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Designing Around a Busy Growing Family

It’s not a secret that I have four and a half year old twins and a baby on the way. Life at this moment is very busy, messy, full of “oh nooo!” moments. People that see me on the streets, with my big ole pregnant belly wrestling my twins to get in the grocery cart ALWAYS say: “Oh dear, you must have your hands full!” Well, they are right, I do have my hands full, but I’m not the only one. There are millions of families in the same phase of life as us, juggling life the best way that we can. Making. It. Work.

When I started designing our home remodel, I knew that I had to put the fact that I live with a growing young family in the forefront. My design needed to reflect that; otherwise, my design would fail miserably. I couldn’t just make my new home into a magazine front cover without any consideration to my family’s needs. Even tough, as an interior designer, I was very tempted to do so. So I got to work to try to find the balance between functionality, durability, livability, beauty, and looks.

The bottom line is that beauty can be achieved even when function and durability are in the highest priority. You don’t have to live in a concrete floor box with a drain in the center just because you have messy kids.

So I tackled each challenge at a time. The challenges are: Crumbs, spills, clean-ability, durability, and overall easy to use design. 

In my house after every meal and after snacks, (witch by the way is every 5 seconds…”Mooooom, I’m hungryyyy!”) we have crumbs everywhere.  I do sweep often and also have a robot vacuum, but sometimes I just need to leave the mess there for a while. That’s just life, PERIOD. But I also don’t want my house to look dirty. So when choosing my flooring I chose a color that had enough interest and texture that would hide things well, but that also would be easy to clean and maintain. Dark floors are not your friend if you are trying to hide things, just like very light floors, so choose something in the middle. I went with engineered hardwood because of its superior resistance to spills and moisture still keeping the cozy feel and look of a wood floor.  

Choosing surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect are the way to go in areas of high traffic and use, like the kitchen and dining room. 

With that in mind, for my chairs I selected molded plastic dining chairs. They are easy to wipe clean but are still super stylish. In my designer little heart I really wanted upholstered dining chairs but anyone that has little kids knows that that is a really bad idea! I guess I’ll have my upholstered chairs when my kids are out of the house, sighhh.  

A nice feature that I included in the kitchen cabinetry design was a small broom closet at the very end of the cabinet row. It sits right in front of my dining table and island. But why is that a nice feature? Because good design is about making things easier. Having a broom closet close to my meal areas facilitates the clean up after every meal. Having your boom, dust pan, some rags and a good cleaning product at an easy to reach location, increases the chances of a person to just do a quick clean up after the meal is over. It’s all about convenience!

For countertops my choice was a no brainer: QUARTZ! It’s very durable, easy to maintain, it doesn’t stain easily and most things wipe right off. With all this good attributes to it, a huge bonus is that since its a man-made product, it comes in tons of different colors and patterns to fit all styles and taste. 

On the spill issue, here comes the biggest concern for most families with little kids: the COUCH! People freak out when it comes to choosing a new couch when you have little ones. I’ve had many people tell me: “I’ll just keep my gross all stained couch until my kids are grown, there is no point in getting a new one knowing that my kids will destroy it!” For those that think like that I have great news! You don’t have to live like this, there are plenty of options out in the market, and it’s not just leather. Leather is a good option, it’s easy to wipe and clean and durable, it’s definitely a contender. However, sometimes you want a different look. My solution: choose performance fabrics. The technology in fabrics have really stepped up their game in the last few years. I selected a fabric that has built-in stain technology in it. When the fabric is being made, stain treatment resistance products are added to it, so the fabric ends up being stain resistant, waterproof, easy to clean and wipe off. So on top of having a very family friendly couch, I also get to have a one of a kind couch with a specially curated fabric that coordinates perfectly with my design that is very stylish. 

As for my barstools, I went with imitation leather. The island will be an area that will be messy no matter what, so an easy to wipe off and waterproof material was a necessity. Imitation leather will certainly mark all those boxes.

Another very practical thing to do is get a touch operated faucet. My kids are always using the kitchen sink to wash their sticky little hands. When kids are little like mine (4 years old) it’s hard to reach the handle to turn on the faucet, so a touch activated faucet will solve this problem. I also love the fact that the faucet itself stays cleaner longer since not as many sticky hands are constantly maneuvering it. 

With all that being said, check our my 3D renderings of the living room with the products and finishes that I selected and have been talking about in this post!

Well guys, all those choices makes me and my husband feel better about spending our hard earned money in finishes and furnishings for our new home. It gives us peace of mind knowing that we are making choices adjusted to our family’s needs and that those choices will give longevity to the pieces that we are purchasing for our home. The reality is that nobody wants to feel that they are waisting money. By investing in better, more durable finishes, that worry goes away. And let’s be honest, less worries is what I need right now! The clock is ticking and new baby is coming, this remodel need to hurry up and be over!