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Old 03-20-2013, 07:46 PM   #11
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

I also have 4 kids (although they are ages 1.5-7.5) and have a ranch with a finished daylight basement. There are 5 bedrooms (3 up, 2 down), 3 baths (2 up, 1 down), a great room upstairs (dining/living/kitchen), a huge basement family room, and a basement computer/sewing room, for a total of 3500 finished sq ft.

It is waaaaaaaaaay too much. Too much to run from one end to another, too much to clean, to much to heat and cool, too much to decorate. The kids drag stuff from one end to another and I sometimes feel like I spend all my time moving their junk from one place to another--even though they are very much responsible for chores and picking up after themselves. I would be happy with 2500-3000, even less depending on floor plan. The floor plan is EVERYTHING.

We built this house and SO SO SO wish we had used a licensed architect instead of a draftsman. I know we could have gotten so much better use out of our space if we had someone who knows both design and construction.

I do enjoy having a bedroom for each child, but they are enormous at 12x12'. We should have done 12x10' at most. Also, my older three are always begging to sleep together anyway

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Old 03-20-2013, 07:57 PM   #12
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

To answer your other questions: Our living room is 16x17, dining is 12x14, and kitchen 12x12. I am mostly happy with those dimensionsm except they have traffic ways running thru them so they feel smaller and the furniture in somewhat crammed. Our master bedroom is perfect at 12x15' with two side by side closets on one wall.

I wish we had a big laundry room with a bathroom in it on one end of the house and a master bath with hallway access on the other end. Right now, we have the laundry room on one end with no bathrooms, and the two other baths (master and common) on the other end. The kids often come in from playing needing to just pee quick, but instead have to treck thru the house. And the nice big master bath gets almost no use because it is tucked away in our bedroom. And I do NOT want a fourth bathroom to clean, so adding a toilet and shower to our current laundry room is not happening.

I love having 4 foot wide hallways and 3 foot doorways, even in the basement. I am somewhat of a minimalist, so the overall size of our house is unneccesary because we simply don't have much stuff.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:57 PM   #13
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

We are expecting our fourth child in September.
Right now we have a 2800 sq ft house, 5 bedrooms/2 baths.
We use one bedroom for a toy-room/school room, one for an office (DH works from home), one for us, and my two daughters share (ages 6 and 20 months), and my son (4ys) has one bedroom to himself.
If this baby turns out to be a boy he will be sharing with my son.
I like that we have extra bedrooms that we can utilize if we need to when the kids get older but right now they don't mind sharing and it works out great to have all the toys in one separate room.
I feel like we have just the right amount of space for us. Personally, I wouldn't want to go bigger just because I struggle to keep this big of a house clean and organized!
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:36 PM   #14
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

I have two girls (15 and 10) and two boys (8 & 6.)

Our house is about 2400 sq ft, but we have 4 bedrooms. My girls have their own rooms and my boys share. This works well; since they are 19 months apart, they can wear many of the same clothes as each other and they have similar interests.

We have 2.5 bathrooms. It works for us. The girls share the one upstairs and the boys mainly use the master bathroom. I would like for them to use the upstairs one eventually, but this arrangement still works for us. The half bathroom really saves us at times; I think it would be difficult to get by with just two bathrooms.

One of my favorite things about the house is we have a 2nd living room upstairs, kind of a common area for the kids. Over the years, it has been a playroom/office and now kind of a game room/hanging out spot.

I do wish my laundry room were bigger. Whenever I express this desire, people scoff and ask why I'd want to hang out in the laundry room anymore than necessary. Well, being a mom of 4, I am often crunched for time. I may start some laundry and not be able to finish it, and then it just ends up getting dumped on my couch. Also, I would have loved to use a little bit of the space to store my kids' school stuff like backpacks and coats. As it is, I have NO good place for it and it gets hung on our dining room chairs. I don't trust half the kids to keep them in their rooms because I guarantee something would be lost from the time homework is done to the next morning when it's time to leave for school.

I would like a little bit of a bigger house, but I know my oldest won't be living with us too much longer.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Leah52
I think a lot of it depends on your family too. When I was a kid in a family of 6 we moved a lot because my dad was in the Army. We lived in a variety of houses from tiny 900sqft rentals in town to 5br 3bath houses on 5 acres and we were happy wherever we were.
I'm glad to hear this. We move because we're military also and I worry about our kids becoming attached to homes or being disappointed if a new home isn't Ike the last. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 03-22-2013, 08:15 AM   #16
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

My sil has five kids, ages 15 to 6 (one girl, four boys). They have a four bedroom house, 2.5 bath.

Girl has her own room, the four boys share.

About two years ago, she was complaining about the tight fit. But then someone pointed out that her house is going to empty out starting in five years. Given the fact that they lost 130% of equity in their house (they are in California), they decided to suck it up. Once the oldest leaves for college, the two oldest boys will get their own rooms.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:11 AM   #17
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

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Originally Posted by mommabritt View Post
I'm glad to hear this. We move because we're military also and I worry about our kids becoming attached to homes or being disappointed if a new home isn't Ike the last. Thanks for sharing.

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The only problem I have is that I get the itch to move about every 2 years! My husband lived in the same house his whole life so settling down is more important to him.
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:57 AM   #18
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

Thank you all for your perspective. This has given DH and me a lot of ideas to consider. He recently discovered that his childhood home was 1600ish ft(2 kids plus grandma and parents) and he never felt cramped. The importance of having two common areas finally makes sense thanks to you! I can't tell you how many homes and plans I ve looked at and felt like it was excessive. Now it makes sense. And the back pack organization recommendations really hit home for me.

I'm still obsessed with a kitchen/ family room / eating space with a good flow and layout where people can work at various places without bumping behinds. Would I be a total goob if I threw up some plans for feedback?
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:14 PM   #19
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

Here's a bit of a different perspective for you. We live in a little trailer (about 900-1000 sq.ft.) with our 4. We've got three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The boys' bedroom is the biggest of the two smaller ones and is just big enough to fit a twin bed, a toddler bed, and creatively squeeze two tall dressers in there. We couldn't do two twin beds. The only thing I'd really feel a strong need to change is higher ceilings because then we could do bunks. My daughter's room is the smaller room and it's barely big enough to hold a queen mattress, a dresser, and a coffee table with a TV on it. She's got a bookshelf, but it's in her closet, which is also quite tiny. If I had to change it, I'd swap out her bed for a twin or double so she's got more room, but it was free and is sitting on the floor right now, so she can easily use it to play on. Once the baby's no longer in our bed he's going to share a room with his brothers.

The bathroom situation, we've got two and it's mostly perfect for us. Our bathroom has a lot of wasted space as it's massive and has both a garden tub and a standing shower. Personally, we could do without all of that. We pretty much never use the tub because it's just too big and expensive to fill. The kids all use our shower anyway because that's where the linen closet is and where all the towels are kept, so we really could do with just one and a half bathrooms.

If I had to change anything as far as space goes, I'd want a the kids rooms to be a little bigger, shrink the size of our master bathroom, and increase the size of our dining room and kitchen, both of which are pretty small.

Personally, I'm happy with 1 1/2 bathrooms. I'm good with only having one living room and no den. Ours is a good size for us. I like having a dining room, but ours isn't quite big enough for all of us to eat in comfortably, and having a large enough table is next to impossible if we still want to get through it to the master bedroom, so it's currently pushed up against the wall. I'd love a bigger kitchen too.

The next place we're looking at is approximately 1400 sq.ft. It's still a 3 bedroom. It still has two full bathrooms (but no garden tub). It's got a decent sized dining room and a bigger kitchen. All in all I can't imagine needing anything larger. I think that's honestly almost too big for us! We had someone try to talk us into buying an even bigger place (1900 sq.ft), which I think would definitely be too big for us. It might be worth doing if our family size keeps growing, but for now I think what we've got is good.

For the record, ours are 9 (girl), 6, 3, 9 months (all boys).
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:53 AM   #20
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Re: Advice on a house for a family of 6

We currently live in a 3 bedroom, 1,600sq ft house, decent yard, cul de sac and a finished basement.

On Friday we move into our new home which is I think 2,600 sq ft has 4 bedrooms, finished basement and a huge 3 car garage with extended and bump outs.

We knew when I got pg with #4 that we would move, really before that. The kids rooms are 10x12. We did the bunkbeds which helped but a pain.


When househunting you quickly learn what makes sense and what doesn't. It's amazing how badly some homes are designed. We saw one with an enormous master bedroom - the size of double most, probably triple our current......yet it only had one living area and even that wasn't big at all? We don't need a big master at all?



My deal breakers are:

finished basement - my kids and their friends hang out in the basement or outside normally. Toys, video games out of my sight I keep some upstairs for the baby. We also have an extra room in the finished basement so great for guests and office.

Pantry - current kitchen does not have one, we badly need it. Very bad design for current kitchen, hard to reach a lot of the cabinet spacing.

Set up - what works for us is open, esp having the kitchen, eat in kitchen table and family room all in one line of vision.

Garage - I'm so excited about the new one. It will fit all the bikes, trikes, skateboards, bike trailer, wagon. Currently DH does not park in our garage in the summer as we have a lot of kid toys used everyday. New garage will fit all the "stuff" nicely, plus has huge built in cubbies for 3 kids(need one more cubbie) and tons of shelving etc.....esp for shoes. The current owners have all their kids shoes lined up on 3 10 ft wire racks in the garage. Shoes are my nemisis here and I'm happy to have a place for them in easy access.


I agree that probably over 3000sq is too big for me anyway. From the homes I saw around 2,500 sq to 2.800sq worked for us. Just everything in proportion. Decent size kitchen, enough room for eat in table, rooms of decent size.....one is big enough for two to share not needing the bunkbeds.


Yes.....I could live in this house(the 1600sq ft) and do just fine, but boys bedrooms would always feel cramped to me. If they were a smidge bigger it would work better.
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