In some homes, kids get their own custom wings

Parents create secret passageways, a karaoke lounge, 'offices' for homework and other custom spaces to make their homes into the ideal hangout place.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 13, 2013 12:04PM

Teenage Boys Bedroom in the 2013 DC Design House (©John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)When I was a kid, my idea of a luxury bedroom was one that I did not have to share with my sisters, though I did do a little experimentation with changing the furniture placement and bedspreads. When I was a teenager, I even got my family's original black-and-white TV working again and dragged it into my room.


No one in my circle even dreamed of having his or her own DJ station, though some families did have "rumpus rooms" in the basement that were essentially hangouts for children and teens.


Even today, the $750,000 teen suite chronicled in a recent Wall Street Journal article is unusual. But, the WSJ says, more families are creating kid and teen hangouts to keep their progeny happy at home. Those custom kid spaces include everything from secret passageways to karaoke lounges to "offices" for doing homework.


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"I wanted their friends to want to hang out at our house," Melissa Kearney of Ormond Beach, Fla., told The WSJ. "I think that's what every parent wants." Her home includes secret passageways as well as a version of the closet from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in her daughter's room.

Decoist has lots of ideas for nice kids' rooms with a modern flair, many of which you could create without going into debt. Zillow also has an idea gallery. You can see a slide show of the spaces in the WSJ article here.

Parents and designers interviewed by the WSJ noted that the kid spaces are as much for the sanity of the adults in the home as they are for the young people. Creating separate hangout spaces for teens means more tranquility in the rest of the home. Plus, parents know where their kids are.

"This is an extraordinarily loving and conscientious generation of parents," Michael Thompson, an Arlington, Mass.-based psychologist and author, told the WSJ.


Jenn Doll at The Atlantic Wire quips: "I wonder if the old 'Jen's Room! Keep Out!' signs are officially defunct at this point — or if they now come with fingerprint recognition and eyeball scanners."


Fancy kid spaces do not add to the value of a home and may even detract. Analysts and appraisers suggested that when families create these spaces, they have a plan to turn them into guest quarters and in-law suites later on – or even spaces to house those grown children when they visit someday with their children.


May 18, 2013 7:20PM
I grew up with friends whose parents did it for us and  I know that it contributed in a good way to who we are today. 
May 18, 2013 12:49PM
Make the kids too comfortable and they may never leave.
May 18, 2013 12:03PM
We turned our "formal living room" into a playroom years ago.  It was done mainly because when my kids were little I didn't want them running up and down the stairs all day to their rooms and the toys were taking over the we put all the toys in the newly formed 'playroom'  over the yrs the toys have changed from barbie houses to Wiis and other games.we also have our piano and a desk computer in there.  Keeps the rest of the house clutter free and keeps them out in the open instead of up in their rooms with games.  When they leave..I'll turn it back into a formal living room or something more useful.
MSN loves posting stuff about liberal yuppy parents spoiling their brats who become vapid and self centered and expect everything handed to them.
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