Amazing Mum Design Hacks

We are so lucky to have a collaborative relationship with our clients.  Every client brings some unique interest, research or functionality to their projects and we particularly love learning from each of our client’s design hacks! For Mother’s Day this year, we interviewed four of the amazing mums we have the privilege of working with, to discover what matters to them when designing a home to suit them & their families!

Meet Christine

Living in a simple post war home on a sloping site in Bardon with two teenage boys, one renovation over 17 years ago and her long awaited Stage two about to start, Christine’s advice can be summed up like this: Be happy with less, but buy quality!

Christine’s top tips include:

01. Be patient.

You don’t have to have your dream home too early in life!  Christine thinks it’s great for her kids to not be surrounded by luxury early in life and to learn the art of saving and of waiting for that hard won reward.

02. Buy Quality

At the same time, Christine stresses it is SO important to buy quality!  This has seen them squeeze every bit of life out of their 17 year old renovation.  They engaged an architect for Stage 1 and you can tell – the finishes, materials and thinking have aged really well.

03. Function over Size

Don’t aim for size – aim for great functionality.  Christine didn’t aim for a large house in her brief (because…cleaning!), but she did aim for lots of functionality – great storage, great flexibility and the capacity to rearrange and use spaces for multiple uses.

04. Foster Independence

Lastly, when her oldest -Will – was around 9 she noticed he wanted more independence – to play safely nearby, but not feel like Mum was looking over his shoulder.  Christine recommends creating spaces for kids to play and entertain friends with some privacy!

Meet Belinda

With four busy young kids from 3 to 12 years old, a menagerie of pets, flourishing gardens on a rural site and a shift working position at the local hospital, when it came time for Belinda to design her forever home, she was passionate about finding a way to organise the chaos.   Belinda’s top tips are:

01. Future Proof

Talk to people who are further along the road of life than you, to make sure you are building your future needs into your current home.

02. Consult the Kids

Belinda and Darren consulted with the kids on the home.  With some of their kids on the spectrum, it was really critical that the design and finishes of the home were sensitive to their needs.  Acoustically soft interiors, good insulation and lots of nooks and crannies to allow kids to escape and enjoy the home at their own pace.

03. Sensor Lights

Sensor lights in the hallways and the kid’s bathroom has the benefit of giving the kids a sense of safety at night and also reducing overhead lights and disruption to the home.

04. Create Opportunity for Interaction

When chatting with other parents, Belinda loved the advice that some teenagers hide away in their rooms and need a little encouragement to talk!  Her home is organised around a long central corridor, so linen cupboards are located at the end of the home, so that she has a purpose to ‘visit’ her older kids rooms without making them feel checked up on.

Check out up to date construction pics of the Glenview Farmhouse here!

Meet Sarah

As a self employed mum of two toddlers who has renovated and moved more times than she can count, Sarah is passionate about sharing her insights into houses that have worked and houses that haven’t!  Currently in Melbourne and dreaming of the day she can get back to sunny Queensland with its large back yards, Sarah gave us her top tips!

01. Make your home forgiving

Picture this: eco friendly wooden toys, splayed casually over an appealingly tidy home, while matching pastel clothed toddlers, peacefully play together in the dancing natural daylight.

Then forget it.

The reality of life with toddlers is THE OPPOSITE. So plan to make your home forgiving.  Give yourself cupboards, mud rooms and toy storage that can be put away, closed up easily so that when the kids go to bed, you can enjoy a peaceful night in.

02. Ground Level Living

After years in a two storey inner city home, Sarah loves a yard straight off the kitchen on ground level.  It is valuable because it allows the kids to play independently while you can still monitor them.

03. No Stairs

Speaks for itself really!  While not practical for smaller inner city sites, if you’re lifting a Queenslander and building under – even if there is a view – build your living level at ground and make the most of your yard!

04. Skip the Kettle

Super simple, but an instant cold and hot water system (Zip or Billi) will set you back around $3,500 but makes bottle making a breeze!

Meet Rachel

With three fun, active boys from 10 – 17 this family has learned how to do a lot with a small space.  Their renovation completed in late 2019 is a beautiful example of what can be achieved with modest, well planned space. Rachel’s top tips for thriving in a home with three boys are:

01. Personal Responsibility

Rachel and her partner Simon describe this as ‘being a consistent bad ass’.  If the kids didn’t clean up when they were young, their stuff was loaded into baskets and dropped in their room for them to deal with.  The kids have learned that there is a reward for everyone getting stuck in and doing their bit.

02. Dump Drawers

To make life simpler, Rachel’s new home was designed with large oversized drawers at the entry.  She has two for all her stuff – keys, bags, crockery and every few weeks she gets in and sorts them out.  The boy’s have a drawer too, so that when they leave their stuff lying around the kitchen/dining area, it gets pushed into their drawer – if they want it, they have to find it and sort it out!

03. Size doesn’t matter, but storage does!

Their home retired the original worker’s cottage to the boy’s bedroom wing, which meant the bedrooms were limited in size by the existing footprint of the home.  Rachel opted for floor to ceiling (over 3m high) robes which gives each of the bedrooms ample storage. The rumpus room attached to the boy’s wing of the house is cosy but the added functionality of lots of power & data means the boys can relax, spread their stuff out and play with screens.

04. A hard working kitchen bench

Rather than a traditional kitchen & dining room, Rachel knew that one amazing island bench that doubled as both would suit how they live.  This kitchen is genuinely the heart of this extension, and Rachel’s brief included lots of power and data to make this great not only for breakfast, but also for homework.

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