Skip Nav
An Open Letter to Anyone Whose Parents Are Getting Divorced
This Dad's Viral Disney Photo Captures How Magical Coparenting Can Be
Even If You Think You've Read Every Open Letter to Mom-Shamers, This One Is Too Important to Skip

Are These Teen Lounges Over the Top?

Luxury Home Renovations Keep Kids Safe at Home

Would you invest in an at-home DJ mixing studio for your kids? As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, parents are increasingly pouring thousands of dollars into home renovations that include special features for teens and tweens. The goal is to encourage kids to spend less time on electronic gadgets and more time at home where there is some supervision — thus keeping them out of trouble, parents say.

For instance, design and construction advisor Chris Pollack recently completed a $750,000 renovation on a Manhattan townhouse that included a 1,000-square-foot teen suite with ping-pong and billiards tables, a recording studio, a kitchen, and a theater for movies and video games. He has also designed several security camera-equipped homework rooms, "so parents can keep an eye on computer usage.” Similarly, Linda and John O'Hara have equipped the 1,000-square-foot guest wing of their St. Louis home with 16 beds to accommodate teen sleepovers.

Although these renovations may sound extravagant, the parents who are springing for them argue that the features are a sound investment. Not only do they provide peace of mind, they are often easily converted back into an adult space once the child leaves the nest.


"[Teens and tweens] just needed their place to hang out and be kids," says Lee Lovely, who built a comic book-inspired lounge for his two sons. "And the adults probably need the space and tranquility as much as they do."

Source: Wall Street Journal

Join The Conversation
ChetMC ChetMC 4 years
This is less about what kids really need and more about the insecurity of parents. Better kids learn to take healthy risks, assume responsibility and make wise choices. An excellent read is "Too Safe for Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive" by Michael Ungar.
KristinaPayne41804 KristinaPayne41804 4 years
We did something similar at our home (no where near that price range). We have a Rec Room in the basement set up with a pool table, tv, fridge. The backyard has a fire pit, and enlarged Jenga game, basketball hoop, during summer we spray the Twister in the grass. I know where my kids are every weekend, I know what they are doing, I know who their friends are. We have given the kids a safe place to hang out and keeps them out of trouble.
NicolaMartin24659 NicolaMartin24659 4 years
Angela read my post after that, when i apologised. I'm not writing further as your obviously wanting an argument. And I don't do that.
AngelaSuschena AngelaSuschena 4 years
I wasn't being rude. You specifically equated "naughty" typical adolescent behavior with actions that warrant police involvement. So they have 16 beds. Ever had a son in Boy Scouts? They could have their entire group over for a sleepover, and the entire point of the cameras is to monitor for safety and improper behavior. Kids who are having a sleepover at a house where they know there is constant monitoring are not going to be popping out the vodka and marijuana. It's the point of the article- a safe, fun place that allows kids to stay at home and still have fun. I find it amusing that you accuse me of being rude after you called the parents in question "lazy". There's nothing rude about telling you that criminal behavior should not be considered typical, and should not being brushed off by any adult as simply "naughty" or :kids being kids". You call me rude for stating MY concern that you, as an adult, could call illegal or dangerous behavior "naughty", then in the same breath say that you're simply stating your own concerns and calling the parents lazy. These teen suites don't really classify as the old "parents are out, quick let's have a party!" scenario. They're monitored, in the same house as the parents. I have young children and a teenager. I expect my children to abide by the law and my house rules. I also trust my children. We have open discourse about things that some people accept as typical teen behavior, and they understand why there is a line they do not cross in their adventures. The room is still just a room. The responsibility for what goes on in it is the parents. But I don't worry about sending my kids to a house with security cameras because I don't worry that my kids are going to break the law- especially on camera.
NicolaMartin24659 NicolaMartin24659 4 years
Oh AngrlaSuschena, it was an example of how things could go wrong as they often do in a big group or party situation. And with 16 beds, it implies that kids stay. That was a very rude comment and I was merely giving my concern as a responsible parent from the outside perspective. Ask any high school on teen drinking, drug use, and Internet bullying. It's fairly common .. Yes ? I don't think being aware of teen issues and having safety concerns classifies as :- " you've got a seriously skewed definition of "naughty" and typical adolescent behavior" But your entitled to your opinion, however I think you misunderstood my point. Regards.
AngelaSuschena AngelaSuschena 4 years
I'm disturbed by the earlier comment about if the security camera catches a guest doing something "naughty, as adolescents can do" and the worry that charges could be brought against the "naughty" kid. With all due respect, if you think your kid doing something bad enough that police charges could be filed, you've got a seriously skewed definition of "naughty" and typical adolescent behavior. That aside, if I had the extra money to throw around, I'd absolutely do something like this. Kids get into trouble when they're bored, when there's no safe places to go out and they're stuck in their bedroom if they're at home. Hell, I wouldn't mind having that kind of relaxation/game area for myself. I've been working hard to make my kids rooms as welcoming as possible. I'd rather they be able to have fun at home, and have a place their friends can hang out together where they can all be safe AND have fun. I'm impressed with the homework rooms with security cameras to make sure that schoolwork stays schoolwork. They have a dedicated work space, and the parents can check in without meddling or throwing off their concentration. This entire idea is a parenting win.
Pamela72540 Pamela72540 4 years
I agree that if I had the funds I would do something like this for my kids, but $750 g's sounds a little overboard. There are ways to allow kids independence without spending a god-awful amount of money to do so. Having a game room is fine, but what's wrong with cooking in the parent's kitchen? I did all the time as a kid, and I turned out just fine.
Katrina14576855 Katrina14576855 4 years
I agree though that if people are going to be extravagent (whether rightly or wrongly) in their home designs, nothing wrong with using some of it for kid-friendly spaces.... and I've always like the way some (hopefully responsible) teens "live" in caravans or small bungalows on the family property.... a good way of gaining domestic independence!
Katrina14576855 Katrina14576855 4 years
Yes, I wouldn't make any judgements against the parents, but it's one example among many of an idea of the world being too dangerous for under-18s to be out and about, and that responsible parents don't trust their kids etc. etc...... and as per my last post, I'm not convinced that such a space would work in the long term re enticing the kids' friends to spend time at their house - it may or it may not - or that having 16 beds will result in the kids leading a "safer" live (although to be fair, the author didn't specifically say that safety was her motive for the 16 beds in the sleepover suite, which sounds as is a separate wing from the daytime hangout).
CassiReeceGowin CassiReeceGowin 4 years
People who have the money to spend can spend it however they choose. If it means keeping the kids at home and creating a cool hangout where they can pop in can keep an eye on things more easily than if they're hanging out at a club or arcade, I see nothing wrong with that. These are rooms for teens not toddlers. These are for kids who are no longer holding your hand when they cross the street and they need to have their own space to hang out. It's just a high end version of the basement rec room. I know too many people who think that because their kid has a cell phone or a car with GPS they always know where the kid is. They only know where the car is and that their teen is able to get a signal when they answer. Not knowing these people you can't make assessments that they aren't good parents. Teens need some independence from their parents so when they leave for college or head out to the real world, they can check their own conscience and not wait for someone to tell them what to do next.
NicolaMartin24659 NicolaMartin24659 4 years
Yes you've a good point there @Edie and @Steph. I apologise for making a "lazy parent" label in regards to this specific situation. I still stand by what I feel, and that is, I wouldn't be allowing my own children to stay the night in "this" home with a designated area for kids which has 16 beds, surveillance cameras, as well as a kitchen. I don't mean to be a worry wart, but with 16 beds, would that mean boys and girls stay the night together? I'd say no to my daughter staying the night if that was the case. And for example, if my 14 year old son stayed over and was caught on camera doing something naughty, as adolescents can do, would charges be able to be made? It could cause issues for all parties..the kids staying over, the home owner and the parents of the children sleeping over? I'd like to feel that my son and others wouldn't do anything wrong, but it happens, when they're left on they're own or in a group/ party situation. I do think the idea of fun games room is great for the kids though, but maybe not with the 16 beds, a kids kitchen, surveillance etc. That's my initial concern as a parent!
EdieMcGee EdieMcGee 4 years
Some of the comments here strike me as little more than envious ranting. Anyone who can spend $750,000 on a teen suite is probably so stinking rich that it's like me spending $750. This is just the backyard trampoline or pool, the Wii box or home theatre writ large. No one is going to do without for the sake of providing junior with a luxe suite. And who's to say that those parents don't have good relationships with their kids already? And enjoy having them around? Ladies, if your panties are in a wad over this, take a good look at your motivations for posting such self-righteous BS. It ain't pretty.
NaomiVissersKranz NaomiVissersKranz 4 years
What a waste of money. Kids don' t need to be spoiled like this. They need our attention.
NicoleM17196 NicoleM17196 4 years
JMO What a waste of money!
StephFilby StephFilby 4 years
Brilliant idea, if I had the house space and funds I would do it. Its a bit of an assumption that these are lazy parents just because they can afford to and choose to give their kids a snazzy pad.
MarquitaFrancis MarquitaFrancis 4 years
Not a bad idea really... Now, where to get the funds haha
KathyMartinWillis KathyMartinWillis 4 years
hahaha, We have the smallest house of all my sons friends and guess where they are on the weekends? Yep, here in our 780 sq. ft. of love and acceptance. It's about relationships and a place where they can be themselves.
Katrina14576855 Katrina14576855 4 years
And why do you need 16 beds for sleepovers? Where do you think you're kids are going to sleep otherwise..... in a hotel or parking lot? I don't think many do!
Katrina14576855 Katrina14576855 4 years
What about if their friends aren't particularly any more keen to hang out at their house than they were before..... once the novelty has worn off??
anonymousanonymous anonymousanonymous 4 years
How about some outdoor activities, clubs, or other activities that can promote safe extra curricular activities. Pathetic and over-indulging! This is just another way for parents to show off for their friends, neighbors, and relatives.
AshleyBurt AshleyBurt 4 years
Another sad case of "parents" just buying their kids off to some room where they don't have to deal with them. This is not the answer either. A ... Let's spell it out... R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P with your child is what keeps them out of trouble. Good grief. Why did they even have kids anyway...
JenD37146 JenD37146 4 years
A rec room where your teens can hang out and invite their friends is an awesome idea. Renovations that cost thousands of dollars, security cameras, and every activity imaginable in one room are idiotic ideas. First, teenagers need to get out of the house and NOT be constantly supervised. If they don't learn how to make good choices and handle themselves, do you really think they will magically be able to handle themselves alone when they go off to college? And they don't need to think that they should be entertained constantly with someone else's money. How about a book? A game of basketball with friends or family outside? Or, if they are as bored as these kids seem to be, a job?
RoosDemol RoosDemol 4 years
I think it is ridiculous and I also think that coming up with examples like this where people can afford to spend $750,000; outrageous, because very few of us readers would be able to spend that kind of money anyway. As for the ones who can: sure send some more spoiled brats into the world, that's all we need! Sad! Maybe it's a better idea to start parenting your teens properly?
AnnieCatling AnnieCatling 4 years
It's okay living in America with all this space hanging around in people's houses for renovations. My son has a corner of our dining room for toy bags and boxes.
DebbieMavroleon1366465066 DebbieMavroleon1366465066 4 years
I think that is totally ridiculous! Maybe they should spend some quality time with their teens, instead of trying to get rid of them in some crazy room.
Justice Pulls Tween Makeup Products After Asbestos Is Found
When Can Kids Ride in Front Seat of Car?
Parenting Boys Differently Than Girls
Cool Kids' Backpacks 2017
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds