Recently, I have been thinking a lot about my home, how useful is it? Or put another way, how fit for purpose is it? Yes, it keeps us dry and warm but with two children, a cat and a husband, whose hobby requires a lot of stuff (model war games), we often find ourselves knee high in clutter, crumbs, and clothes! So my ideal house would have ample space and floors that are easy to clean.
Downstairs would consist of the ‘normal’ rooms, lounge, dining room and kitchen but with the addition of a playroom. In my pre-children days, I thought it would be easy to keep toys tidy, neatly packed up in toy boxes after the children had gone to bed. Little did I realise that the moment the children were in bed (hopefully sleeping soundly), I would just about have enough energy to put some washing on and clean up after dinner before collapsing on the sofa. My dream home would have to work with my family needs, yes I would love he show home look but this would be an impossibility, even in my dream world. Instead, I would like a play room. But the playroom would be part of the open plan kitchen and dining room and the lounge would be my sanctuary; filled with soft cream carpets, new sofas and not a stain or cat hair in sight. With my little piece of heaven, the rest of the downstairs would have to be completely child-friendly. In the playroom, there would be clearance engineered flooring so that the kids could spill, slop and splash a myriad of paint, food, drinks, crayons and anything else they can get their sticky hands and it would easily be cleaned away. Similarly, the dining room would have to have some sort of wooden flooring, something like cheap solid oak flooring, which is a little better than the playroom but still easily cleaned after meal times.
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The kitchen would be lead off from the dining room and playroom so that I could easily watch what the children were up to while cooking but more importantly, I can still be part of the conversation when friends come over if I’m preparing food and drinks etc. I currently have a very dark kitchen that I didn’t seem to notice while we were looking around the house. In my ideal home, the kitchen would be light with plenty of cupboards and drawers. The number of houses we looked around that had no drawers in the kitchen was unbelievable, now it is on my list of non-negotiables for any new house.
Then we come to the upstairs. I would need the stairs separated by a door. Many houses I have visited have the stairs in the middle of the lounge, this would cause me one main problem – the lounge is my sanctuary. I certainly do not want to be disturbed by the pitter-patter of tiny feet coming down the stairs while I was trying to forget about the mess in the rest of the house. When upstairs there would be four rooms, a master bedroom, two equal sized bedrooms (hopefully to prevent arguments) and a spare room. All bedrooms would need to be carpeted as I love waking up and putting my feet into a soft carpet! As well as a carpet, the bedrooms would need to have plenty of storage, I seem to not only have loads of current clothes for my children but clothes they are yet to fit into. This is particularly true for my youngest, who has inherited all of her sister’s clothes and unfortunately I have limited space to put them; resulting in many bags stuffed into her wardrobe and shoved under her cot!
A large bathroom would also need to be upstairs, ideally one that stayed clean but I don’t think even my dream home would have that! Thinking more long term, as my daughters get older, an extra toilet downstairs will become essential. Starting with potty training and ending with teenagers taking forever in the bathroom, an extra toilet is going to be a necessity, in fact, if this is my dream house I’d like an ensuite too!
Thinking again of space for storage the loft will have to be insulated, boarded and without a water tank stuck in the middle of it (like the one currently situates in the middle of my loft leaving very little room to store things). This space does not need to be pretty and will ideally not be the easiest place to get to. Hopefully, this will discourage us from hoarding anything our growing children ever touched up there.
I am in two minds about what the garden would be like. Yes, it would be amazing to have a large lawn and beautiful flower beds decked in an array of colour, however, I am not green fingered. The idea of having to keep a lawn neat and flower beds weeded brings me out in a cold sweat. So my ideal house would have some lawn but also a lovely patio with an outdoor heater so that the garden could be enjoyed into the evening. Of course, it has to be child-friendly space, therefore, swings, slides, and a playhouse are a must and in the perfect world, I would have a sunken trampoline.
For me, as I suppose with most, there are two important things when it comes to my dream house with children, space and easily cleaned. Extra rooms for storing toys and a large loft for keeping all those bits I couldn’t bare to throw away and easy to clean wooden floors would make life much simpler. But I have a feeling that in this dream house my favourite room would be the lounge – my clutter, crumb, and children free space.