Best place for kids bedrooms?

Epiarch DesignsJanuary 27, 2012

No kids as of yet, but that is definitely in the equation after this new house is done. I am trying to figure out the design, on rendition 300 now it feels like. My goals for the home are much different than most on here, so it is not your typical sprawling plan and bloated spaces. (Small, fairly compact, super efficient, solar tempered home) However something we are struggling with slightly is how to arrange the bedrooms.

We have basically 2 plans, sort of. Both are single story with a full walkout basement. Both have the master on the main level. One option has a bedroom a long with the master on the main level with the rest of the bedrooms in the basement, and the other option has all of the bedrooms in the basement on the walkout side (so no window wells). Both masters are sizes appropriately to have ample space for a crib/early child years prior to moving to a full bedroom.

Having grown up in a house with the master on a different level then all of the bedrooms, I tend to not have an issue with the 2nd option, especially since it is slightly smaller and fits my goals better. The stairs just help to provide an in-home health plan! But we are debating the 2 options due to the location of the bedroom. We know it would probably be more convenient to have one closer then downstairs for the early years, but would be a lot better to have it downstairs for a majority of the rest of the years.

Any thoughts from people who have debated similar options or perhaps built it one way or the other?

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We built a two story, with the master on the main floor and all other bedrooms on the 2nd. However, I placed what we call the "secondary master" on the 2nd floor as well. It is a bedroom about the same size as our master, with a smaller dedicated bath and walk in closet. If we ever have more children, I plan to use this space for my DH and I to sleep, when the children would be less than one year old and still nursing. During the rest of the time, it makes for a nice guest suite, and can eventually transition to a nicer, larger room for DD in her teenage years.

When our 5yr old DD was first born, we were in a different house with all the bedrooms on the same level. For that 1st year I wouldn't have wanted to climb the stairs back and forth for middle of the night feedings and such. After she was about 2, and transitioned out of her crib, into a big girl bed, she would come and get us when she needed. At that point, I would no longer care if she was on a separate floor. DD was 5 when we moved into our current house, and it has never been an issue with her on a different floor. I actually prefer it, because we can be louder while we are still awake, when she is in bed, without worrying about waking her up.

One world of caution about your plan to have only the master on the main and the rest in the basement is the dreaded resale issues. We live on 10 acres in a very desirable school district. Our neighbor's property, which is very similar except it also has a nice horse barn, was recently listed for sale. This property had all of the bedrooms in the walkout basement and was a difficult sale and sold for significantly less because of the setup.

I have another friend whose home is still on the market in the same school district and can't sell. Her home has high end finishes, geothermal heat and many other pluses. However, only the master is above grade and the other 3 bedrooms are in the very nicely finished walkout basement. The feedback from buyers has been that they can't get over having most of the bedrooms on the lower level, which in the past was thought of as "lesser space", even with the high end finish. We also live in an area with very high naturally occurring radon levels and buyers have brought this up as a concern with the basement bedrooms as well.

If this will be your "forever" home, my opinion is you build for your needs and wants and not resale. If your situation should ever change, and you need to sell you just need to be prepared for the challenges and possibly lower value that those choices result in.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Just a word of caution from someone who has taken care of many newborns. It is really important to have them closeby at night, but not too close. If there is a room next door or even an alcove or empty walk-in closet space that is big enough for a crib great, but they can be surprisingly loud as they sleep. They wiggle, sniffle, gurgle and make other lovely body noises which seem to be amplified at 3am. It may not be a problem when they are a few days old, but once they hit a few months it usually will be and that is really too young for them to be on another floor - IMHO.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:15AM
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I'd pick the plan with the second bedroom on the main floor. Great for little ones...and also good for guests, who don't do well with stairs. As kids get older, unfortunately, so do our parents, so it's good to have some flexibility, built into your plan.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Epiarch Designs

thanks for the thoughts. I do not really have a dedicated office space, so I am thinking about have a smalller "office" space up there (say 10x10) that could function has a bedroom for the first year or 2. So that is a good idea. It could also function as a possible guest bedroom if need be since a lot of space is not really a requirement in a room such as that. I think I can shuffle some things around and get it to work with adding minimal square footage.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 6:37PM
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I have a house with a downstairs master and a small bedroom right beside it. The other bedrooms are all on 2nd floor. I have 7 kids and have NEVER been able to sleep in the same room with a baby. They do make a lot of noises when they sleep and it wakes me up because I think they are waking up. But in the room next door I don't hear them until they are crying and ready to wake up. My kids stay in there until they are at least 3 years old (or another baby comes along). In my new house that I'm going to build, all my bedrooms including master will be upstairs, along with a laundry room. Our current house has been for sale and the comments from young families is that they don't want the kids upstairs alone.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Of the two options you provided, I, too, agree with the second smaller bedroom on the same floor. I couldn't sleep with a baby in the same room. We once tried to put one of our babies in the walk in closet, but that was still too close/loud for us! :)

Our upcoming house, like frozenelves8, will have all the family bedrooms on the 2nd floor with a "guest" room on the main, which will be ours when we get too old to climb the stairs. There's something a little terrifying to me to think that I could be separated from my children if there's ever a fire. I much prefer to be on the same floor as them, helping them climb down the fire escape ladder if needed, or throwing them out the window on to a mattress. Far fetched? Probably. But these are things you think about the moment they buckle that sweet baby in to your car for the first time.

Hope you're not too terrified to have kids, now! haha

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:19AM
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I agree as well to have at least 2 beds on the main level. As a parent of two young kiddos I have to say that even a split bedroom plan was difficult. Our last house had a main level master with both kids upstairs. The fire issue actually kept me up at night, as a basement it wouldn't be as difficult to get to the kids in the event of a fire, but still...Also my youngest is almost 2 now, he was a great sleeper then just started waking up every night with the need for a cuddle or water or something. His room is just around the corner so I am happy he isn't to far away. Needless to say stumbling down stairs in the middle of the night is a saftey issue for me!

Resale is also a concern. When we sold our ranch house with a split bedroom I received several comments from young families that had concerns about the kids even being on the other side of the house. I didn't understand because I didn't have kids at that time. Now I totally get it.

One other thing to mention, with a basement it is probably more likely for someone to try to break in from the back on the ground level(basement)You may not even hear it so if the kids are down there...what can I say it is the maternal instinct coming out...crazy thoughts...

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I agree with a lot of what has already been said. If you are building this house with no intentions of ever moving, it doesn't really matter what other people think. If there is a possibility that you may move, however, I wouldn't have all the bedrooms in the basement. I think that some people even have a hard time dealing with a split plan where the master is on the main floor and the rest of the bedrooms are on the 2d floor and even more people have a problem with a house where are the kids are in the basement. That's not to say that people couldn't get over that feature, it's just that it becomes a "negative" that a potential homebuyer needs to overlook or deal with before deciding to purchase your home. In this market, at least, one would like to eliminate as many of those negatives as possible.

I also agree with the idea that it's hard to anticipate your child rearing needs before you actually have kids. I guess that's the disadvantage of building a home before having kids, but at the same time planning to add kids into the mix. What works for you is so unpredictable and personal. If I designed my house before having kids, I think it would have looked a lot different than the home I designed after having kids. But I understand that we don't all have the luxury of that timing. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:28PM
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We are designing our house so that the kids rooms are on the other side of our ranch house. When they are young it is nice to be nearby, but they don't stay young forever and I wanted to have some seperation when they got older.

We both grew up in 1.5 story houses with the kids beds upstairs and seperated and there is something nice with some seperation.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:26PM
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We are in the midst of our dream house build. We've lived in homes where the master is down and kids are up in our last two homes. We specifically chose a one story for the dream house. Having had the other, I really look forward to having them down a hall from us, rather than up a flight of stairs. Also, with game and media room down I think it will lend to more family activities, rather than just the "kids area". Good Luck with your build and with the eventual start of your family--children are a blessing!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:43PM
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All of our bedrooms are up with a guest on the main and basement in the home we are building. In my area 70% of the homes are master up and they are cheaper to build. So resale is not an issue. I also have two babies and grew up in the Northwest so it all seemed natural to be upstairs. I don't anticipate this being my forever house. Once my kids are out the house I am getting a city condo and a beach house and will definitely be on the main...but that is in 20 years :)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 3:53PM
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