Thursday, September 5, 2013

A guest suite - and windows are a must

TLOML was in LA at the weekend and did a little neighbourhood surfing, on our behalf. We're pretty sure we want to live in Manhattan Beach, but if we also really want decent space for guests, we may need to look at Hermosa Beach, the next suburb south.

The thing is, I really really really want decent space for guests. If you live on the other side of the world (okay, not quite, but feels that way sometimes) you need to make it easy for friends and family to stay for as long as they possibly can. Which means a good, spacious, reasonably private guest room.

This was the argument I made when I first moved in with TLOML. His Beverly Hills apartment had a mezzanine floor he used as home office and guest space. But, being a mezzanine, it was open to the living space. Which meant no privacy, not really. So when we started flat hunting for something by the beach, I insisted on a separate guest room with its own door. Oh, and a window too.

A window is worth stipulating because there are a surprising number of apartments for rent in Santa Monica which have a windowless second room. The lack of windows means it can't be properly marketed as a bedroom, and the apartments are therefore much cheaper than other actual two bedroom places. Goodness what people use these second rooms for - perhaps a home gym, or an office with no view to distract. But surely no-one can sleep in a room without a window?

I stuck to my guns and we ended up with our lovely, scruffy, surfy apartment over the water - with two bedrooms, both of which had a window. We only had one bathroom, which meant the potential for shower queues whenever we had guests. Still, at least they could sit on their bed and look out of their window while they waited.

We took a step back in Manhattan where a second bedroom is just an insane luxury, but once we moved into Fox Corner I felt we'd really nailed our guest accomodation. Two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Then Lady P came along and suddenly that second bedroom got all filled up with baby clobber. In our little house in Saltburn we have at least part of the dream - three bedrooms.

But only one bathroom. Thanks to Lady P I have to snatch my shower in a precise ten minute window, which may emerge at any time between 7 and 10am. I don't have time to queue. I also hate having to wait to get a hair bobble, or contact lenses, while a guest uses the bathroom. Say if I've got 20 minutes to go for a quick run. I have to choose between running with glasses on and loose hair, or trimming my run back. Annoying. And probably annoying for the guest too, to hear me pacing on the landing while they go about their ablutions. The bathroom squeeze is further exacerbated if the guests have kids - suddenly there's a bathtime queue in the evening, as well as the grown up shower queue in the morning. The prospect of this makes me so tense (Lady P's bathtime is the highlight of her day, but must be timed just to avoid a splashy meltdown) that friends with kids who've visited us here have been asked to stay, um, elsewhere.

I'd like to be more hospitable when we settle back into LA. So I'm insisting on a house with that crucial third bedroom. With its own door and window. And at least two bathrooms. Ideally, I'd like the guest room to have its own little sitting room or nook attached, so friends with kids can put them to sleep nearby. And wouldn't it be nice if it had its own entrance, so they could come and go as they please?

Basically in addition to our family home, I'd like a guest house.

This is Leonardo Di Caprio's house in Malibu. It has two detached guest houses. What?! A girl can dream, can't she? Plus, I figure if I set my sights this high - we'll at least land on a guest room with windows.

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