Yours, Mine and Ours: A Beach House for Two Families
Tips for sharing a home
"As much as you think you're going to use a vacation house, you only use it half that time, so you might as well share half the expenses!" Judy Floodstrand says. Here, Judy and long-time friend Dawn McKenna offer their tips for sharing a seasonal getaway house with minimal drama.
Judy says: Set up a calendar. Every year in late winter, the couples sit down to divvy up the summer. Each family gets at least two weeks by themselves, but the families usually spend the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day together. "Having a calendar is as fair as you can be."
Dawn says: Share everything—except closets. The master bedroom features two separate moveable closet units, one for the McKennas and one for the Floodstrands.
Judy says: Split the chores. Dawn handles the design and decorating, and Judy pays the bills and keeps the house stocked. "We're both type-A personalities but in different ways."
Dawn says: Have an exit strategy. "If either of us wants to get out, the other couple has the option to buy them out at a certain price," she says. "And if they don't want to buy them out, we'd sell the house."
Judy says: Spend time together before buying. Not only did the couples know each other for years, but they'd also put in lots of quality time. "We've spent long days together on family outings and holidays."
Pictured: The beach is a quick, no-stairs-needed walk from the house.