PM
 
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Can the rec room be partitioned off to give it more privacy?

How would the kids feel about all sharing a room? If you could divide the room in half with a partition this might be the best option.
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#4 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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Could someone's bedroom be shared with the recreation room? It sounds like it may be in a basement so maybe the older boys. The girls then could have their own room and an adult bedroom. If the workout equipment is mainly used by the adults, could it be moved into the adult bedroom (or office) to free up space in the rec room? We live in a tiny house and when the kids decided they wanted their own rooms (they shared for awhile) my youngest got to share his room with the playroom.

But maybe the bigger question is do the girls feel they want/need their own space or is it an adult privacy issue? Because if you love them in with you and they are happy there...why change it or at least not right now. Your situation could totally change in a few years.

Michele - Homeschooling mom to Hadley, (10/03 - the 23 week preemie miracle) and Noah, (08/05)
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#5 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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I'd start a family discussion and see what everyone has to say and how they all feel. Kids often have amazing ideas! Also, many times parents have issues with situations, but the kids do not. They are often more open to new solutions and less picky than we adults think they are. Ultimately, I would do nothing for awhile and see how things progress naturally.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#6 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 01:29 AM
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personally, i would put the kids together in the big room andmove the office into the boys bedroom.

i have friends in DK with four kids, living in a one bedroom apt. the parents sleep in the front room (which is lr/dr during the day, also play area, crafting area, etc) and all four kids share bunks in the bedroom. 2 girls; 2 boys. eldest is the same age as yours. it works fine. they put bed curtains around the bunks so each kid has some privacy if they need it.

i would move the dvds/games/books into a living room space.

in so far as the rec room goes, personally--unless it's used daily--it might be space to reclaim. see how often you really use it. you can make it into an office and just have it closed off and put a door in. probably using the money you would get from selling anything excess.

anyway, just some ideas.
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#7 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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Do you have a garage?

I think your quickest, easiest and cheapest solution is going to be moving your and your DH's bed and such into the office and turning the office into your bedroom and workspace.

The next option, moving down to the rec room, I like that, with the suggestion of the partition or some sort of divider like that. Without pictures, it's hard to tell, but it sounds like you could divide the rec room into a rec room and office with a little bit of rearranging and maybe some hanging curtains or installing some simple dividers and such.

If you have a garage, you could turn that into the office. It would require the most renovation, but really, not that much. If it's a two car garage, you could turn it into a one car so you could still use the other side, by just throwing up some 2X4s and drywall. Or skip that step. Just make sure the whole thing is insullated and throw up some drywall on the studs, then paint and move in your office stuff.
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#8 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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I would move all the stuff in the office into either the living room or recreation room. Then I would probably give the girls the big room, girls seem to want more space. Seems a bit much to have 3 rooms dedicated to living/working/playing areas when you are in need of more bedroom space.
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#9 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, these are all good ideas to consider.

We are not in a hurry to kick the girls out of our bedroom, but after twelve continuous years of sharing our room with kids who are becoming increasingly savvy, DH is really wishing for some privacy for us. I am thinking that when our oldest DD starts showing signs of puberty, that will be the right time, and it makes sense to move both girls out together. They would be happy to have a "girls room" if they had the chance, but their desire for a room of their own isn't the primary factor.

We have three separate living spaces in part because of how our house is laid out and also because we homeschool, so it's six of us home together just about all day every day, doing various different activities, with some introverts in the mix. The small bedrooms are too small for almost anything but sleeping/clothes.

Also the rec room is mostly taken up by DH's baby, a 9' pool table, which is the main thing limiting the options down there...and it's not going away. I am going to think more about how that space can be rearranged, at least around the edges of the room. Maybe cubicle walls would work! I like those room dividers, but I think we would try for something homemade/less spendy.

I think moving our bed into the office would be the least complicated change, and then I suppose it will evolve as we figure out what doesn't work...

But it would also be fantastic to be able to continue having a dedicated room as the office.

So here is the other question in my mind: Is it appropriate to have boys and girls sharing a big bedroom? At what age(s) does that become inappropriate? I don't have a problem with it in theory, but I don't want to make my kids uncomfortable, and especially because we homeschool, I don't want to be in a situation where someone might do a well-meaning investigation and end up penalizing us for our unconventional choices. Of course they could tell us whether they were uncomfortable, but I know they would not like the idea anyway (my oldest is very private about his "space" and stuff, and sharing a room with just his brother is hard for him).

We do have an uninsulated garage, but I think the renovation work might be too much for us. We will consider it though.

It now seems very unlikely that we will move anytime while the kids are still living with us. For a variety of reasons it has ceased to be an option (it was our plan until recently). So this is the house we need to make the most of.

I like the idea of asking the kids what they think, and I will do that, but I want to get clear about my own thoughts first.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#10 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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I would not be comfortable with having boys & girls in the same room once they reach teenage years. I just don't feel it's appropriate, though for personal reasons that may not apply to every family...

I WAH from my bedroom. It hasn't been an issue for me but I would still prefer to have a separate space if possible, but it sounds like the office is pretty big -- is there any way you could divide it without actually putting up a wall? i.e. get one of those big folding screens, or rig up curtains to divide the room, or if you have a walk-in closet you could put your desk in there (saw this on a design show once, was kind of cool), something so you still feel like you have a separate space?

Otherwise, moving the office to the rec room sounds like the best option... how often is that room really used? Would it really interfere with your work to not be able to close the office space off? Is there a way you can redecorate or something to make the rec room more appealing to you?

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#11 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Ah we cross-posted!

Another thought, is there anyway the rec room could be used as a bedroom? Then you could use the big office as an office/rec room (which I guess is kind of what you do now anyway, but without a bed in there you could move the pool table up there?) and still have 2 other bedrooms.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#12 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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I see you are in zone 5, like me. Insulating the garage would not cost much (we did it last winter) then you could put the pool table in there to create a hang out space for the family. That would work great for teens and adults. The basement could then become the boys bedroom. (assuming there is a window down there?) Let them get creative about ways to split it up.

I wouldn't recommend putting 4 kids in 1 room. Imagine the amount of arguments!
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#13 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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I would put a temporary divider in the room you and the girls currently share and add another set of bunk beds for the boys. Who ever sleeps on the side with the closet would keep their clothes in that room. Who ever sleeps on the other side would keep their clothes in another room. If the set up doesn't allow for privacy to change they can change in the bathroom. I would use the current boy's bedroom as the new "master" and leave the office alone.

I have two girls and 2 boys sharing a bedroom right now but their ages are 4-10. We currently don't have a divider but I anticipate needing one in another 1-2 years.
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#14 of 21 Old 09-04-2010, 09:27 PM
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the issue of age/bedroom sharing is largely cultural, not absolute. remember that in some cultures, the whole family shares one sleeping room, or the single room of the house has multiple uses for families of 6 or more (including elders). so, it's really a question about how *you* think about it and what *you* think it means.

i would start combining room use, if you can. can you outline for me ever room you have, how it is used, and how often it is used?

to give an example, our house and it's use:

1 br apt, 2 adults and 1 2yo child

Entry: used as the entry space, we have a coat rack for coats, shoes, bags, and such. a bench for sitting on while putting on or taking off shoes.

lounge: furnished with built in cubbies, built in window seat. desk with shelves for "writers nook" and no other furnishings. books, work-related paperwork, and household-related paperwork kept in upper cubbies. lower cubbies house DS's toys (in baskets) and his instruments (set out). "writer's nook" is our small home office space. DH uses it for his writing, we also do bills and related work for home and office in this space. we also use it as a play space (for all of us), yoga/meditation space, and a space where we entertain guests (also picnic style!).

kitchen: furnished only with a bench at this time. we dine in there (on a cloth on the floor), it's also used for crafting (again on the floor), and any kind of cooking/preparing foods, etc.

bedroom: bed and dresser. sleeping, resting/relaxing/reading (including using my laptop to read MDC, etc, such as at this moment while DS naps beside me), dry crafting/mending (knitting, mending, etc).

all rooms used daily by all of us--either together or singly.

so, if you can tell me how you use each room, and how often, then we can talk about creative combining.
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#15 of 21 Old 09-05-2010, 01:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by amyamanda View Post
Thanks, these are all good ideas to consider.

We are not in a hurry to kick the girls out of our bedroom, but after twelve continuous years of sharing our room with kids who are becoming increasingly savvy, DH is really wishing for some privacy for us. I am thinking that when our oldest DD starts showing signs of puberty, that will be the right time, and it makes sense to move both girls out together. They would be happy to have a "girls room" if they had the chance, but their desire for a room of their own isn't the primary factor.

We have three separate living spaces in part because of how our house is laid out and also because we homeschool, so it's six of us home together just about all day every day, doing various different activities, with some introverts in the mix. The small bedrooms are too small for almost anything but sleeping/clothes.

Also the rec room is mostly taken up by DH's baby, a 9' pool table, which is the main thing limiting the options down there...and it's not going away. I am going to think more about how that space can be rearranged, at least around the edges of the room. Maybe cubicle walls would work! I like those room dividers, but I think we would try for something homemade/less spendy.

I think moving our bed into the office would be the least complicated change, and then I suppose it will evolve as we figure out what doesn't work...

But it would also be fantastic to be able to continue having a dedicated room as the office.

So here is the other question in my mind: Is it appropriate to have boys and girls sharing a big bedroom? At what age(s) does that become inappropriate? I don't have a problem with it in theory, but I don't want to make my kids uncomfortable, and especially because we homeschool, I don't want to be in a situation where someone might do a well-meaning investigation and end up penalizing us for our unconventional choices. Of course they could tell us whether they were uncomfortable, but I know they would not like the idea anyway (my oldest is very private about his "space" and stuff, and sharing a room with just his brother is hard for him).

We do have an uninsulated garage, but I think the renovation work might be too much for us. We will consider it though.

It now seems very unlikely that we will move anytime while the kids are still living with us. For a variety of reasons it has ceased to be an option (it was our plan until recently). So this is the house we need to make the most of.

I like the idea of asking the kids what they think, and I will do that, but I want to get clear about my own thoughts first.
Honestly, I think having girls as old as yours in your bedroom will throw up as many red flags w/CPS as having boys/girls share a room.
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#16 of 21 Old 09-05-2010, 02:29 AM
 
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Honestly, I think having girls as old as yours in your bedroom will throw up as many red flags w/CPS as having boys/girls share a room.
I think family bedrooms are awesome! If/when we ever build our dream house it will have a huge one. Either one huge boys and one huge girls, or just one huge one for everyone

CPS (ie mainstream thinking) wouldnt agree with probably one single parenting choice I have made so far. So I dont base my choices on what they would think. I'd rather be a good mom now than be a bad one because Im afraid of CPS and just because the mainstream doesnt like my parenting style.
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#17 of 21 Old 09-05-2010, 02:44 AM
 
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I'd think about moving the girls into the office, with a divider or screen or creative curtains of some sort. Keep your sleeping space and WIC, move the smaller bed (footprint-wise) into the office...?

And considering whether your girls are morning/evening people, you could move one of the computer workstations elsewhere...?
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#18 of 21 Old 09-05-2010, 03:35 AM
 
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I think family bedrooms are awesome! If/when we ever build our dream house it will have a huge one. Either one huge boys and one huge girls, or just one huge one for everyone

CPS (ie mainstream thinking) wouldnt agree with probably one single parenting choice I have made so far. So I dont base my choices on what they would think. I'd rather be a good mom now than be a bad one because Im afraid of CPS and just because the mainstream doesnt like my parenting style.
well, it's a concern for the OP.
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#19 of 21 Old 09-07-2010, 05:33 AM
 
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We have 4 kids in one bedroom right now (ages 6-17, 3 boys 1 girl). It is working for us.,.the bedroomn is just a sleeping room. Changing clothes happens in the bathroom, etc.
You say the large office room would be hard to seperate, due to windows...how about the bedroom you are currently sleeping in with the girls now? You and dh could takethe tiny room (its just for sleeping, right?) to yourselves, and give the kids the larger bedroom, divided in half, and keep the office just as it is now.
OR..you say that the big large office bedroom has windos on opposite walls..are the windows on all 4 walls? what about cutting it in half the opposite way? OR even diagonally? or in a "stairstep" shape that would include the entirety on onw windo in one room and the entirety of the other in the other room?

CPST
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#20 of 21 Old 09-07-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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Personally sharing between the boys and girls depends on ALOT of factors. Personally i had two older brothers and I couldn't imagine having to share a bedroom as a teen, however my oldest brother was quite abusive (yes, siblings can be abusive, I have the scars to show it) so it changes the dynamic alot. If the kids get along well and won't be changing in the room I dont' see what the problem is. My girls share and room and if the baby Im carrying ends up being a boy he will probably share with the girls. I don't see why he would get his own room while the girls still share (their room is good sized and only used for sleeping/keeping clothes.
Ask your children what they thought? I had debated making a bedroom for each girl asked my oldest and she got upset at the thought her little sister wouldn't be in the same room as her. I guess shes been holding off for DD2 to be old enough not to sleep with mommy and daddy so she can have a room mate. Shes already asking me when the baby will be old enough to sleep with them two and Im not due until Feb. Now my kids are all younger so it helps.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#21 of 21 Old 09-07-2010, 10:55 PM
 
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I think I would move the office to the basement. I know you said there was no place to have a private phone conversation but it the phone use is limited, you could always have a conversation in the bedroom. (Of course, this doesn't work if the phone is used often and you need the things in the office (computer, files, etc) while on the phone).

If you moved the office in the basement, I would move your bedroom into the bigger room and the girls could continue to share the room they shared with you.

As far as boys and girls sharing a room, I would avoid it if you can. I know there are lots of people who share sleeping spaces but in western society, there is more of a stigma attached to same genders sharing rooms at older ages. Plus, I do think it makes it easier for teens who want privacy.

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