What’s wrong with the upstairs?

Nothing, really.

But there are two kids up there and they are getting older. Yes, it’s cute to hear them sleepwalk all the way down the stairway that is behind the wall behind our headboard and then see them, zombie-like, go into the bathroom in the middle of the night, and they don’t complain, but maybe we need another bathroom.

The son is six, the daughter is seven. Sometimes the bathroom is occupied and we have some minor emergencies.

Dave the Father-in-Law likes to remind us that one bathroom is plenty. My Dad believes that one bathroom per floor is a reasonable luxury. Guess who I agree with. I guess blood is thicker than…you know.

Here are Annabel’s drawings of the top floor as it was built in 1926:

As-is upstairs A very cute (but a little narrow) staircase takes you up to a small landing with a chimney and the doors to two bedrooms. Daughter’s bedroom is straight ahead and Son’s is on the right. Son has the stairwell bending his room out of shape a bit. The ceilings are sloped on both sides and the ceiling height at its best is not that great.

I hope I can find the concept sketch I did before Annabel got involved. It’s hilarious.

When we started considering making a comprehensive plan for the house, we knew that a bathroom with a shower up here would be great. Leanne loved the idea of a guest room which could be a neutral playroom for the kids, as well. The Father-in-Law thought we needed a third bedroom for our third child. Not going to happen–sorry, Grandpa!As-built upstairs section

Foreshadowing: you can start to see the challenges to making this top floor energy efficient. The sloped roof sections only allow for that much insulation to be stuffed in there.

Oops, that’s a definite flaw–energy efficiency. Another flaw is the closets suffer under the low sloped ceilings and they are awkward shapes. These are minor problems compared with the non-existent bathroom.

When I see newly constructed houses with their six or nine bathrooms, I really wonder whether home buyers are really demanding them. I suspect the builders, developers, banks and real estate agents are up-selling huge houses that occupy the maximum allowable space on their lots to people who are never going to need so much space.

And what was there before that “monster house” was built? Was it trees? Was it an older home with a smaller footprint and mature plants and trees surrounding it?

All that being said, however, I am against suffering. “Suffering is optional.” I think it was our life coach, Christine Sirett, who told us that.

If you are spending a lot of your time feeling uncomfortable in your home, I think you should change it. It may have suffered under several “band-aid” solutions in the past, but you can be the one to give it the TLC it deserves and rescue all that energy and resources that have gone into it so far.

Life is too short to live in someone else’s house while you wait to be able to afford to buy your “dream house.”

Is it easy? No.

And you know what? It should be easier. And that’s what this blog is about.



Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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