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My House

Ask The Audience …

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Despite having styled 754 rooms, every single project is full of different problems that create so many questions. Sure there are one million design decisions to make, and I’m on those (stay tuned), but my big questions right now are more about function/use. Since many of you might have other experiences – either with older houses or older kids, I thought it would be fun to ask you, to get opinions in hopes that Brian and I can stop wish-washing around and make some much needed decisions.

1. The floor creaks. UGH. Badly. So boring, I realize. Our contractor and Brian’s parents were like “WOAH, we gotta fix that…” and Brian and I didn’t even really notice the intense creaking. It’s a 100 year old house, so yea, the floor boards are weakening, nails are loosening, and they creak because of it. The question to you is – while we had intended to repair and refinish them as much as possible, our contractor has warned us that it’s not a cosmetic problem and that if we don’t replace the flooring now those creaks could get worse. And yes, it’s bad. For those of you who live in an old house, on a scale of 1 – 10 how much does it bother you? Replacing the flooring wasn’t something we thought we were going to do but now I’m thinking it’s something we should…but maybe I could do something amazing…right now its 2″ oak, and not particularly rare or special – just original and old.

It’s really hard to tell how damaged it is upstairs in the photo, but yes … it’s damaged and she is yelling about it.

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Quandry #2: The fig tree outside in front of the courtyard blocks the view to the garden but creates so much shade and makes it feel cozy. We are giving up our huge fig tree here at our current home that we have inside, but alas there is already a huge one there that I love so much. I personally loved how it made the courtyard feel cozy and shady, but Brian and many others want a better view of the kids in the yard when we are in the looking out from the house. I’m starting to see the light and I’m coming around, but I also am trying on a daily basis to curb my helicopter parenting urges and wouldn’t it be lovely to just know they are safe but not need to watch them?? Or maybe it’s less high maintenance to be able to see but sit up there and hang out with adults while the kids are down below?

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Looking back, you can’t really see the architecture of the house so well because its being covered by that tree.

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If we got rid of the tree then even from the living room you could see down to the backyard.

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But look at the shade it provides!!! Thank goodness the location of the courtyard only gets full sun in the morning til around 1pm which is awesome, so that in the afternoons/evenings when it is hotter the courtyard is shaded by the house.

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As of now I’m calling an arborist to see how much we can remove from the bottom canopy to be able to see out but still have that gorgeous tree remain … but if you guys have any input or experience/strong opinions do tell…

3. Should our kids share a room? In case you need the bio – Charlie (boy) is 2 1/2 and Elliot (girl) is 10 months. They are both still in cribs and Charlie will probably transfer into a toddler bed soon (although I’m not letting him know that it’s an option yet and we have friends who’s daughter is 3 1/2 and still in a crib.

But all that aside the reason I’m wondering is because right now they both only sleep in their rooms. We don’t really spend time in them either and while we do have a guest room in the basement we could turn this beautiful all-window walled room into a pretty home office or sitting room (wtf is a sitting room???).

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It’s hard to tell size, but the above room is an awkward shape (otherwise we would nab it) but the below bedroom is pretty big. Not huge, but big enough for two twin beds or one queen that they share (which is my fantasy but everybody in my life has poo pood it). Why can’t two kids share a big bed? That sounds so cozy and sweet to me, especially since they are so close in age and we are moving into a new house.

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If they shared one big bed then I could crawl in the middle for story time and snuggle both of them and be in total paradise every night!! Although I suppose I could do that on Elliot’s daybed (which I’m not getting rid of, don’t worry.)

So anyone out there ever have their children share a big full or queen bed? Were they same gender or different? I know that a lot of you out there have kids that share a room, we did growing up, but in your objective opinion would you if you had an extra room? My thought would be that they share until they don’t want to anymore – maybe when she’s five and he’s seven?

Besides…two twin beds are so cute….

Emily Henderson_Sabbe-Interior-Design-Shared-Bedroom-Spindle-Twin-Beds Emily Henderson_Traditional_Kids Bedroom_Twin Beds_Sharing

Even though, like I said, one big queen would be so much more cozy for all of us, no?

So all y’all who have any experience with any of these situations please weigh in. These decisions aren’t going to make themselves …

1.) Replace flooring due to creaking or refinish?

2.) Remove tree, trim, or keep?

3.) Have kids share a room or each get their own??

Fin Mark

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My sister and I shared a bed for about two years! Then we had a fight and she moved out to the guest room 😉

Stacey

Regarding the tree, I’d say don’t remove it until you’ve tried to prune/trim it first. I’m sure it will be a huge improvement.
IMO, the kids should stay in separate rooms, at least for now. They’re both so young and you don’t want them waking each other up in the morning or during the night if they’re sick, etc. I’d put a queen bed in Charlie’s room (don’t bother with a toddler bed ever) when he’s ready to transition from his crib (but DON’T transition him during the move, either do it now in your current house or after a few months in the new house). That way, you can do story time for both of them in Charlie’s bed and when Eliott gets older she’ll have the option if sleeping with him if they both want to. My boys (currently 9 and 7) have separate rooms but went through a period of sleeping together in a full bed and it was sweet, as long as they weren’t fooling around at bedtime and were both happy with it. Best of luck with all your planning. The new house is awesome.

Olivia

Totally agree with not bothering with a toddler bed, especially for an older toddler. And a daybed is especially great.
Instead of using a side rail on the bed…..we use a pool noodle placed under the fitted mattress pad (thank you Pinterest) to create a little speed bump = no falling out of bed and no cumbersome bed rails.

Suzy

I 100% concur. We skipped the toddler bed for our older son and I do the snuggle-in-the-middle-of-both-and-read-at-bedtime move often but still gave them separate rooms. His serves as a guest room as needed. My daughter has a daybed with a trundle and so they have the option of sharing either room but having their own space to decorate/destroy or just have alone time to play, read, etc.
Ditto on the pool noodle move.

Lane

I think you meant twin bed, not queen bed. Full is large for a kid, Queen is big, and it’s more work changing and washing the bed. Especially in california where people need to use less energy and water.

Olivia

Your new home is lovely ! My kiddos are 8, 6 and almost 3 1. Creaky -floors….are the creaks loud enough to wake sleeping children in the early mornings or keep them awake at night? If so, yes, absolutely replace. No one wants to tip toe every mornings. 2. Fig tree – I would not give up my line of vision from my kitchen sink to my children’s playset in our back yard for anything. It’s so valuable when cooking dinner, cleaning up or just when I want to sit at the kitchen table and have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet. That said, I would attempt pruning it first. 3. As a girl who shared a bed (a full at that) her entire life at home…..I would provide two twins in a shared room. A little space to call your own. My sister and I are still close, but showing a bed gets rough, aka puke always happens in the middle of the night and kids never make it out of the bed in time. All my kids are in their own rooms although I am not opposed to sharing, it is just easier now not to… Read more »

Kannfish

Totally agree with the creaky floors waking up kids. I live in an older home. My husband worked hard to fix the squeaks but I still have to do a Mission Impossible obstacle course to get up before the kids without waking them. In fact, I have just surrendered to staying in bed until one of them wakes up. It fails every time

When I moved last, my oldest was 2 1/2. I showed him his room before we moved in and talked about one thing that would be in the room that he would think would be cool over and over (a robot picture). He stayed with a grandparent on moving day while I made his room my first priority and when he came to the new house to his new room, the first thing he said was “MY ROBOT PICTURE”. And still loves his big boy room a year later

Vicki

Really great advice.

Laura

Re: the creaky floors. I kind of like them and think they’re part of the character of an older house. When my kids were younger, we used a small fan as white noise in their rooms at night and naptime to mask the sound of us walking down the hall after bedtime, etc. That said, my floors were only about 40 years old, not 100, so yours might be beyond just cosmetic and need replacing. If you do replace, please use something sympathetic with the age of the house. I get that it’s your home and you should do what you love, but I hate it when people rip out the heart and soul of the original character of an older home-you know, the stuff that drew you to it in the first place. I also ditto just going straight to a queen size bed. That’s what we did with all three of my kids.

1. We had some creaking in our old home and it didn’t bother us. If it’s not structural and otherwise in good shape I’d leave it. Especially if it’s not bothering you and Brian.
2. You can’t replace the shade once the tree is gone. I’d try to trim some lower branches first. Since it’s not something like the floor I’d try to live with it for a little while. Then if you decide that it’s got to go later on it’s not that big of a deal. At least you know you’ve given it a shot.
3. I can’t speak from experience on this yet but I have high hopes for some cute matching twin bed action. I’ve started looking around at local eBay and estate sales, they are surprisingly rare.

1) I can’t speak to the floors without audio or video, but replacing them seems like overkill. Can you get at them from the basement/crawl space to repair or reinforce?

2) Don’t take out an entire tree until you actually encounter the problems you’re anticipating. Are they even old enough to play in the backyard solo yet, per your parenting style? Wait until they are and then see how much the fig tree bugs you. Asking an arborist how much you can get away with thinning it out is perfect, but I’d defer even that until you’ve actually lived there a bit and can better determine how much the tree is a problem vs. benefit.

3) I love the idea of them sharing a room, but are they on the same sleep schedule and does anyone have problems crying or talking to themselves for a long time before they conk out? Also, if you want more One Big Bed input, seek out some attachment parenting folks to survey. But like Attachment Lite folks. They might have actual experience with this instead of just strong opinions where they pooh-pooh the idea without actually knowing how it might pan out.

Sarah

I second this tree comment!! I wouldn’t do anything until you’ve lived with it for a while. Maybe you and they will both like the privacy over the next year. And DEFINITELY don’t remove it!! Trim if you feel you must, and really prefer a view, but I wouldn’t touch the tree for at least another year. 3 and a half is SOOOO different from 2 and a half, as is 10 months from 20. Next year they will play so differently together and the separation of space might just be great.

Julia

I 100% agree with this comment about the tree providing some separation of space that may be great for your kids. I think people forget that children, like all people, don’t want to be watched all the time. To have a precious few moments with their siblings in which they are (or feel) outside of the loving but watchful eye of their parent is, in my view, a right of childhood that too many parents overlook in their pursuit of eliminating all risk for their kids. My son loves climbing under our overgrown trees and being out of sight, something he enjoyed as much at 2 as he does now at 5. The tree is beautiful and is a living testiment to your home’s history-it appears healthy and can provide you shade and privacy for years to come. I hope you keep it.

E E Faris

It sounds like floors will need to be on the fix list at some point. If doing it later means that you have to take everything out of the rooms and store it, and maybe not walk through those rooms for a few days, maybe you’d rather have the pain now.
Save the tree! Trim if you must, but save the tree!
Sharing a room is not bad when kids are little, and their universe and priorities are ruled by Mom and Dad. How about when your boy wants to have a sleepover, or just play and be a rowdy boy with his friends but his two year old sister needs a nap? As for one bed: think of a week in January with the flu. Or one kid sick and the other well. That might be pretty hard to manage.

Jen

My kids have separate rooms but often sleep in each others beds. They seem to always be sleeping together when someone gets sick. Everybody’s survived and it wasn’t really any harder to deal with because they were together. Not mentioning this to argue with you here – just because I had a very recent experience with this and couldn’t help commenting haha

Jasna

Dear Emily, Here is my experience regarding question number 3: My boy is 4 years and 8 months old and my girl will be 1 year old on Friday :-). She slept until 11 months with me and her dad in our room and our boy has his own room where he sleeps in a big boy bed (the one that has a rail so that he can’t fall) since the age of 2 or 2 and a half, can’t rememmber precisely 🙂 Anyway, I wanted them to share the room so we decided to test them this July while we were at the seaside. It is worth mentioning, though, that our boy asked to share his room with his baby sister whom he adores, so he was very happy when we said that will happen at the seaside. We were just hoping that baby will respond well and that they will not wake each other up. She sleeps through the night but we thought that maybe movement during the night, when he changes sides or wakes up to go to the toilet, could wake them up. But, everything went well! And it was as they have always slept in… Read more »

Natasha

Totally agree with Jasna. We moved our daughter into our son’s room when they were 10 months and almost 4 years. I was initially worried about the transition but it was much easier than I thought. She was still feeding once during the night but he would sleep right through it. He even slept through the 3 nights she cried for a few minutes when we dropped that feeding. Kids are amazingly adaptable and we’ve found it to be super easy and they love being together. We have another room in our house but I always wanted my kids to share because I think it helps with bonding. That’s certainly been our experience. We stagger bedtimes and that works well. During sick times, if we need to move my son into our bed for a night or two then we do it but he’s always been willing to go back to his bed after everyone is well (i.e. we don’t struggle with him wanting to be in our bed all the time). The same bed does sound amazing but I would definitely be more concerned with them waking each other or just playing around at bedtime.

Kimberly

This is our plan too. We currently have a 3.5mo old son and a 3.5yo daughter. She is just dying to have her baby brother in her room with her. Once he is a few months older, we plan to move him in with her. His bed is currently in our room, which is working well for us at this point. I’m so happy that she adores him so. And having them share a room is allowing us to create a separate play room for them, which I think will function a lot better for them than two separate bedrooms.

Lisa

I love the idea of them sharing a room. My grandsons shared a room until the older one left for college. They did have a separate tv/play room and just used the shared room for sleeping.
Many of us “older folk” shared a room with siblings, not sure why it’s not done as much nowadays.

kellie

We have two girls (4 & 2). They used to have separate rooms but when we moved into our new home they both wanted to share even though we have a spare bedroom in addition to the guest room. So now they share a pretty large room and the oldest has a queen bed that we all snuggle in every night together. But when it’s time to sleep we put the youngest in her toddler bed that’s at the foot of the queen. We’ve tried the sleeping in one bed routine and it did not work at all for us. They talk, play, or torment each other which generally prevented any sleeping. I really wasn’t thinking that I have now set a precedent that when you graduate from your toddler bed, you get a queen-size so that should be interesting to navigate.

Carly

1) Do the floors before you move in. My parents kept meaning to get around to fixing the floors and 30 years later the creaking and stains still drive them bonkers but there’s way too much stuff to move around.
2) Our AC compressor died after a large tree that provided a ton of shade fell down, it didn’t land on anything but the sudden sun made the house super hot. So I wouldn’t tear down the tree unless absolutely necessary. I think trimming is the best option, you can always take it down if it becomes a problem but buying a new marure tree is really expensive. I think you should live with it for now and address it at a later date.

Abby

Great point about the floors and experience from watching your parents…my parents have been trying to get the floors re-done for 2+ years now but just keep putting it off because of the hassle of getting everything out and getting everyone out of the house. It will be such a hassle to do them later.

Miruska

I agree with Carly on both points: 1. if you think the floors will need replacing/repairing at some point, better do it now when it’s easier and probably cheaper as the space is empty. Who wants to move all the furniture later and live through the construction. Unless you are only doing some cosmetic updates now and are planning to do major renovation of the living room later, at which point the floors could be fixed. 2. Do not remove the tree unless absolutely needed. Maybe it’s not going to be a problem at all. it’s not an urgent issue and the kids are too little to play alone anyway. 3. My sister and I shared a room until college because we didn’t have an extra room to spread. we had a bunk bed that could be separated into two twin beds which we did often (I made my parents move furniture all the time). We played together and it was great. I started hating it when I became a teenager but by then I am sure they will have separate rooms anyway. Two twin beds is a way to go in my opinion. I am sure whatever you choose… Read more »

Bea

Here’s my penny’s worth! 1.) Replace flooring due to creaking or refinish? Definitely keep the floor as it is original! I live in an old Victorian house in London and my parents have a large old 16th century house in France and they all have squeaky floorboards. It comes with the territory of living in old property. They will also pop and squeal when the weather and temperature changes. It is possible to lift the old floors and re-nail them to stop the noise although pricy. But if you’re having the floors refurbished anyway it might be worth it. 2.) Remove tree, trim, or keep? Keep the tree and trim it! The tree will probably benefit from a prune so a win-win situation. You’ll regret that shade being gone. You can put a lovely table and chairs under the tree and sit with the kids whilst they play. And in my experience not seeing the kids for short periods of time is OK. It’s when you can’t hear them that you need to worry about what nonsense they are up to. In another 4 years they will be totally fine out there on their own. A tree will take a… Read more »

Anna

I totally agree with all these comments! I live in a 100+ year old home, and we jumped into a lot of things that “had” to be replaced when we moved in, that I wish we would have kept/fixed instead of taking it out and starting from scratch. Despite creaking, old-forested wood is SO much stronger than anything new, and you can’t take it back once it’s gone.

It’s probably best to be in the space awhile so you can make your best assessments and come to your own conclusion. Yes, moving furniture later is a pain, but for me it’s less of a nuisance than making a decision that you regret and can’t go back on.

My 5-year-old wets the bed at least weekly (he has a pull-up on, but it’s a genetic/developmental thing) so sharing a bed is out of the question. My boys have shared a bed while on vacation, however, and it worked out very well.

Barbara

I have an opinion on #3. I have a daughter and son who are about the same age difference as yours (21 months apart; daughter is 5 years old and son is 3). We have 4 bedrooms in our house, but they started sharing a room when my son was two. We moved them in together, because my son kept getting scared in the night and would climb into bed with my husband and me. He does so much better with a roommate! In fact, they both do. They are in bunkbeds (which I wouldn’t recommend until your youngest is old enough to safely climb up and down). I think it’s good for them to share a room and it means they giggle and sing songs together at night which is just the best thing to overhear. I always shared a room growing up (until I went to college) with my younger sister, and we slept in a queen bed together. Seems way less typical now for kids to share a bed, but we’d make up dance routines and tell each other stories and generally have a great time…all when we were supposed to be sleeping. 🙂

Amanda

2. I’m not sure if mosquitoes are an issue for LA, but our pest control guy said that figs are a haven for mosquitoes because they’re so dense and shady. My kids have a giant fig tree in their yard at school and while it’s amazing and majestic, mosquitoes are so bad despite treatment! Also, I’m about as free-range as they come as a parent, but it’s glorious to be inside and able to glance out the window to the backyard and make sure the kids aren’t doing something insane or destructive!

3. My kids are 2.5 (girl) and 4.5 (boy) and we started having them share a room about a year ago. It’s awesome and they love it. Bedtime used to be such a struggle and now it’s so easy with them together. I’m actually considering switching to one big bed for the reasons you mentioned — we’d have so much more snuggle space, and my daughter falls asleep in my son’s bed nightly anyway! And we use our third bedroom as a playroom so no toys in their rooms, no toys around the house. It’s awesome.

Janet

I would also add, do the figs drop and make a mess of the courtyard?

Nancy

What a beautiful house! So-IMO. If you can try to fix the floors I would fix them. I have seen the guys on “This Old House” do some fixing to save the floors. Maybe they replaced some boards in the basement and/or used very small screws to get the squeaking under control. Seems like a lot less work. The tree. I love shade too, but I also liked to see my kids. Is it possible to remove the tree and plant it with a mid sized tree that only grows to about 20-30 feet tall? This would provide some shade to the patio but not be a towering thing in your yard. Keeping the canopy higher always helps too. Kids sharing. I have a 16 yo boy and 14 yo girl. IMO let them share a room for sure and if you think it is fun, let them share a bed too!! If they get tired of the queen bed, you can replace it with two twins, and when they get tired of the twins, you can move them to separate rooms. I think the bond that it could potentially create between the two of them will last a lifetime.… Read more »

mary

My votes:
1- Replace flooring. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t love old wood.
2- Remove tree. I’m a proud helicopter. Live kids with supervision rule. Free range is for chickens.
3- Separate bedrooms. Sharing didn’t make us close in my family.

Emily

1. Leave the creak. It’s what makes old homes so wonderful.
2. Leave the tree. Shade is so desirable, as are mature trees.
3. I’m a firm believer of kids sharing a room. And if you want to try one bed, why not? If it doesn’t work you can always go to two.

Anna

1.)I don’t think the creaking would bother me that much, of course I don’t know how bad it is. I would probably refinish, but I’m also cheap so maybe don’t listen to me. 2.) My kids are 7, 5, and 2 and I love being able to see them play in the backyard from inside the house. I like to be able to keep tabs on them and make sure they aren’t getting in too much mischief. I would see about trimming the tree. Re: shade, I have two big trees in my backyard that provide almost too much shade. The back of the house is pretty dark all summer (when they have their leaves), and it’s nice because it keeps things cool, it’s also kind of depressing. Of course it’s nice having the shade when we’re actually outside. 3.) My two oldest (boy and girl) shared a room for about a year. It worked well, but they didn’t fight much at that age. Now they bicker like crazy and it’s nice for them to have their own spaces so they can escape from each other. I would not do a big bed because again, fighting. Growing up I had… Read more »

Sarah Z

I grew up in a house with creaky floors and then later my first condo was in a building built in 1850 and had VERY creaky uneven floors. Neither situation bothered me or even came onto my radar UNTIL I had a baby. Then I absolutely loathed the creaky floors. And the doors that don’t close well. I can’t tell from the pictures but are there creaky stairs near the bedroom? Or creaky floors in the hallway outside the bedroom? Fix ’em. Your kids will hear you going downstairs in the morning, and if they are at all like mine, will know its time to wake up and perhaps cry out, when you could instead be taking 10 minutes for some coffee while they continue to snooze. We just moved into a newish construction home and OMG, the silent stairs. Glorious. But if it is elsewhere in the house away from sleeping babes, don’t worry about it. You will never hear it. As for the other two questions, I’d say maybe leave fig tree until you move in and find out if it will be a problem or not. It seems like something that can be taken care of even… Read more »

Last month we moved my son (3.5) and daughter (2) into the same room. They each are in a twin bed and we/they love it. Routine was a little harder at first but it’s so fun for me to listen from the hallway talking to eachother before they fall asleep. That was the whole reason I wanted them to share. I grew up sharing a room with my sister until I was a Junior in high school! You learn a lot from sharing spaces. I say go for it, at least while your children are willing to share.

Shelly

Loving your new house so much!! Super excited to see what you do! I live in a really old house, 130 years old-the creaking floors don’t bother me. I agree with just trim the tree first and see how that seems. I’ve got three kids, a boy (8) and two girls (6&4) and they all three share a room and love it. We have enough bedrooms for them each to have their own but I like them all together and they do too. As for one big bed? Depends on your kids. When my girls have shared at bed at hotels or at grandmas, there’s always fighting over who is using too much of the blankets and whose feet are on whose side of the bed. They eventually fall asleep and it’s adorable, but also ugh!

Jen

We have 3 kids (3.5, 5, and 14) and they all have separate rooms and full sized beds. The decision to go with a full sized bed (or larger in your case) was absolutely the best one we made in reference to their rooms. There’s enough for both little ones and a parent (or two if you squeeze!) to snuggle up for book every night. Its one of my very favorite times we share together. Giving the two youngest separate rooms is debatable. At least 20% of the time they end up sleeping in the same bed anyway BUT they really do keep each other up longer. Sometimes when they are starting to quarrel a little I will ask them to go play in their own rooms for a while so they get some space before things escalate and I am a big believer in prevention when it comes to sibling relationships. You have enough space that you can separate them in areas other than bedrooms so the issue probably boils down to how well they sleep. If they both seem to fall asleep easily I say go for one big bed! It’s really so fun to check in on… Read more »

Frania

Some tough decisions there! I can only comment on the last one.. We had 3 sharing a room until we found a bigger place – 3yo and younger siblings. I could only recommend it if you are prepared to deal with the bedtime shenanigans. The two younger ones still share and unless they’re ready to fall asleep they can be up playing and jumping about and annoying each other for an hour or more after lights out.

Mary

Here are my thoughts:
1) replace flooring. Sad but seems like it’s too far gone to be satisfactory
2) prune and keep tree. You can always remove it down the road but you can’t get it back once it’s gone. Shade and division of spaces are wonderful things.
3) separate rooms. You’re likely going to do it in a few years, so why set your home in a way that won’t grow with you?
4) you didn’t really ask but… I say paint beans and all woodwork in living room the same color-dark brown or gray or black. Don’t toke fireplace-it’s elegant in its simplicity esp. with the woodwork painted the same color. And I think I would get rid of the bookshelves. Can’t believe I’m saying that but they’re not really functional and I think the room is kind of busy even empty. I know you’ll fill it with great things and lots of pattern so this area would look good simplified.
Good luck!

Mary

Yeah, didn’t mean “toke the fireplace”-that wouldn’t be fun… “Don’t TILE” was what I meant 🙂

yasmara

Deal with the floors before you move in. Have your contractor spec out replacement vs refurbishment. They look like strip oak to me, not really that special. Floors are so foundational to a house and such a pain to do later.

Keep the tree & prune it. You can always remove it later!

Share a room, but separate beds. They may not want to share a room forever. I have 1 kid who wanted to share forever and 1 kid who adamantly did NOT want to share (2 boys, 19 months apart). In our 2nd house, we put them in separate rooms for the sake of getting along. You can always separate them later if it’s a problem, but as others said, separate beds are good.

Kelly

I love this house!! No opinion here about the floors or the tree, but when it comes to the kids sharing rooms, we’ve done a flexible scenario where the kids have separate rooms, but one of them can serve as a (quite comfortable!) guest room when needed. In my experience, having very small kids share rooms isn’t as much of the bonding experience you’d imagine; that kind of giggling with flashlights happens later (maybe in your next home?). I’d give the kids separate rooms and create several flexible spaces! If Ellie has a daybed in her room and Charlie wants to sleep in there, he can! If Charlie has a bigger bed and Ellie wants to sleep in with him, she can!

1) The house is lovely. I love the courtyard. As one who is easily annoyed by creaks and squeaks, I’d say replace the floors.
2) I like your idea of meeting an arborist. I would try to save the tree.
3) While I understand the cozyness of a queen, I would likely go with twins or separate rooms.
Your ideas are fabulous. Extending the bookshelves higher around fireplace would be very dramatic. Best wishes and congrats on the new house.

Elizabeth

Keep the tree! My kids are 6, 4, and 2. While I like to keep a close eye on the 2 year old, the 4 and 6 year olds wouldn’t have half as much fun if our yard didn’t have a sense of independence. It might be a little annoying for a year or two but then you can’t get it back! Trimming would be a great option. Could you live there for a while before you make a tree decision?

Sharing a room is great, especially with a house move. My daughter (6) wanted to stop sharing with her brother (4) when she was about 5 but they still have sleepovers sometimes :). Another option is to skip a toddler bed and go straight to a single bed. You could go for bunk beds or even the kind that can have a double bed on the bottom, best of both worlds.

Elizabeth

Our home is 76 years old. Original floors. I cannot imagine ripping out the floors and replacing them, personally. When we refinished them, our contractor tighten nails, checked boards, and for two years, we had very little sound. Now three years later, our floors make some noise but I think it just goes with the old home. Also, your home has no furnishings right now so the the floor noise bounces off the walls. Once you have rugs, drapes, furniture, it will be quieter. I would resist the advice from your contractor. Old floors rule!

Claire

Agreed on keeping the floors! We have a 17 month old and some seriously creaky 90+ year old floors, but we had to carpet our stairs and landing (wooden stairs that a few people slipped on, once we were carrying the baby up and down we knew we didn’t have choice). The carpet plus pad muffles a lot of the creaking, I don’t think it is any louder than any other sounds of moving around. In our house, you might as well be unloading the dishwasher in the baby’s room, for some reason the sound seems to bounce right up the stairs, so it is impossible to control for everything! They learn to sleep through it, if they are sharing a room they won’t have a perfectly quiet environment anyway.

My sister and I shared a room until she was about 12, I was 9 – our room until that age was just for sleeping/ reading. Homework was done in the kitchen, toys were all in the playroom so the bedroom was a quiet space, whereas everything else was communal space.

Erin

I’d replace the wood floors for something amazing.

I’d try to see if the tree can be trimmed.

and lastly i think it’s fine if the kids share a room until they say otherwise. I remember sharing a room with my sisters until i was 10. and then we were ready. My sister’s boy and girl shared a room until i think he was 9 or 10. and she was 7 or 8. so no big deal in either of those situations!

Ashley

I would live in the house a bit before you decide on the fig tree. Also, my two boys share a room by choice even though they have separate rooms. It strengthens their bond and makes bedtime fun! I think you can put them together now, because being able to put themselves to sleep despite distractions is a great skill to teach them. They will get used to it quickly.

August

We’ve lived in apartments in houses ranging from 15 -110 years old, nearly all of which have creaky floors. The noise doesn’t bother us if it’s on the first floor, but second floor creaks and groans can be a nuisance to whomever is down below. If there aren’t other issues, maybe refinish the first floor and redo the upstairs rather than lose all the old wood.

Looking forward to what you do with the place, and how you marry your modern sensibilities with this traditional gem.

Jess

1. I grew up with freaky flooring and it was a sound of cozy comfort to me. 🙂 To hear my parents on the move and all that. Good memories. But, I don’t feel so strongly about it that’d I’d not get rid of it. 50/50 on that. 2. DEFINITELY trim the lower canopy. Definitely do not cut down a perfectly good, aged tree. Unless there’s potential for damage to your home KEEP IT. You’ll only need to be diligent with watching kids close for a short period of time in the whole scheme. Once they’re 6+ they will be FINE in your yard put of site. Think if the fun adventures they can have with a big tree back there. Almost as good as having a creek! 100/0 on that. 3. My boy/girl shared a room until he was 5 and she was 7. (Our third kid, the baby, had the nursery) Twin beds, hands down. Queen is too awful with the “he’s touching me! She’s breathing on me!” I especially think with diff gender it’d be important to keep the separate. We loved them sharing. They shared until around the time they stopped bathing together…don’t remember the age,… Read more »

Jess

Oh gosh! The typos. I have poor thumb typing skills. Freaking floors…creaking floors…sharing of the tub…etc etc etc

Em

Interesting to not want to see the kids in the garden but want the kids to share a bed? I am not sure what is meant by “helicoptering parenting” here? Choice of bed the question is for you to answer based on your lifestyle. But, shared rooms at your kids’ age is great. Though, in my experience, it’s hard to figure out when to split the kids up. My boys share: the nine year old wants his own room but my six year old doesn’t want to be on his own yet. Meanwhile my three year old loves being in her own room (but she has never known anything else). I recall that I shared a room with my younger brother until I got my period, and my brother got nosy about my feminine products and bras. For the tree, I guess as a designer you want to do big things at once but I think you may want to live with it and see. Floors need to go. They don’t look good. In Belgium where I live, floors of that quality would be removed and new floors laid, most likely a wide plank oak. Fixing creaky floors can be… Read more »

I’ve got four kiddos—the oldest being 8 and the youngest is 6 months. In regards to the tree: keep it big! I know it seems like you need to keep an eagle eye on them in yard, but they get big/old FAST and as long as you can HEAR them, you’re golden. We have a huge yard, and I like to send them out to play while I do dishes/fold laundry… The reality of me sitting and watching ALL their play is not likely. BUT! If I keep my windows open, I can hear anything. Hold off on the tree trimming and see how you LIVE in the house. If you decide it really IS too hard with all the foliage, then you can always trim it down later. In regards to sharing rooms, we have two extra bedrooms bc I like my kids sharing a room. They love it too. In fact, often times my three oldest all sleep in the same room bc they have so much fun together. They don’t fight nearly as much as they do in day bc toy wise, we only allow three stuffed animals and books in their bedrooms. Have them share. We’ve… Read more »

PS we’ve loved doing twin beds. It’s nice to have their own “space” in shared room. To switch it up, sometimes times the three big kids sneak into guest room and love sleeping on the queen bed together. Good luck! These things always take so much thought. See what works best for YOUR family and go for it! Can’t wait to follow your journey!

Courtney

1. Not sure, either. IMO, can’t really go wrong either way.
2. KEEP TREE> 100%. But, trim away what is needed to obtain a clear view from living room and porch.
3. SHARE ROOM (while they are young, like you said). As for sharing bed? In my experience, my son wakes up the second someone sleeping with him moves; he sleeps way better alone. So, I think it depends how your kiddos sleep. A good idea might be a bunk bed for sleeping, and then include your sweet girl’s day bed in the room for reading, snuggles, and family naps like you envision/dream of!

Whitney

Oo what good questions! Let’s see, my vote would be:

1.) Replace flooring due to creaking or refinish? Replace the flooring with wide planks. Would be so pretty! Plus the creaking will end up being annoying eventually, and you don’t want to have to deal with that while you’re living in the house.

2.) Remove tree, trim, or keep? I vote that you keep it for now, live with it a bit, and see how you like it. You can always change your mind later!

3.) Have kids share a room or each get their own?? I say share, but with twin beds. Better sleep for everyone involved, and a super cute room setup!

Elisabeth

I’m so excited for you and your family! I loved your last house, but this one has the potential to be even better. Even though MCM is popular (and I enjoy the style) there is something cozy and wonderful about even older homes. My family and I live in Minneapolis and I can’t wait to get my hands on a bungalow! We’re hoping to buy this spring and so I’m excited to watch your renovation process. Since you asked… Here’s my two cents 🙂 1. Floor – no idea. I love old floors, but it would probably be easier to replace it now if you’re going to do it at some point. 2. Tree – keep it if you can! Shade is a precious commodity, as are trees when you’re a kid. We used to play in the woods behind our house. Although my mom has since admitted that sometimes she would get completely stressed out because she couldn’t see or hear us when we went on an adventure, she said she knew the value of independent exploration was important. And we were totally, totally fine. I’m hoping that my daughter has the same kind of space I had. 3.… Read more »

Elisabeth

I should clarify – the h.s. kids have a bunk bed… in case that was unclear! 🙂

SarahN

Only have experience with #3. My girl/boy are 4 and 2; both went into real beds about 18 months. We have tried to sleep them in the same bed–at home, at hotels, visiting family–and have yet to be successful. They just bug each other. Someone kicks. Someone throws another’s blanket out. They want to share the same bed at home, it just hasn’t worked. But we’ve had really good experiences with two beds in the same room–especially if we put the 2yo down about 20-30 minutes before the 4yo. That said, this is only for night sleep. Naps MUST be separate or no one does it. We usually put the 4yo in our room for her nap/rest time. My nieces–also 4/2–share a full bed and do wonderfully.

Myrna

2) leave the tree just trim. I lost 2 trees due to extreme weather and they gave so much shade and I miss them terribly!!!! Live with it at first, I have kids and I can’t always see them playing out in the yard but I can hear them and know they are ok. 3) I shared a room with my brother, he’s room was the farthest and was always scared, were 6 years apart and just the 2 of us. By parents were ok when I asked one night if he can sleep with me (I had a queen size) and they were. We shared a room and bed for ablong time, I believe he was 10 and I had no problems with it. He was my little brother and I saw it nothing more than taking care of him when he needed me. So I have no problem on sharing a bed and now my kids also share a room and we had a spare bedroom but decided that sharing was best, they are 18 and 14 now and have never fought or complained about it and we ( brother and me) are close, now I see it… Read more »

Emily

1. If the creaking doesn’t bother you I wouldn’t worry about it. I would try refinishing the floors instead of replacing. (our old house had squeaky floors, and I kinda of miss them! I could always hear my husband coming down the hallway – the floors squeaked a certain way underneath his feet).
2. Definitely trim the tree, don’t get rid of it. The shade it provides is irreplaceable. I wouldn’t worry about not being able to see the kids – often keeping an ear out for them is enough, or you’ll be outside with them. And before you know it they’ll be old enough that you don’t have to watch them all the time.
3. I would have them share a room, at least until they don’t want to anymore. Not sure about sharing a bed, though, I don’t have any experience with that.

Megan

LOVE seeing these photos of the house! I wanted to chime in on the idea of your kids sharing a room. Our boys (21 months apart – now 4 and 2.5) have shared a room since my youngest was 10 months old, more out of necessity than a desire to do so (we just have two bedrooms). While it has bonded them so much, if I had the choice of separate rooms, I’d probably separate them. I’ve always been pretty regimented about sleep for them, and sharing a room definitely shakes up a few things. They have pretty similar bedtimes, but if we put them down at the same time, they wind each other up and it just takes them longer to fall asleep. And every few weeks, one of them will randomly start waking up super early and ultimately wake up the other, so it takes a few days to get them back on track. I’d definitely say if you have the option to do a larger bed in Charlie’s room, do that so they can bunk up when they want to, but still have the option for separation. I might’ve had massive jealousy pangs reading everyone’s lovely comments… Read more »

Amy

1.) Replace flooring due to creaking or refinish?
I would take up a few board to take a look at the supports, before making that call. If the supports are in trouble, go from there.

2.) Remove tree, trim, or keep?
Trim all of the trees appropriately, but do not remove.

3.) Have kids share a room or each get their own??
If you value your sleep and your own bedroom at all, have them in their own rooms. Because even though they are sleeping through the night, all it will take is a sickness on one child, or nightmare, to disrupt the other, and a pattern will emerge. Keeping them separate will make it so much easier on you and your husband to control the chaos erupting. If not, he will wake when she wakes. She will wake, and he will wake and so on. Besides the 3 years in a shared room, really isn’t that convenient in the long run. You’ll waste money decorating a room, that won’t really stay the same in the long run.

Jody

1. If your floors creak upstairs, it might wake the kids. If you are investing a lot in this house, I feel like you need toget the foundation part right. If the floors are more than cosmetic problem, I would replace them.
2. I would canopy up the tree and wait a year or two. You can’t I replace a tree that size and shade will be a reason your kids STAY out there and not complain it’s toooo hot.
3. My boys share a room. I would advise against at the age your kids are right now. Your precious sleep training will go down the tubes. Sleep is king. When they are both out of cribs then reevaluate the situation.
Just my 2 cents! I love love love your house!!!!

Natalie

My parents own a very old home with the original oak floors. Although they are beautiful, and it was a good gesture to keep them, they sound terrible! They squeak, creak, snap and pop with every step! It gets old (HA). And think of your babies…. do you have any light sleepers in the house? Do you really want to be tiptoeing around the house at nap time and bedtime for fear of waking someone up? Take my word for it….. it’s totally not worth it! You have access to stunning floors, get new ones throughout your house. Your home already has so much original character, and you are so good at mixing things up! I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

Hello Emily 🙂

Congratulations on your new home! I have two girls 2 years apart that shared a room when they were young but around 6,7,8 years old I could tell they needed their own spaces, but we left the two twin beds in my younger daughters room (or you could do the queen) just in case they wanted to sleep together in the same room when they wanted to (and they did) …also handy for sleepovers with friends which comes up quicker than you think. Butttt I always think it is best to do what works for your family at any given time, always fun and easy to switch it up!

Danielle

My house is almost 100 years old and has original wood floors everywhere. They’re in decent condition thanks to having been refinished by the last home owners. They creak. They squeak. That said, it gives so much more charm to the house than you can ever imagine. Seriously. They’re not even that great and people compliment them all the time. I personally cry a little every time a home reno show rips out the floors. So sad.

Trim the tree, it probably needs it anyways.

Room sharing is great! As long as both kids like to do so and don’t bother each other sleeping. Around age 4 or 5, they’ll start to play in their rooms more, so you probably have a couple of years! I did share a bed with my sister and hated it, but we had bunk beds later on and that was ok!

Katy

1.) replace flooring – I love the original look, but functionally, it is going to need to be replaced at some point soonish so might as well do it before yore actually living there.

2.) keep the tree! Trim it maybe, but keep for sure. You won’t need to watch your kids so closely forever.

3.) share a room! Maybe have a full/queen size bed and a twin so they can have options for both b

Christine

1. We have an old house with hardwood. It’s not that creaky but noticeably slopes in the hallway and is super scuffed in the kitchen. We have all unpainted trim which complements the floor so we kept as is.

2. Maybe trim the tree now and wait until kids are a little older to remove if it’s a problem.

3. I can’t imagine my 3 year old son sharing a bed with his 9 month sister in the future, mainly because he kicks and gets overestimated when he is in our bed. Realistically if they only share until 7 and 5 years, that’s probably only 1 or 2 years of sharing a queen. My son has been in his twin for 6 months but he still ends up in weird positions and we have a rail cause he has fallen out. I also think it would be better if a shared bed was something they chose for themselves rather than decided for them. Is your son going to want to share with his sister when she gets old enough?

I would say keep the floors. If it didn’t bother you before, it probably won’t later. It’s only an issue if you have an infant that is a really light sleeper. We live in a house built in 1879 and my parents said the same thing but it doesn’t bother us. And I think rugs help a lot. Also, I like the twin bed idea. I think my kids would have a party every night though if they slept in the same room. But maybe that would be fun?

Other items: keep shelves in LR but put some fun art above them? Black trim! – love love love.

Please let me know if you need any hardware! Brady is on this, I know, but I would love to see some of our designs in your new place. Can’t wait to see where you take this!

shelly

1.) refinish flooring

2.) lightly trim tree

3.) each get their own room

patty blaettler

My boys are 2 years apart. The little one was SUCH a trial to get to bed at night! When we moved him in with his brother it was perfectly peaceful…
I’d say definitely 2 beds though, pee and puke happens…
p.s. When I was small there were 5 of us in a small bedroom, 2 bunk beds and a crib. Beat that!

Julie

This is the first time I’ve ever commented, but I can directly relate to #1. We bought a 100 year-old arts and crafts style home 3 years ago, and it needed new floors throughout the first floor. The home had had a fire many years ago, and in the extensive renovations, the previous owners chose not to replace the hardwoods and instead went with wall-to-wall carpet, which needed to come out regardless. To keep with the style of the home, we decided to replace the entire first floor with new hardwood (not engineered or prefinished). I have never regretted it. It has modernized our home while maintaining the style. Like your home, ours has white walls throughout and dark woodwork, so we decided to go with an unstained 3.25″ white oak, which is wider than what was traditionally installed in homes of that era, but we felt it was a little more modern and easier to maintain/clean. (We also have a very matte finish – no gloss, which we love). The light floors did wonders to brighten up our house, so that we could keep the dark trim without feeling like we are in a dungeon. What we do regret,… Read more »

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