Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dream home

Sometimes, just sometimes, I daydream. I imagine that we have a big house... a playroom... a large garden... oodles of storage space - a garage, an attic, a basement. Then... then I imagine how we store, zone and rotate the children's toys, how we have a nature table, a dedicated messy area, an art studio, cosy reading nooks, a home corner, a tinker table and... my oh my - I do get a bit carried away. As you may have guessed I have a penchant for reading those gorgeous blogs with aspirational child-focussed yet stylish interiors, so it's no wonder I occasionally drift off into visions of a dream home...

But then I think - hang on a minute - I love our home. Yes, it's small; we have no attic, basement, garage or playroom and only a tiny backyard - but when I really think about it I realise that this is the perfect house for our family. I remember how I actually enjoy the challenge of finding the best ways of using the space; ways that nurture play and adventure, learning and working, relaxing and socialising. The rooms have to be multi-functional and we have thrived here - a happy family within its parameters. Its limitations have encouraged us to think creatively and as a result we definitely get the best out of it.

The grown-ups' bedroom is by no means a child-free area. It has, in the last couple of months alone, been a hospital, a lion's den and a snowy mountain, with Arctic animals and Lego snow speeders. And it's the official Trampoline Room of course - but I think all homes have one of those, don't they?

Our spare room is an office, a music studio and guest bedroom. It is not a dumping ground for the laundry, luggage, outgrown clothes and broken toys. It is not.

The dark entrance hall has been the perfect setting for our Little Light Theatre and the landing is simply the place for long HotWheels track set-ups.

By day, the living room is full of train tracks, marble runs, Lego constructions, books, large art installations and home-made dens. It has, on many occasions, been a pet parlour, a general store, an obstacle course, a light-sabre battle zone, a library, a yoga space, a dance studio and a cinema.

Our dining table - where I write - is not only our work station but also our sewing, craft, printing, drawing, painting and spelling-practice surface. Occasionally we eat at it too.

Our little garden is just as versatile; we take all our play out there if the weather is fine, and the wet and really messy stuff goes on out there too. We try to grow flowers and herbs - although I do tend to kill most plants in the end. The squirrels, bugs and birds that find themselves within its leafy confines are luckier - they can leave when they will, but we love to observe their comings and goings.

The kitchen is the one room in our house that sticks to tradition; it is small, so there's little scope for alternatives. Of course we involve the children in the usual cooking and baking, washing up and laundry that goes on in there. The wine drinking and wind-down chat of the later evening? Not so much.

So who needs a playroom? Our whole home is a playroom. And that's just the way we like it.

[We've joined It's Playtime this week. Pop over to see who else is playing.]


  1. What a nice post! It is so great to realize that what you have it just what you need. I have been thinking the exact same thing about my house. My favorite part right now is the little 3 year old next door who frequently knocks on our door.

  2. How fab to have a little one popping over for a chat - love that! It would be great if we had neighbours with kids. Our next door neighbour is an early-morning saxophonist. x

  3. I love this! And I know what you mean about fantasising about those playspaces. After 10 years in my own classroom I struggle sometimes! But like you, i do try for little nooks here and there, and I totally agree that the whole house is the play space!

  4. I loved reading this. I also have a small house and daydream regularly about the "next house" and play spaces for my children. I laughed out loud and your thoughts of storage spaces because this is almost more of a problem for me than the play space. I want an art cabinet and art room. I do what I can with what I have and also sometimes pause and remind myself we create play all over. My room was a large birds nest made of pillows and blankets today, complete with two baby birds. Thank you again for the post, I could totally relate to it!


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