Monday, 20 May 2013

Magic Moments....#9

Good Morning one and all!! I trust you've a had excellent weekends?

I'd like to link up with The Oliver's Madhouse for the Magic Moments series once again. Here goes!

I'm sure I've shared the details of our living arrangements in vague terms before, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain our set up properly....

When Biscuit was fourteen months old we all moved to the little village that I'd grown up in. We rented a lovely little cottage right beside the church, about a five minute walk from my Mum, Dad and Brother. 

We'd lived there for about two years when my Dad asked us over for lunch as there was something he wanted to discuss. When we arrived that day he told us he'd woken up the night before with a grand plan that had come to him. It was an open secret that we would never be able to afford a mortgage on our household income and I know this pained my Dad. He firmly believes that renting is dead money. And in some respects I agree, but it never particularly bothered me. Certainly not to the same degree!!

My Dad told us that he had worked out that he could extend my parents home, then divide it up to create two separate (but joint) houses, one for them and one for us, if we would consider coming to live alongside them. 

This made sense in so many ways! We'd have more space, have an extra bedroom so could have another baby (hence the arrival of Wiggles a while later). We wouldn't be renting, we would be able to live in a house we would never be able to afford on our own and we'd have more security for our little family. We would be on hand to help out with caring for my older brother who has severe learning difficulties and will always live at home. We'd be company for my Mum during the week when my Dad often has to work away and in later years we'd be around to make sure they were ok.

What followed was my Dad drawing some very clever and detailed plans, submitting them to an architect to get them drawn up, Planning Permission refusal, some adjustments, Planning Permission acceptance! Finding the best builder in the world, a whole lotta rubble, packing up, moving out and moving in.   My Dad was very clever and utilised the existing buildings that they had, even turning the old garage into their new bedroom!  I am so proud of him for having such excellent vision.

This is our before picture, Mum & Dad's old garden and conservatory..

The conservatory down and most of the garden removed - although you can see where it used to be...

The garage - which became Mum & Dad's bedroom...
The new extension from the inside


Our lovely builders hard at work, and nearly there!

This is the final product from the garden, taken in 2012.  You can see the new extension on the right and the gararge that's now the bedroom at the bottom.  Oh yes, and Biscuit in her paddling pool!

We made a few adjustments here and there to make the place our own, but we've now lived this way for eighteen months now and it's great. It really works for us. Apparently living together as a family and pooling resources is is much more popular overseas than here in the UK, but with ground rules and common sense there's no reason that it it shouldn't work for others...

I love to see how close the girls are to their grandparents and Uncle and I feel really lucky to live the way we do.  And the live in babysitters are fantastic!!

I am so pleased that my Dad had this flash of inspiration that lead us to where we are today.  I suppose this was his Magic Moment really, but it really has changed our lives for the better and I love him for it.

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18 comments:

  1. Ah, what a lovely story and a brilliant dad. I also have an older (by 10 minutes) brother with learning difficulties and would love to do something like this when my dad pops his clogs so my brother can be close to me. xx

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    1. It's peace if mind isn't it? It gives us all real peace if mind to know that everything is set up for his future :)

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  2. Gosh Kate that's a FAB solution and living arrangement! I would like that for all your reasons :-) and now I see why you have a live in gardener!My best bit about it is therelationship between your daughters and their grandparents and uncle,I bet they will grow up really close xxxx

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    1. Thanks Jess! Yes, that's a really lovely plus point and funnily enough it wasn't one we considered before moving. It's so sweet though :)

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  3. What a lovely idea! I would truly love to have my parents so close at hand-- we do a great deal of hanging out with them as it is! Right now they are trying to sell their house to move closer & we can't wait! I wish we had the funds to do a similar set up-- so wonderful!

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    1. It's lovely that you get on with your folks so well! I'm glad I'm not the o my one who really enjoys my parents company!! Hope you get to live closer to one another soon xx

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  4. what a really fantastic idea! and such an amazing thing to have family on hand for all of you!

    Thanks so much Kate for sharing with #magicmoments xx

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  5. oh what a wonderful man your father sounds, such a great solution for everyone involved your family have a lovely secure home your parents have the help and company and get to be close and bound with ytheir grandchildren if only all families could work like that

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    1. I'm really proud that we make it work. We drive each other batty sometimes obviously! But mostly we all get all nicely :) Good old Pa!

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  6. That sounds like an amazing set-up, if you can make it work. Babysitters on tap, hurray! The house looks gorgeous, too. My friend lives in a small cottage at the bottom of her parents' garden, and she finds it to be the perfect arrangement.

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    1. Perfect!! I think it could well be the way forward!

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  7. This is such a lovely story! So brilliant of your Dad to come up with idea and draw up all the plans!
    x x x

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    1. Thank you Lauren! He's a clever old chap!!

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  8. What a great story. I would love this situation, my parents live overseas and I hardly see them. I couldn't imagine what it's like having them next door - you are truly lucky, especially as you are close to them. What I think is really lovely though, is that your kids are growing up with their grandparents right there next to them. xx

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    1. Thank you Xandi. It must be tough hardly seeing your folks, I feel for you. I do love having mine around :)

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