I’ve always approached this house as one to be grown into….adapted as the family gets both bigger and older. It’s what architects might call a house with ‘flexible’ spaces. (And I know that because I watch Homes on 4.) Which is just as well really as it accommodates not just a growing family but, more challenging still, a lady of the house who all too frequently changes her mind.
Our kitchen, for example, has been switched around a few times as we’ve re-thought how the space should be laid out. Of course, the units themselves have moved nowhere but the space towards the rear of the room, which accommodates areas for both eating and lounging, has been swapped about a few times. It was designed, on paper, to have a banquette in one corner and a sofa facing it at the opposite end. The need for a radiator along the ‘banquette wall’ put paid to that idea but once the build started to take shape we realised anyway that the plan was flawed and it wouldn’t have worked. Possibly if we’d gone with a squat square or circular table that might have fitted in the space neatly enough, but we opted instead for a rectangular extendable eBay find that seats ten, twelve at a push, and was we believed a necessity for the dinner parties and family gatherings we hoped we’d have. (And yes, I’m thrilled to say, it really has earned its keep.) So a banquette would have been an expensive and fairly useless addition in that configuration, seating about three and a half people.
So we slid the table up the opposite end of the room, popped the sofa in the snug and created a little seating ‘nook’ with the now infamous ‘care home’ chairs. And that worked well enough I’d thought …though I know S wasn’t as keen.
It was swapped about again on the suggestion of a friend….an arrangement we’ve largely kept other than a switching about of plants and side tables. And now, with Baby A on the move and needing somewhere soft and safe upon which he can play, we have done away with coffee tables altogether and instead put down a vintage rug which had been given to us about five years ago by my mother in law and had been, since the work started on our extension, living in the loft.
Silky and soft underfoot it’s working rather well with the green accents in the room ….but admittedly isn’t pairing particularly well with the sofa shrouded in its IKEA grey throws. (The blue fabric underneath would probably not work much better…..though praps I should try it?) So I’m rethinking the area again…..the decorating domino effect of which blogger Swoon Worthy so often speaks….
Other changes we have made in the three years since the major refurb work was completed (where has the time gone?) have included scooting the office downstairs to make way for a nursery and thinking and re-thinking the function of our snug. It has never quite found its feet but I have a further plan up my sleeve, or rather, in the back of a Parcelforce van. A patterned rug and little side table are winding their way to me from La Redoute (a clothing catalogue shop which does homewares too…who knew? Turns out Mad About the House did….as she does many things actually…. and her flagging up of their 40% off sale made the splurge feel 40% guilt-free!) But more about that in a forthcoming post….
O’s room has had a fair few re-arrangements too, particularly since he moved out of his cot bed and into his big-boy version. And whilst all seem happy with current sleeping arrangements (all small people that is…..us big people are resigned to the fact that in all likelihood we won’t be getting any sleep for at least another, what? Ten years?) in all probability there will be more re-arranging to come. In fact, it’s been planned out by a four-year old already. “Baby A can sleep on the bottom and me on the top. Am I talking a good idea? When will he grow up? Now he’s all squidgy but he’ll be a good brother when he’s big…….”.
Baby A’s squidgyness is certainly one of his redeeming features but I’ll echo O and say his current size, volume and inquisitiveness is posing a challenge….particularly where interior design is concerned.
Drawers are one area of contention…and as we opted to have lots within our kitchen design, plus there’s a few upstairs within my dressing table too, it’s becoming a regular problem. Baby A uses their handles to pull himself up to standing, and once at half-pint height, proceeds to wreak havoc on the contents within by jolting them violently back and forwards, thrilled at the sound of their clashing and innocently unsuspecting of the dangers his action pose to his little fingers.
The oven is also a problem area. Despite it being situated at chest height rather than ‘under the counter’ as most are, it is still not completely out of his reach and so poses a danger whenever it happens to be on and he fancies pulling himself up to say hello to the baby appearing behind its glass. The fridge and dishwasher also act as magnets and at the very whisper of them opening he appears stealthily beside you like a hologram, to investigate.
I’m fearful that one day he may find himself getting an eco-rinse or social services may come a-knocking if they get wind of the fact that the other day he proceeded to help himself to a light ale within the fridge door.
The frame wall has already partly gone, despite it being almost three years in the making. The bottom tier is now being stored under a bed until he stops using it as leverage in which to stand and gleefully drum against the glass of the frames.
The laundry cupboard is another area that he gravitates towards. The minute the door is open your hear a rapid pitter patter of his hands and knees as he races towards you to have a peek into the drum and a good ol’ twiddle of the knobs and buttons.
The larder is another favourite area, the spice rack in particular, and again once the door is open he is beside you like a shot. His fascination seems to be in removing and replacing the jars from the rack, an activity which is infinitely more exciting than playing with the explosion of toys on the rug, though it comes with the risk of unwittingly discovering the culinary delights of chilli or cayenne.
In the same vein, the pull out cupboard can serve as a bit of a godsend when he’s at his shouty loudest as I can pull it out and let him rummage within it, but only now that I have carefully curated what is on the bottom shelves. Before I realised what he was up to he was contributing to the national sugar crisis by happily sucking away at the lid of the Golden Syrup bottle before moving on to the gluey brown spiciness of the Daddy’s Sauce.
And much to the bemusement of our guests, chairs are currently laid on their side to act as a barricade protecting the large palm from exploratory starfish hands. The clank of the decorative pebbles lying atop the soil against terracotta of the pot is always the giveaway, as is the cheeky look and mischievous chuckle he throws over one shoulder if he thinks he might have been rumbled.
So against this havoc wreaked by a one year old (I’ll say it again…..where does the time go?) I’ve a few decorating projects on the cards. Some could be a disaster…..for example, inspired once again by popular culture, this time from the BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge, and despite ruling it out as a bonkers idea a year or so ago I’m going to take the plunge and paint the fabric of a care-home chair. I’m also going to play with pattern in the snug. I’m going to paint out the spare room. And I’m going to re-shuffle the lounge.
Watch this (sticky-fingered) space……