Considerations for designing a home for a large family
Once upon a time the standard Perth home consisted of three bedrooms, one bathroom and one family room, and although we lived this way for many years, the need for more space became increasingly apparent, with additional rooms regularly being tacked on to cater for growing families.
Fast forward to 2018 and the new norm is more bedrooms, more bathrooms and living on a grander scale; but more and bigger isn’t the only answer for large families. Designing a home for a large family calls for an innovative approach to home design, one that embraces each family’s situation and provides comfortable and functional living.
First things first, before you even start to design your new home, think about how to balance the size of your house compared to the size of your block; do you crave outdoor living space or is the thought of maintaining a garden enough to ruin your weekends for life? Do you need to consider your pets or your children’s play needs or is a larger house, where all the action will take place indoors, more suitable for your family? Once you have this balance right, you can move onto your planning and design stage with confidence.
Whether you plan on building a single story or double story home, the planning stage is the best time to incorporate space maximising ideas into the design. Start by thinking about the extra rooms or areas you would like to have, these might include a study nook or IT zone for the kids, a mudroom to store raincoats, sporting gear, school bags, shoes etc., an activity room or games room so the kids have their own space, which can be closed off to contain the noise (or mess!) and a scullery to keep any kitchen mess or clutter out of sight.
Sculleries are particularly practical for large households and have almost become a non-negotiable part of the kitchen in most new homes. When designing yours, ensure it has enough benchtop space for meal preparation plus a sink and a dishwasher if possible.
Adding rooms and zones to a floor plan is a great way to ensure you have enough space for your family’s needs today and as it grows, but another equally important consideration is storage; and this too can be factored in at the planning stage.
Work with the designer to maximise storage wherever possible, such as adding overhead cupboards and extra storage space in the kitchen. Think about adding a breakfast bar to allow several people to utilise the area at once. The breakfast bar can also be used as a snack zone, or even a homework station.
Consider raising the ceiling height throughout the home by a few courses to offer extra space to utilise in areas like the pantry, cupboards and wardrobes. Raising the ceilings will also give the home an overall sense of generosity and airiness that will make the home feel bigger.
The laundry is another key storage zone. Ensure your laundry is a functional space with room for hanging clothes to dry or for ironing, a built-in laundry hamper and ironing board, plus secure or raised storage for those keep out of reach items.
An often overlooked treasure trove of storage is within the garage. Add shelving, wall hanging devices and lockable cupboards to your garage space to keep tools, home maintenance and car equipment and sporting gear within easy reach and out of the backyard. Keep in mind the garage is considered a Class 10A building, and as a result, garages are not required to be weatherproof.
And finally, round out your storage with built in wardrobes in all bedrooms as well as built in shelving in living areas and kid’s zones, for storing toys, books, magazine and electronic devices.
Designing a new home for a large family is the perfect opportunity to build in sanity saving storage, hidden nooks and generous rooms and entertaining areas, giving you the opportunity to create a large yet intimate space where your family can grow in comfort for many years to come.