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House Swap or: the Large Family in an Average House

Our house is 2,900 square feet. A nice size house. No matter how you look at it however, it requires some creativity to fit eleven children ranging in age from 1-15 and two adults to fit into the four bedrooms. With different personalities and special needs it's a bit like that logic game: you have a goat, a wolf and chicken and they have to cross the river in a raft one at a time…or whatever.

We have had all six girls (five since Keziah left) into the master bedroom of our house. It's worked pretty well over the years, but recently we realized that Adalia and Tilly needed some privacy…after going over every possible (and impossible) room configuration, we began a four room swap that has consumed all of my waking hours for the past week.

{Please excuse the following iPhone photos…I've been far too busy to take real pictures}

We decided to give Adalia and Tilly our room. So we moved all of our belongings down to the playroom:


Then we (meaning Judah and Enoch of course) had to disassemble a set of bunk beds and reassemble them in the girls' new room.


Yes, I realize that is actually a photo of Enoch of Chuck.

Next came rearranging the furniture in the little girls' room.


Then came emptying Chuck's new office…and our new bedroom…this room happens to be 6.5 x 9 feet.

Yes, it's a wee bit small…so small we had to ditch our futon frame so Chuck could build a custom bedframe to accomodate our bed.

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And may I pause for a moment to brag about how brilliant my husband is? He had no plan- except for the one in his head…he designed, bought the materials and assembled this in one day…



It's cozy to be sure…I've affectionately dubbed it The Yellow Submarine…I am now debating between doing a Yellow Submarine theme in here…or painting it a robin's egg blue and going with the minimalist look…

And as a final step, I've been transforming our playroom into a Study Hall…

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This room is for my students ages 10 and up..a quiet place for them to study and do their schoolwork while the little one's hang out upstairs.

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This project is about 90% complete. We still need to set up a desk for Chuck and find a home for his office supplies…but so far it feels good.

And speaking of finding homes…I am purging my shelves of books and only keeping what actually fits in our space. This means my entryway if FULL of books free for the taking. Mostly kids books, all ones we love but no longer have room for. If you're interested in them (and local) send me an email.





  1. Emily G

    I agree with Jennifer-you and Chuck are truly generous parents. I think some flowy curtains would improve the look of your new room greatly. A big mirror on the wall would help, too. I hope you get some time to pretty it up a bit. Your bed frame looks really sturdy. I hate the metal one that came with our bed. It lets the mattress sag in the middle. I have to show these photos to my husband. 🙂

  2. Kris

    Well, I don’t think you can get more local than your next door neighbor :-). Our kiddos love books. Are these board books, chapter books, textbooks ???? Tyson is really into ‘factoid’ type books, esp. about dinosaurs, animals, insects, reptiles, etc. Sophie isn’t picky, but she’s hard on books (rips flaps off, breaks the spine, you name it — board books included!). Let me know. Congrats on the room swap — we still have boxes from our move we have yet to unpack (long story)! Is that our shed I spy in one of the photos?

  3. Margery

    What a great job, we just finished part one of our great move around, 4 rooms and part two is in the spring when our next one leaves for college, then it is 3 rooms to get moved around. The plus side is that you get to really clean a room when you have to move it.

  4. Marlina

    AHHH! I feel for you, with all that work! We’ve done that so many times over the years. Needs change, another person is added to the family, or moves….But it’s good to be flexible. 🙂 I love your little bedroom nook, it looks cozy. Make it just how you want it, and enjoy it! (I’m sure it’ll change before long again anyway!) I really love the built in bed. Your husband did an awesome job!

  5. Laura

    I agree with the first couple posts – I love your selfless style of parenting. I’m sure it’s not easy nor 100% of the time, but I love the heart for your kids that shines through! Blessings, Laura

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