The ABC's of common playrooms

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Much like good fences make good neighbors in the ‘burbs, playrooms make good neighbors in apartment buildings: They let kids be kids without driving anyone crazy.

This weekend’s NY Times real-estate section story on playrooms served up some helpful information for co-ops and condos interested in creating a VIP lounge for tots:

  • A barebones budget is $3,000 - $25,000, with padded floor material being one of the biggest-ticket items.  Fancy-pants playrooms—architecturally designed with custom-made structures—can run up to $300,000.
  • Some residents would rather use the space for storage or a gym, and those without kids may object to paying for a playroom. Try calling the space a “community room,” and charging a modest annual usage fee.
  • Guest limits, properly set and enforced, can keep the stay-at-home-parent-to-nanny ratio at a reasonable level.
  • To stop playrooms from becoming dumping grounds for outgrown toys, make a no-used-toys rule.

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