Having designed many adult spaces, turning my hand to designing for families has been a real eye opener. And now that I have three of my own, in addition to our dog, I am becoming more and more obsessed with the challenge of family friendly space.
The first focus for our house had to be the hallway. This is the first thing visitors see when they enter the property, and I want their first impression to be ‘this is nice’, not ‘how to I manouvre past the clutter?!” Therefore storage is paramount. We do not have a huge hallway so designing this in from the start is the key. Firstly, think about what you will need to store in the hall and who will be accessing it (do you want the kids hanging their own coats or not?) Then tailor your design around your needs. Be specific. Shoe storage requires different space and access to cold weather accessories. Make use of every inch and try not to waste space with, for example, long dark cupboards that just act like a black hole sucking up mittens.
For this hallway we used a combination of built in and free standing storage solutions. The understairs space was split into two. The taller section becoming a cupboard for the vacuum cleaner and other large items. In the often wasted corner section, a bespoke shoe drawer houses all the family’s shoes. A vintage settle was bought to sit by the front door. This provides both a place to sit whilst putting on and removing shoes, but also additional storage for bags. A 10 hook coat rack was purchased to hang above the settle, again providing ample space to hang all of the family’s coats, plus leaving additional space for visitors!
Don’t ignore your keys and wallets / purses either! Everyone needs somewhere to dump those little things when they walk through the door. Here we decided against a cast iron radiator for the hallway, but stuck to a cheap wall mounted radiator instead. This allowed us to fit a radiator housing which provides the perfect shelf for all those bits and pieces from everyday life.