Kids, You Sleep in the Closet

Posted by Dave Fratello on Monday, October 15th, 2007 at 5:43am.

Many kids in Manhattan Beach have it all.

Great weather, great schools, a largely uncrowded beach. And if their parents are buying in MB these days, they're coming from some kind of money.

With all that's good, there's a silent threat to kids in our town: Teeny, weeny bedrooms.

Kids who may seem to have it all are being asked to make do with closet-sized bedrooms in new construction all over the Tree Section. Three examples jump to mind:
  • 1821 Walnut (click for details; also, pictured), a newer 5br*/4ba, 3400 sq. ft. home priced at $2.75m, provides two sardine-can bedrooms with room for a twin-bed and dresser, and some pictures on the wall;
  • 2310 Palm, with 5br/3ba and 3150 sq. ft., is gorgeous and distinctive in many ways, but the three upstairs bedrooms for kids are all small, and one even features a useless balcony that fairly mocks the inadequate space inside; and
  • 1901 Poinsettia, the newest of this group, with 5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft., not only squeezes the kids, but two of the bedrooms are permanently dark, with northern exposures up against the neighboring 2-story home and trees.
Invariably, in listings that are staged, these substandard BR's are unfurnished. Sometimes you need to be thinking about how things will lay out to see the problem. Other times, the claustrophobia is palpable.

It's all enough to make you ask: What are we doing to the children?

The modern kid needs to do more than sleep in a bedroom. Room for a desk with a computer would be nice. Some bookcases, a toybox, a table with a fishtank – you might find any or all of these in a normal kid's room. But good luck squeezing more than a couple of these items into the BR's of speckies you'll find out there for $2m-$3m.

Obviously this is a conspiracy of architects, engineers and builders to give all the goodies to the masters of the house. That's who's paying. And in just enough cases, the buyers are going to overlook the fact that they're shortchanging their kids.

But it won't be long before these new homeowners learn that not every tiny bedroom makes for a good nursery or office. A kid has to live there. Why don't more of our local builders recognize that?


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* 1821 Walnut lists 5br, but don't believe it – one "bedroom" is an office-like space off the dining room that has no bathroom access. (Note: updated from original, which said no closet at all.)
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