Designing A Family Friendly Forever Home
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Very few people are lucky enough to be able to move straight into a house that is perfect for their needs – most of us end up gradually improving, renovating or building a house to be our forever home. Having a growing family, there is a whole new set of challenges to create the right environment. When it comes to designing the space, getting it wrong can be a costly mistake. So here are some things to consider before you call the builders in…
Multifunctional Spaces Are Key
With a young family, the needs you have and the demands you put on a space are constantly changing. So the key to successful home design is to include large, multipurpose spaces that work around your family life and daily routines. A large porch area could be ideal for putting and taking off outdoor gear like hats, raincoats and wellies and provide a place to store schoolbags rather than scattering them around the house. A large kitchen and family room is a goal for a lot of families as it allows them all to come together in the evenings to reconnect – plus, supervise homework and games. Include practical hardwearing surfaces, underfloor heating and lots of natural light with large windows or Velux windows to make the space airy. You should also find a good local electrician to consult about a good lighting scheme – having a mix of task, mood and feature lighting can really help to make the space functional and create different moods as needed – from cosy corners for dining to LED spotlights for food preparation. If you have the space, a separate utility room is a luxury it’s well worth considering. It allows you to shut away the chaos when visitors call and provides a functional enclosed compliment to the open plan living space.
Get Your Flow On
How the different areas of your space flow together is hugely important, both visually and ergonomically. Make the moat of great views out to the garden or beyond by removing internal doors and aligning openings and corridors to open up the space and make it feel less enclosed. You could also include internal windows to provide a glimpse of spaces beyond, or use bi-fold doors to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces to allow children and pets easy access while you can also supervise.
Future proof your space by considering the needs your family may have in the future, as well as in the present day. One rule is to include as many ensuites and bathrooms as you can. You may be happy sharing with your little ones now, but when they become teenagers, it may be a different story! Design bedrooms with an ensuite where possible. You should also consider storage- you can never have too many cupboards and shelves or concealed storage options, as you generally grow to fit the space available. A luxury of designing from scratch is that you can custom build storage into any awkward corners and minimise wasted space. Before making any design decisions make sure they are practical, functional, durable and comfortable – then you can’t go too far wrong.
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