Our main focus these past few months, in reimagining the layout of this house has been making all of the spaces as open and clutter free as possible. With the square footage being half the size as our last place the overall flow kind of depends on it. And while I’ve mentioned before that I welcome the challenge of living with less, and letting things go, it does take careful thought (and far more restraint) that I realized designing living quarters for a family of six. Especially when it comes to their bedrooms where I fully support letting them express themselves (I had those scanty Calvin Klein ads plastered on my walls and a T.S Elliot poem for good measure painted above my bed for God’s sake in jr. high) to a degree.
I know as kids get older self expression becomes more important and we have to give them the freedom to cultivate it, but I also feel like if you provide them a cool vibe and considered elements to start with, they will embrace that too. Or at least that’s been the case in my experience so far. When I try to (smart and chic) about incorporating art and aspects of all the things they like: surf, skate, music, art, space, dinosaurs, ect. It doesn’t all have to be shiny plastic posters and overstuffed bins.
In the main living areas it’s been fairly easy to find ways to open it up – we’ve taken down dividing walls, eliminated hallways, opened up ceilings and bathrooms, shrunken closets, added light with windows and widened door ways so the illusion of a larger, more connected space happens because of less obstructions. With furniture chosen carefully, practically, to ensure it doesn’t overpower the rooms we spend the most time in.
With the boy’s rooms, I’ve been struggling a bit to find the right balance. Leaning heavy on Shaker style bedrooms as my go to source of inspiration not because I plan on stripping away every little thing and forsaking all the odd knick knacks our kids love to cling to, or baring down on tonal wood, but more specifically focused on the idea of two twin beds, a shared desk, a chair, and pops of color in way of rugs or bedding to add visual intrigue. I love the how absolutely “essential” a Shaker set up feels. Even though I know we can’t ever get as minimal as the examples provided below, I’m a firm believer that our kids need way less (toys, clothes, gadgets, ect) than we sometimes tend to realize. What is most essential to me: smart storage space, a room they can breath in, surrounded by toys they actually play and books they actually read. Which is why I’m constantly wedding through the piles that accumulate over time to mindlessly overwhelm their toy bins and book shelves.
The first room that will be for Rex and Hayes is nearly complete – with bunks built into an existing closet nook to save as much floor space as possible and wall seating carved around a small circular table so a tiny room still feels inviting and fun. The second one we’re building this month for Arlo and Leon, will share similar features. Creative built in storage space, one small organized closet, a shared desk between the two twin beds and some art above their dresser to compliment both ages and tastes. In the meantime, I keep coming back to these shots as guiding inspo. To strip it down, ease up on decor and hopefully open up a space they feel content to relax in after a long day at the beach. To rest, dream and grow in.
Because the kids, I’m convinced, they can all live with less.