When I started dreaming up all the ways we would transform our apartment into an incredible living space, I spent a decent amount of time with my good friend Google, searching for “kid-friendly design” and “home design for small children”. I had a little debate going on in my head about whether we’d design the house for our future kids (I was heavily pregnant with our first at the time) or whether we’d design the house for us and help our children learn to live and play in it (safely). I was looking to The Internet for answers, for guidance, for help, and it just didn’t get me very far. I don’t know whether I was simply looking in all the wrong places, my Google skills weren’t up to par, or there just wasn’t all that much out there, but I really drew a blank in terms of finding the resources I was looking for. Specifically, I wanted someone to say, “hey, when you design your kitchen, don’t fret about explicitly choosing cabinet pulls that can be childproofed because there are all sorts of great childproofing options out there” or “hey, remember that if your bathtub is pretty deep then you’re going to be pretty uncomfortable when craning over to bathe your child”. There were a hundred little secrets I was looking for and just couldn’t find.
I had big, bold ideas for our future apartment but also had more or less a blank canvas on which to create our new family home. Were there “kid” things I should be thinking about when designing? In the end, we did very little to explicitly incorporate Little L and his needs into our design. On the spectrum of designing-for-us vs. designing-for-kids, we admittedly fall quite towards the designing-for-us end. In the absence of what I considered sensible guidance on the issue, we decided to design the home we wanted and adapt and retrofit as necessary if it looked like things weren’t quite working for Little L. Two years on, having been through newborn, crawler, and toddler, I can say that there are two major lessons to be drawn from our experience:
Lesson #2. There are a bunch of little things you might want to think about before a renovation, but nothing that would even remotely impact the overall aesthetic of your new project.
The Internet is a busy place, and no doubt there is now much fodder on this topic (perhaps much more easily searchable than in the past). Yet to the sea of voices, I’d like to add mine, with thoughts and guidance about designing with(out) kids in mind. Forthcoming is an explanation of Lesson #1, Lesson #2, and any and all other musings that may be helpful as you renovate, build, or just dream about your new home. Stay tuned!