via Pinterest

I was thinking about this topic after my three children had, over the course of 5 days which included Easter, scuffed walls, chipped off a large chunk of plaster off the column in the hall, felled the standard lamp in the living area breaking the socket in the process, peeled off wallpaper in the laundry, and tipped over a small mirrored table in Mr AV's study smashing the top. It wasn't a particularly good run, and we were very frustrated at the damage. Mr AV commented - "this is a very robust house, imagine the damage they would do if it wasn't?" and then started reminiscing about the damage he and his 4 brothers and sisters did to their parents house.

via Pinterest

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that you could have an 'adult' house as long as you design around the demands and practicalities of children. This means that you are not yelling at them all day long to stay away from things or berating them for ruining the house, and in turn you can enjoy your house without the worry of it looking like a child/ teen friendly space permanently. Adults and children can cohabit despite their different requirements, and I think it's a total cop out for people to say that they'll wait until their children leave home to buy decent furniture. When designing our house I naturally chose things that would work with our family and thought that it might be useful to list all the things that can be done to make a family friendly house that doesn't compromise on design. Room by room, here are the things that I've found work.

Living areas

If you have a casual living space that will be frequented by children there are several practical things you can do that will make life easier.

 indoor/ outdoor fabric that I used on a sofa for clients last year in a casual living area

Upholstering sofas in one of the new indoor/ outdoor fabrics is a great way to go. Every single fabric range has extensive indoor/outdoor fabrics in them now thanks to the new fabric technologies, and they are completely stain proof, ranging from fairly inexpensive, to top of the range with fabric houses such as Pierre Frey. If you love a light coloured sofa, but have toddlers, then slipcover a sofa in one of the new fabrics (the fabrics feel completely normal and not plasticky) and you can easily throw it in the wash and watch any stain be it vegemite/ chocolate or mud without treatment simply disappear. I've also used indoor/ outdoor fabrics in rooms frequented by grandchildren, where the grandparents didn't want to have to be constantly asking the children to take their shoes off or sit carefully (and instead wanted to be the 'fun' grandparents). This makes the sofa easy to spot clean with a bit of soap and water. Upholstery that is not a solid plain fabric also works better to disguise dirt. I usually select a fabric with a bit of 'movement' in it so that general dinginess will be fairly disguised. Our own sofas are a very, very fine check in tonal greys, and this has disguised dirt very well without going the route of the full washable slipcover.

grandchild friendly surfaces for my client - leather upholstered armchairs, indoor/ outdoor fabric on the sofa.

Paint on walls should always be washable acrylic - this is not a place to use distemper or any of the other more fashionable/ authentic paint finishes, unless you want instant child height patina.

Dining 

If you eat at a dining table with your children (rather than serving them at the kitchen island) then a dining table that has a robust finish to the top is optimal while children are toddlers. Our dining table is already distressed and made from recycled wood. The children have variously scratched, drawn and gouged it, and you really can't tell as it works in with the surface. Stone is a good surface for this reason too, highly polished/ perfect timber is not. A dining table made with a 2pac factory sprayed painted top is definitely not a good idea. All the edges will chip and you'll have scratches all over it.

My dining table and chairs. The table is a recycled timber, the chairs have covers that can be removed and washed. 

Dining chairs are another concern. I don't recommend tight (fitted) upholstered dining chairs, unless they are leather. Slipcovers are fine obviously, and again the indoor/ outdoor fabrics are perfect for this. Otherwise a hard chair surface that can be wiped down is the best alternative. The worst idea is to buy dining chairs with a cheap fabric on it thinking that if they're ruined in a few years you'll just reupholster when the kids are older. Cheap fabrics don't wear well at all, and they will look absolutely mangey within 6 months. Make sure your chair is robust - children tend to swing on chairs, knock them over and do all sorts of other things, so investing in a decent dining chair that will survive a bit of abuse is important. Another chair option is one of the high chairs that convert to proper chairs, such as the Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair. We have two of them, they are now set at booster seat height as a chair for my 5 and 7 year olds, and they are robust, untippable, and easy to clean.

Kitchens


via Pinterest

I've written before about my thoughts on kitchen surfaces (and incidentally, it's the most popular and most viewed post I've ever written… which surprises me still!). You can read it here

Flooring

Flooring choices are important with children. If you are putting in wooden floor boards, forget about having a high gloss surface, unless you want to be permanently attached to a mop. A low sheen surface is your friend - you won't see dust, dirty footprints and other defects such as scratches. Dark is obviously better if you want to conceal dirt or just dinginess - I noted that designer Lauren Leiss put in painted white floorboards at her new family home (4 children), and she has said that she cleans them everyday, but for her the payoff is the look. I think she's also said in other places she's chosen more forgiving surfaces as compensation for this. If you're not sure you could keep up with that sort of cleaning regime, then avoid at all costs.

via Lauren Leiss

If you're putting in floorboards, a hardwood is better than a soft wood. Pine in high traffic areas (such as hallways or kitchens) will scratch and degrade over time when compared to a hardwood. In our hall we installed Spotted Gum floorboards over the existing old pine in the hallway, and it has held up well. Timber in general though will show scratches and dents more easily, even from high heeled shoes (not just children scootering inside), so alternatives to consider are tile, linoleum, vinyl, polished concrete, and carpet. Our choice of linoleum is fantastic, and I still am so happy we made the decision to install it. It takes a real knock from the kids, and cleans up brilliantly.

Regarding carpet, I know a lot of people like nylon now, and this is something that seems to me to have come from the project home/ developers market and spread through the carpet suppliers recommending it when retailing it to homeowners. Project home builders like nylon as it will meet their builders warranty and they are pretty much guaranteed that it won't change or stain until their warranty period is up. I never recommend it (unless it's for a commercial property) as it is, in the end, plastic. Wool carpet wears a lot better than nylon over a longer period of time. It feels more luxurious, and is a natural product. Stains will come out fairly easily (unless you want white carpet). For children who often lie on their carpet to play games, I just think it's far nicer that they're on a natural surface.  But this is a personal preference. Obviously dark carpet is good for children for hiding stains and dirt, and that is what I chose for my own house. I knew that the long duration of our renovation and us living in the house for the duration meant that a light coloured carpet would look dreadful otherwise.

Bedrooms 


my youngest's bedroom - he wanted orange walls, this was our compromise

I think it's important to involve children in the design of their own spaces. To keep this simpler, I recommend asking them for a theme or colour that they like, then picking two things you're also happy to live with and then asking them to choose between those limited choices. Too much choice is overwhelming. I buy my children's bedroom lamps from cheaper places like Target, Bunnings, or Freedom furniture when on sale. Then I don't have to worry too much if one is knocked over.

Playrooms/ teenage retreats 



Playroom via Pinterest

I'm a big advocate of the playroom, if you can fit one in. Kids love to have a space they can take their friends to that is theirs alone. Somewhere they can keep out ongoing games or projects, hang out in and enjoy. When designing or choosing a space for a playroom, close proximity to the kitchen/ main living area is very important if you want them to actually use the space. Connection to the outdoors is also very important, whether that be by doors leading directly to the garden or just very large windows. Natural light is also very important. Otherwise this will become a space to store toys that are then strewn around your house in other areas.

My children's playroom with blackboard wall

If you don't have a playroom (and we didn't in our first house), then a small area that houses some storage with doors on it in your living room will conceal mess. I know that open shelves are very Montessori etc, but unless you have excessively neat children you will be driven crazy looking at the mess of toys on the shelves. Ikea have good storage for children, and I used it in my playroom - blog post here

Ikea storage for toys in my kid's playroom - doors are essential

Bathrooms

Avoid natural stone such as marble or limestone. This is because they are porous and will absorb stains and odours. There are good porcelain alternatives these days if you like the look of stone for tiles, and in bench tops the composite stones (such as caesarstone) are better options - even colourless soap will stain marble if left sitting on it for too long.

Tile behind toilets - Little (and many big) boys have bad aim.

via Channel nine's The Block - solid splashback rather than mirrored, but I don't recommend marble

If you hate the look of splash marks on mirrors and won't be cleaning them everyday, then a backsplash on your bathroom vanity is essential, don't run the mirror down to the top of the bench top.

via Pinterest

Successful design is about being realistic in how you live. How much cleaning and what you can live mess wise with are the tightrope combination, and if you get it right you will have a much easier life in all ways. There are compromises in anything in life, and in construction and house design nothing is ever perfect. Fighting against this will just make life miserable for all the inhabitants, big and small. Choosing robust finishes, designing around potential problems and building in lots of storage to conceal 'stuff' will ultimately make for an enjoyable home.

28 comments:

  1. Hurrah. This post was so well timed for my needs. This is something I've been considering myself but not just for children but for my own living and the level of care and interest I want to put in my home. I didn't realise that nickel finish dulls and you do need to polish it up it's not like silver but it does need a Polish to bring back the shine and for my light fittings that is kind of annoying because they're on the ceiling and I have to stand on a ladder. My mirror that I put over the fireplace continues to patina and I really don't like that. The oil base paint on my skirting have yellowed and I'm not happy with that. Anyway I'm going in a different direction to your blog post but yes I do believe that you can have a nice home even with children.

    I think personally for myself I will be ok because I have two girls and so far Audrey has been really careful and considerate without me always telling her off she's just good like that maybe because she is a girl I've seen toddler boys that are just out of control so I'm sort of grateful I've got two girls he he!!! I am going to do marble in the bathroom and I think I am being a bit crazy about it but I have had a test run with the marble backsplash in my kitchen and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it and I let tomato sauce splash on it and I leave it until I notice it a couple days later and it always just wipes right off. I haven't had any problems with my backsplash at all. I have had problems with my slate tiles on the floor but we possibly didn't do enough layers of sealer and it has been nearly 3 years and we haven't done it since so we do need to do it and that is our own fault. But porcelain tiles in the kitchen would have been a better option. I don't think anything else will look as nice in the bathroom then the marble because I really want to use these marble tiles I have. If I introduce too many different finishes in the small space it might not look good at all so I'm just going to give it a go and if all else fails you can always get it refinished at a cost and bring it back to the way it looked originally in some way. So I'm going to risk it. I also dislike my pine floorboards. In front of the fireplace I have trouble holding up to the heat. The boards are moving away from each other and gaps opening up. Dust comes up through the tongue and groove. They are also cracked in the middle of the board length wise in several spots. I definitely want to lay something over the top of the Pine floorboards like you did. I have just a regular couch and I have taken the covers off the cushions to wash them several times. The rest of the fabric can come off as well as it's velcroed under the bottom but I haven't had to do that as yet but it is nice to know I have an option to do that. Audrey has been pretty good so far and I don't not let her out on the couch and do what she likes on the couch.

    I agree with what you said about the wool carpet and I want a wool rug but my husband thinks I'm crazy to do it while at we have young children but they are robust and you can get it professionally cleaned if it is a rug and taken away. Sisal is a natural product too but it is so coarse and rough I don't like having the children on it. I always have to put a blanket down Audrey has copped a couple of carpet burns on the knees from it.

    I always appreciate these blog post thank you for taking the time to write them.

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    1. I think as you already have the marble tiles to use you should use them - you'll just have to be vigilant, and you definitely can't mix real with faux, it just looks wrong. We had limestone in our last bathroom in Melbourne, and while I love the look they just weren't great with little toilet training boys, not to mention that our first problem was a bottle of colourless shampoo that dribbled onto a small area of the tile and wasn't noticed for a week.. it left a dark permanent stain. You're very lucky Audrey is so fastidious! I didn't find it so hard with the children while they were very little... but now that they're older and there are three of them it's not so controllable. Really, everyone has to make the choices that suit their situation, but we're lucky there are so many options out there now with finishes to make that a lot easier.
      This post took so long to write.. mainly because the internet was down in our area last weekend! Plus not so much time anymore for blogging. I seem to have less time now that my kids are getting older rather than more as I'd thought!

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  2. Love this post! In my kid's bathroom re have reconstituted stone surfaces not granite as we do in the other bathrooms and we have fled walls which makes cleaning easier.

    I have tried to train my kid to eat on the wooden floor as opposed to the persian rugs and I am really into getting him to wash his hands. So far (crosses self) nothing much has broken but it's a mater of time…I think I know the small mirrored table in your study! Can it be fixed? x

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    1. No, sadly it can't - the mirror is distressed, which is not easy to come by and the cost of the mirror panel vs the cost of the table originally makes it not worth it :(
      I can imagine Master FF has been whipped into line by his mother re mess! Unfortunately I am overrun with numbers and can't keep a close eye on mine... so they take advantage by doing things they're not supposed to when my back is turned! Oh well.. family life I guess.

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  3. Such great advice! Had forgotten what little boys were like - and their friends! Luckily for us our grand-daughters seem to be much quieter (though very chatty) and neater than boys (certainly more so than their father was). Fingers crossed, they've never broken anything at our place - and not because I'm nagging about being careful as I don't. Though I was surprised last time when I found my hand painted Limoges miniature boxes (not a chip or the slightest bit of damage) on the Persian carpet in the lounge room being used as mini sofas in a lego house. They do scatter lego about but that's pretty harmless and easily sorted. Now that they're 11 and 9 hopefully it will only get even better. They're not the kind of children who tear around a house, very much more dainty little girls who enjoy playing board games or building things with modern lego. The older one writes stories and illustrates them - so blank paper and colouring pencils keep her very happy.
    Have worked my way through tapestry seat covers for the dining chairs (based on William Morris designs) and am last beginning to wonder if I'm brave enough to have the seats recovered with these tapestry pieces. So far they've never spilled drinks or food on the chairs, but can just imagine the first accident will be after the chairs are done. Anyway, could be an adult spilling red wine. Pammie xx

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    1. Well... our most unintentionally destructive is a girl! The love of fiddling with precious things... but the boys and the physical expansiveness are another matter. It's all accidental of course, but far easier to head off some of the destruction at the source if possible in order that you're not instigating a Reign of Terror.
      I'm sure your tapestry would be able to go on the dining chairs, it will most definitely be an adult to spill something on it! Murphy's law and all that. But if you've done all that work it would be a pity to leave them longer when the girls are obviously not particularly destructive. xx

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    2. Of course it's not intentional destruction! Am surprised though that it's your daughter who does the most damage. I remember how much she loved her needlework and somehow always imagine her sitting working with great concentration on her needle and thread or something else creative, or reading a story book.
      I shouldn't be surprised really though. When I was a little girl I used to love my mother's Schiaparelli Shocking perfume, specially the beautiful bottle of the lady's waist with what I thought were beautiful jewels on wires wound about it. Apparently I had a lovely time fiddling with it, unbeknownst to the parents, and sniffing the perfume, but one time didn't put the lid back on properly. All the perfume leaked out and was lost. My mother was so sad but very forgiving.
      Yes, must be brave about the tapestry - the main worry is that the background colour is off-white! Crazy, no! After our next hols will see about getting it done. If I can find anyone here to do it that is. R is so lucky in Hobart that she has such a wonderful upholsterer/chaircoverer.

      When our son was a teenager with his first car, something of an old banger, he was always working on it with his friends. One day I discovered my oven baking dish wasn't where it should have been (luckily pre-Miele) it turned out he'd used it to collect oil from under the car when he was doing something mechanical. It was never the same again. When I expressed mystification at what could have happened - he took me outside and showed me. Also found that a dear baby towel my Mum had given had been used to clean grease off things. It used to be so cute, a white soft square towel with a little hoodie thing in one corner and grey bunny's ears that used to slip over the back of his head when he came out of his bath. It was adorable and I almost sobbed when I saw it. He was so apologetic - it had never occurred to him that I attached any importance to these things - or that there was no way you could restore them to their former condition. He promised to be very careful next time he wanted to use anything from the house for the car. Luckily he soon lost his fascination with engines.
      Pammie xx

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    3. That's a very funny story about your son and the car! Although poor you to lose your tray and the little towel.
      E is very creative and does a lot of fine work with the cross stitch etc. But she also likes fiddling with little pretty things and can't seem to help herself. Often the breakages occur when she is trying to show a friend or her brother or something and gets something down herself from a high shelf. But they're all her things, not mine. I really don't have a lot of precious knick knacks, although a couple of the broken items were things from my childhood that I'd passed on to her. xx

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  4. My neighbours kids used to pop on over all the time and as there was stuff everywhere and not streamlined for kids they always loved hanging out and asking what everything is. But they were polite and I was close enough to tell them off if needed. But once kids of my husband's friends came and they nearly broke about everything in my house and themselves! But actually considering 3 kids it's not as bad considering BC most houses with kids seem to be bean bags and plastic xx

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    1. Oh wow - I'm completely on to my kids in other people's houses, but even so, they do like to fiddle. That's awful that they were running amok at your place. The bean bags and plastic are possible due to reduced budgets too though... not a lot let over after paying for school shoes etc! xx

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  5. Oh this is a masterpiece! Maybe I will buy some children now that I know how to live with them. Nah, I'll spend the dough on a blanket with Hs on it. Child height patina is a wonderful term. And I LOVE your kids' playroom! How fabulously inspiring is that space?!
    I've been trying to get my mom to write a post for my blog about how she chooses fabrics and tests them. All the tablecloths she makes for me are made of outdoor fabric. 1) no ironing 2) even red wine on a white tablecloth will bead and wipe off.
    I know I say it all the time and every post but I love your house so much. I'm kind of thinking about a new house and concept and have been so inspired by your house that is airy and modern but not cold or stark.

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    1. You're so funny! They love their playroom too Stephen Andrew, and it's been a good way to keep them out of the more adult living areas, so our sofas/ cushions are pristine still.
      I would be so interested to read a post from your mom about her fabric choices - I had no idea you had the outdoor fabrics for your tablecloths, but that is so clever, as the maintenance on tablecloths is I think what prevents people from using them regularly now. Certainly when I pull them out it's only for entertaining, and then I'm always cursing them when I do the ironing. But red wine is easy to remove - you just wet the stain with water and put it in the sunshine. The stain disappears. Then again, with your winters I guess sometimes UV isn't very strong.
      That's so kind of you re my house - I love airy and light, and it made the biggest change to our living by doing the extension on the old Victorian house. You don't realise how dark and internal facing they are until you have so much light. High ceilings are key though! And big tall windows. xx

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  6. Thank you!!
    Linda C.

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  7. This is all great advice Heidi. I never thought to use indoor/outdoor fabric - how clever. My girls are pretty good and I'm strict about them staying out of my nicer blue and white living room. The family room I'm a lot more relaxed about and I put foam tiling down over the nice flooring in the playroom (which actually makes it more comfortable for them, etc). I think that things get broken when you have people over and the children just seem to hype each other up and get a bit less supervision - in those cases I try to keep them contained in either the garden or the playroom, so that the mess and potential breakages are limited to one area! x

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    1. I think you're right about it being a mass thing with children. I find generally that when it's two of them playing it's quite a different dynamic from 3, and then when more children come over you really can't supervise so closely and they do get a little overexcited at times... which is when I send them all out onto the trampoline! I think because of the surfaces we've chosen we're fairly relaxed about the back extension of the house, and I know that when friends come over they feel quite relaxed about it all too!! But I have to be firm about them not using some areas of the house... they know not to take friends into the Sitting room or our bedroom or Mr AVs study. And most children naturally gravitate toward the playroom and the kids bedrooms where all the fun stuff is anyway. I think the foam flooring in the playroom is a great idea, as you said it is more comfortable for them, but also protects the floor so it's a win/win. xx

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  8. My daughter is now 22 so I don't need to childproof but her cat only uses my furniture for her scratching post. Do you think the new indoor outdoor fabric would be cat proof?

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    1. It very much depends on the weave of the fabric Vicki. I think cats are attracted to things with texture to them, so the closer the weave and smoother the fabric the less likely they are to start scratching at it. Some of the outdoor fabrics have a very tight weave, and others are much coarser. I'd recommend if you were looking to reupholster that you look at the rub rate (also called martindale test rate) on the fabric - you want something around 50,000 plus to really stand up to a cat. Rub rates are ratings given to upholstery weight fabrics and the higher the rub rate the less wear it will show. Generally things with looser/ coarser weaves don't have such high rub rates as the fabric will catch and wear quicker, so this is probably a good way to tell if something is cat proof (although I'm not sure there is such a thing - if there is it will no doubt be a holy grail of fabrics for a lot of people!). Good luck! x

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    2. Thanks Heidi. Perhaps I better invent the cat proof fabric and then I would be a rich lady :)

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  9. Great ideas! I bought Starck Louis Ghost chairs when I had kids since you can wipe them down and they are indestructible. I also bought a heavy oak kitchen table with a silver and black finish that can take a scrubbing with a magic eraser. I like things to look good but I'm not willing to live in a museum with stressed out kids. We recently sold our house so now we have that nerve-wracking couple of weeks where the kids have to "keep everything perfect for the new people." Thank heavens we are moving this week! I love your style: such a great balance between beautiful and practical.

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    1. Those chairs are great Jen, and the perfect child and adult friendly chair. Very elegant too. I think you're quite right about not living in a museum. You have to accept that even with boundaries and children trying to be careful accidents will happen, and it's far easier to accept that and choose appropriately than to constantly fight it. Good luck with the move!! The whole selling and moving process is such a process. I'm sure you'll feel very relieved after it all to put your feet up and enjoy a few glasses/ bottles of bubbly! xx

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  10. Perhaps Heidi, you should suggest to your child -proofing clients NOT to put in a fish pond in a courtyard with free access to a living room. DON'T surround the pond with fragile plants, and DON"T add a couple of excitable dogs and 5 small happy active children....
    Just saying. :)

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    1. Ha! Thought you'd enjoy this C! Hope the dogs have calmed down after their exciting day...plus their owners recovered from the ordealxx

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  11. so happy to have stumbled on this! I have 4 children (ages 9 to 13), and I have a massive house in need of a full renovation. I am scared to buy anything because I know it will get destroyed :( (I have 3 boys and they are the worst, I bought ONE new lamp and it was smashed in 3 days)
    I bought a new dining table because we had nowhere to sit together besides a couple of mangy couches - but I don't want them to actually have drinks at the table because they will ruin the top, the chairs, and the rug too. :((( It is awful.
    I tell my husband we have no choice, we must wait until they leave to buy a sofa.

    That brings me to today, where I am seriously considering buying a $50 sofa from the local junk store, just because I know I won't care what they do to it...

    I have loads of rules - no food or drink outside of the kitchen, on pain of death. No cat in the house (she peed on a table in one of the boys' rooms), no shoes past the front door (or I am constantly mopping every day).

    I just look at Pinterest a lot and dream about the kids growing up. and I love to read design blogs. :)

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    1. Oh dear - 3 boys do cause a lot of incidental damage Katy, and it does seem to me that no matter what you do rule wise there will always be accidents... boys have a lot of expansive energy and seem to rev each other up, enjoy wrestling with each other etc etc....
      If your house is large enough then a designated play room/ hangout is ideal, and give them the $50 sofa, a tv big enough to keep them from the rest of the sitting areas in the house and they'll likely stay out of other areas. Our sofas in our casual living area are in linen, and so far (touch wood) they have held up to the kids well, mainly because they don't go into this area very often as they prefer their playroom.
      I do think though that the better quality the furniture, the better it will stand up to kids. So if you do go the new sofa route, don't skimp but buy the best you can afford. If you can slipcover in an indoor/ outdoor fabric that you can throw in the wash then I guarantee that you'll have pristine sofas, and will feel more relaxed about the kids hanging out on them, they really won't be able to damage them.
      Probably you need some dining chair covers too that are slipcovers and in the indoor/ outdoor fabrics. There are really so many options - patterns, plains, different colours... you can also buy rugs suitable for outdoors, so even that could be hosed off outside. Of course it's nice to dream about how you'd do things if you didn't have constraints, but you don't want to put your life on hold until they're all grown up and out of home. Good luck!

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  12. Great post thank you, Heidi. I have a 16 month old baby boy and this is all very interesting information for me! May I ask where you purchased the little wooden kitchen in your children's playroom? My husband says these are for girls but my little boy loves to be in the kitchen and 'assist' with the cooking. Most I have seen are hideous so I would love your recommendation. As I say to my husband, our son's future wife will thank me!

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    1. Hi Sally, Funnily enough I first bought a kitchen set for my then 18 month old son... so I know what you mean about them not being just a girl toy. My two boys have both loved using the play kitchen. It's from IKEA and I highly recommend it as it's really the only true gender neutral kitchen I was able to find, and is very sturdy. They also sell lots of little play food bits and pieces to accessorise with it, and the feet turn over so that you can adjust the height as the child grows. Even now my oldest will play with it from time to time when they're doing Cafes, and it used to keep them all quiet while I was cooking when they were toddlers. Enjoy!

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    2. Brilliant! Thank you Heidi, I will psych myself up for a potential visit to IKEA this weekend x

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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