It was fabulous for a while, just you and your spouse against the world. Now it’s time to bolster the ranks and do one’s part for nation building. The trendy modernist lines (and corners) of Paul McCobb, the precarious balance of Issamu Noguchi’s Zen creations in glass and wood, that once typified the refined tastes of a young sophisticate, all have to go. Out with the avant-garde, and in with Fisherprice.
A paranoid parent might be tempted to turn every square inch of the home into a padded cell in a sanitarium, but no need for drastic steps; the little tot will get to take its first steps with these handy tips.
One of the most dangerous areas at the home for children is the kitchen, with its knives, hot kettles, hot ovens and gas fed stoves. If it can be closed, covered, latched, buffered, there is a child-proofing product to do it.
The best way to design a kid-friendly kitchen is to incorporate fittings to keep the counter top clutter-free. Fragile wine glasses can be suspended from wine glass racks far from curious hands. Bottles can be stored behind cabinet doors, secured with simple latches. Even drying cabinets with dish racks can be installed at a safe height to allow efficient drying while out of reach of little curious hands.
With the amount of electronics and the damp nature of toilets, the potential for accidents is present. The glorified porcelain thrown in its modern day incarnation has gone electrical. Heated seats, bidet sprays and automated everything necessitate a power outlet. Traditional items like hair dryers, shavers and electric toothbrushes all require a socket. Toilet designs have to accommodate these modern-day appliances, as well as avoiding becoming a health hazard. Power outlets can be covered with a waterproof flap, which can be hidden in cabinetry, within walls or high enough to be out of reach of children.
Similarly, the number of creams, ointments and medications found in the toilet could lead to tragic accidents if ingested by kids. Some bath and baby oils, for example, contain liquid hydrocarbons, which can cause a serious pneumonia-like condition, irreversible lung damage, and even death if a child aspirates the substance into their lungs. For that reason, cabinets with child-proof locks can be built in the toilets.
Often placed side-by-side in an apartment, the yard area houses the washing machine and dryer. In the interest of saving space, these appliances are often stacked. A better and safer way is to build brackets that securely fasten the two machines and minimises the risk of them falling over. A side loading variant of both machines are also preferable choices as the possibility of falling in accidentally is also mitigated.
The living room is where the whole family comes together. Designs that encourage inspiration and facilitates family time are one that truly caters to the whole family. Consider designing a space for kids that mirrors those of adult areas. This builds confidence in children as they would feel included and even encouraged to mimic their parents. After all, children learn best by copying what they see from adults.
Craft a play nook where children can engage in creative play within the living room while parents relax in front of the television. Instead of a tiny kid desk, how about a large coffee table for kids to spread out, a space where bales of paper can be sprawled for doodling?
A family that plays together, stays together is an often-heard truism. A central area within the living room promotes quality family time and is a place where the whole household can play card games or traditional interactive board games.
When designing a house for kids, it always has to be remembered that mishaps do happen, or sometimes even intentional mischief. Consider incorporating colourful modern furniture that are made of impermeable materials like plastic or ones that do not stain easily.
The dangers in the bedroom are innocuous but palpable ones. That soft fluffy duvet that everyone likes to roll up around themselves on a lazy Sunday morning is a death trap for toddlers. The sharp edges on the handles of the ceiling-height cupboard that stores Mommy’s treasures in cotton, lace and leathers, have got to go. Instead, opt for more ergonomically shaped handles that are easier to use and safer for toddlers.
The study, or workshop is increasingly a space where entrepreneurial minded millennials conduct small businesses to supplant their income, or even hone their skills before striking out on their own. It could be a space where one can create handicrafts or tailor clothes for sale, where electronics or camera apparel can be refurbished or simply a space where items can be prepared for resale online. Making such a space child-friendly can be challenging as children might not be aware of dangers that machinery or tools present. Ample storage is one solution where more dangerous items can be stored under lock and key.
Ultimately, kids grow up. A key component on designing with kids in mind is to take this into consideration by choosing pieces that can grow with the kids. Practical decisions, such as using a dresser as a change table, mean that the room will work, with only a few minor alterations as the baby grows up. This also includes the easy-to-remove decorations in the rooms that can be discarded and replaced easily. Above all, children’s toys and other accessories accumulate terribly quickly when kids join the family. Make sure there are plenty of storage options, or else the risk is about not designing a house for kids, but the house being entirely taken over by the kids and their clutter.