When your family has grown and budget allows, a custom build will provide you the opportunity to create a home that meets all of your needs. Considering the below design tips ahead of time will help you to create an organized, functional and child-friendly home that is sure to please everyone.
If your kids are young, you will most likely want their bedrooms near the master bedroom so you can hear them if they wake up in the night, and to make it easier for them to find Mom and Dad when they need to. However, you still want to enjoy your privacy.
A good way to balance these conflicting needs is to look for floor plans where the bedroom doors are fairly close to each other, but closets or bathrooms provide sound insulation between the kids’ rooms and the master bedroom. When the bedroom door is shut, you will have reasonable privacy and when you open it again, you should have no trouble hearing the kids down the hall.
On the other hand, if your kids are older, or you have teenagers, it may make more sense to have separation between the master bedroom and the other bedrooms. Another thing to consider is having a finished basement with a bedroom. The kids should be independent enough to not routinely need a parent checking on them at night and both parents and kids will appreciate a greater sense of privacy.
2. The Entryway
A mudroom is a wonderful feature in a family home. It can provide storage space for shoes, boots, and outerwear, as well as a bench to sit on for putting shoes on or taking them off.
Even if a mudroom can’t fit into the space or the budget, a well planned entry is essential. Having footwear, coats, and other items neatly stored in the entryway helps keep the house tidy and organized.
A well designed entryway substantially reduces the stress involved in getting young kids ready to go somewhere. Having all the coats and footwear in designated spots near the primary entrance means no longer searching high and low for a matching pair of shoes or trying to find out where your child left their favourite hat that they won’t leave home without.
3. Common Areas
Families with small children will appreciate having a great room. Great rooms flow nicely into the kitchen and dining room areas in an open concept floor plan so parents can cook while still keeping an eye on their kids and talking to them.
If your kids are older, you may want separate rooms for the kitchen, dining room and living room. Teenagers typically need less direct supervision and want privacy, and Mom and Dad are often thrilled to let the kids have their space because it means they get more space as well.
For most people, cooking at home is a big part of family life. This is why we have the saying "The kitchen is the heart of the home." Make sure the house has a functional kitchen design with ample space and storage. If it is a pleasure to spend time in your kitchen you are more likely to create the meals you want for your family instead of just ordering take out!
Ideally, a family home will have at least two bathrooms. This can be achieved by providing a centrally located family bath plus a more private master bath. In a home designed with teens in mind, a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, in which there are two entrances into a shared bath and toilet area, can be a great solution. This is especially helpful for getting ready in the mornings if there is an additional sink outside of the toilet/bath area.
5. Laundry Room
You want your laundry room in a convenient location (like the upstairs), especially while your children are young. Whether it is a laundry closet or a designated laundry room, a centrally located and well designed laundry area will make family life so much easier. By keeping the laundry area accessible you can keep on top of things and are less likely to have clothes pile up.
Consider what type of flooring would work best in your family home. Materials such as tile or hardwood that look modern and are easy to clean make great choices for high traffic areas such as hallways and front entrances.
If you like the idea of carpet in the living room for crawling babies and kids to play on, you may want to choose a darker shade with a stain resistant finish to keep it looking its best over the years. Another option to consider is heated floors. Not only do they look great and clean up easily, they are cozy underfoot, even in the winter months.
7. Storage and Garage
Families tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. Babies and kids have all sorts of gear and toys; as they get older the toys just change! From strollers to lego, bikes and sporting equipment, you are going to want your family-friendly home to include lots of storage options.
Look for clever space-saving features such as storage under the stairs for infrequently used items, custom built-ins with shelves and cabinets in the family room so video games and DVD’s can be tucked out of sight when not in use. And of course having a functional, organized garage is a huge plus for storing bulkier or seasonal items.
A well designed house for you and your family is sure to make you happy for years to come. Efficient design and kid-friendly features will allow for the lifestyle you want so you can focus your energy on enjoying your family. Thinking about what your family’s needs are and communicating them to your builder is the first step in making that a reality.