Since we have re-arranged the rooms in this house it has transformed the way I feel about it. For many years now - probably since Leo was toddling - we'd been battling with the house. We were forever swapping bedrooms, decorating and moving furniture, in an attempt to make the space work. It never did. Now it does. The vital changes are:
A big enough bedroom for each child to be happy spending some time there enjoying their own company and spreading out their stuff without everyone else falling over it. This is especially useful when people are not in the best of moods.
TVs in those bedrooms! I know this is meant to be the cardinal sin in the book of modern parenting but, not surprisingly really, the kids don't actually spend their whole lives in there glued to the box. They choose to watch in their rooms if they want to be alone or if no-one else wants to watch what they're watching. It means that I can happily say that I don't want Mortified or Basil Brush on in the living room and they will go away and watch elsewhere.
Our living room and kitchen are part of the same big space. This means that the person cooking or washing-up isn't banished from the place where everyone else is chatting, or just being.
The kitchen has enough worktops to cool scones, make tea. and stack the dirty trays etc. - all at the same time. You can put out four plates and serve up on to them, while the chopping board is still sitting there too! This will be hard for you to understand unless you've lived with one small worktop and a family of four. It is liberating.
The living space is cosy in the evenings as the TV, PC and tea making facilities are all in the one room. Oh, and the sofa is there too so I can fall asleep in front of a late film while D's typing away.
Pearlie having her own shower is great too. She wakes in her own space, watches a bit of TV, maybe does something else for a bit, and then can shower and dress right there - a civilised start to the day.
One of our chief causes of rows used to be arguing over bathroom access in the evening, when people always seemed to want to brush their teeth at the same exact moment. Now people can do that in two different bathrooms! Hooray!
Dani and I are back on the top floor to sleep, which feels much better than the basement. I like to see the starry sky before I sleep, and wonder what people are doing in the flats behind our house.
All in all it feels like a Christmas present I'll enjoy for years to come.