Those days are long gone. All three bedrooms are used (two are doubled up). The office is now a nursery for childcare/respite. The play room is also the school room, full to bursting with books and posters, maps and bulletin boards. This house gets lived in 24/7, hard. It no longer feels empty. At times it feels as if we might split its seams and end up sprawled out across the lawn for all the neighborhood to see. Please mind you that I'm not complaining. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for all of it- not a day.
I'm always looking to better utilize our space. It's much more practical than fretting about it (I know because I've tried ;-)). A few months ago, my attention fell on our front hallway- the space between the front door and the front hall closet. When this house was built (and for many years after) there was a hallway that ran from the front door to the back door. When the owners decided they'd had enough of traipsing out to the outhouse to relieve themselves, they chose the center of that hallway to install their indoor plumbing. The front hall closet was also added- both additions now block off that front-to-back-of-the-house hallway.
Most recently, our play kitchen was housed in this spot. It was accessible to little visitors (and our girls who still play with it at times) but I needed more school space. During the winter months, Sam prefers to do his morning school downstairs because it's chilly upstairs. The living room (with the wood stove) though is right next to the school room where Sadie, Miriam and I are working. We can be a bit distracting and laying on the couch to do your handwriting doesn't quite cut it for me. I needed a space for him close to the stove room but further away from us girls...the front hall.
We had some repainting done and I stripped some floors upstairs. The steps are the last part of this project and I hope to get to them this spring. This explains why the steps are blue while nothing else is.
It's now back to it's original intended purpose and Sam has no excuse for why he can't do his math. I jokingly call it his office to which he always grins. So far, it's working very nicely for him.
The poster above the table is a Bible & World History Timeline and it's fascinating. It puts Biblical and world history side by side.