Renovating in a baby friendly way(27 Posts)
Helll helpful MNetters
I have a 4 month old son and an ageing
hideous townhouse that we bought just before he was born terrible timing but nevermind
It was a probate sale and needs a fair amount of doing up - we've just had the planning permission approved for the structural components so are turning our minds to the finishings, materials, layouts of each room etc.
So - my question - what should and shouldn't we be building in to make it as easy as possible when my little tearaway son starts to be mobile?Am thinking things like floors not being too hard, building in locks on kitchen cupboards etc. I figure we have a golden opportunity to advance baby proof our house! It's a fairly standard townhouse - informal kitchen/diner/living space on the ground floor, formal sitting room in the 1st and then bedrooms above. Bifolds out to garden in the back.
TIA - any thoughts much appreciated.
I wouldn't build in anything. They're only babies for a while.
You can attach removable catches to cupboards.
Ime of having children you need to have some big cupboards for all their crap, somewhere to record info and nursery/school messages and put up their "special" pictures (see also built in recycling facilities), somewhere safe where they can play while you cook (they will always gravitate towards you!!) and somewhere for you to escape to as a grown up (so avoid completely open plan).
Hard floors are perfect for tearing about on wheely things.
I second what MovingOnUpMovingOnOu
As for the floor being hard - you can soften areas with nice rugs (which can be thrown in the washing machine or cleaned outside if need be). In a lot of places (other countries) people only have hard floors and the children are fine.
Hard floors = easy to clean!
Also, much better for playing cars on as they move much faster!
It depends. They are only babies for a while but if you intend to have a batch of them, then that can span over a decade. We have a lock on the utility door, that's been the most useful. Some high shelving to keep dangerous things out of reach. Built in storage to hide the ridiculous number of toys is helpful. Hard floors are better for robot hoovers (just saying).
One thing that delighted our DC when they were small was that we painted a blackboard strip (about 2.5 feet high) all along one bedroom wall, with a chalk holder piece of wood all along the bottom of it. They had great fun with it - and we used to creep in in the night to put birthday wishes on the board!
Just as a word of caution, we covered a huge amount of the breakfast room in chalk paint an d it take f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to sand down to paint over it. It was fun while we had it though.
Hard floors are also better for dealing with spillages. I still have playdoh/deep pile carpet nightmares!
We have put some slide bolts on the top of some doors just out of reach of small children but tall enough for bigger ones to have some privacy in the loo. We got ds to stand and reach before putting the bolt on "oh dear, has daddy screwed it on in the wrong place? It's just a bit too high? Never mind, poor daddy's not very good at diy" <evil>
Somewhere to dry and sort laundry is imperative because they make so much mess!
We have masses of built in storage, and it's amazing with 2 dc. One can never have too much storage.
I'd go for hard floors over carpets - my carpet is covered in numerous unidentifiable stains that even professional carpet cleaning companies cannot remove.
Having done this, cupboards, lots of high shelves and cupboards, ensure the kitchen can be partitioned off - BabyDan stair gate fences are great for fencing off building sites, computer and TV corners, kitchen area. Toddlers and preschoolers took it all in their stride. A room for you to relax while other rooms are in chaos is important!
I love my Amtico floors - crockery doesn't break, easy to clean.
You can't pad the planet. The ground is hard. Perhaps not white carpets for a few years.
If you have an open plan ground floor I once saw a picture of a sunken area that meant toys could be kept there and then the floor put back. I can't find a picture now - but basically it was a large square, deep enough that round the edge was a step/seat, then in the bottom was te play area. When not in use a piece of floor went back. I guess it was sort of like a sandpit cover. Always thought this would be great, but didn't see it until after house renovations.
Second all the comments above - don't build for a small child/baby as that phase doesn't last long... We have tiled floors throughout the downstairs of our house and wooden floors upstairs. I hated the tiled floor when we moved in, but it has been so practical for potty training 3 kids! It's also great for clearing up thrown food, spilled drinks etc. I wouldn't have anything else now.
I'd definitely go for tons of storage - either built in or plenty of wall space where you can fit units like the Ikea Trofast or something (great for storing toys). And I like being able to shut off the kitchen in some way - gate or door (we've had both).
Thank you! All very helpful. Hear you all on the hard floors. What would you recommend? I assume concrete is too hard. Wood? Laminate? Tiles? And would you have hard floors in kids bedrooms (seems so cold!) or carpets?
DS is number 1 of (we hope) at least a couple more so we are anticipating being in very small human phase for at least a few more years.
aftershock that is an AMAZING idea - as it turns out we have a raised ground floor section which is earmarked to be the kids play area so that would work perfectly!
blossom love the idea of the chalk strip too. So long as it doesn't give DS ideas about being able to write on walls
We will have a separate utility room so will be sure to build in a lock.
Thanks all - this is very helpful!!
Chalk comes off normal walls easily if needed - I know from experience
We've always had carpets in children's bedrooms with no major incidents. I like carpet in bedrooms for coziness.
As long as you have a table with a hard floor/rug/floor covering thing under it you'll probably be ok for carpet in other areas if you want. We've had carpet in the sitting room which hasn't been trashed, but it's nice to be able to spill paint/playdoh/tomato pasta from the dining table without fear.
Depending on your windows I would put child restrictor hinges on them (adult can open them wide though if you need to get out for a fire). Also toilet layout - an easy flush on the loo and easy for the child to.go wash their hands. Our separate loo that is the old lever type and a door that blocks the entrance to our bathroom drives me around the bend. If you have space, then put a loo downstairs too. I probably wouldn't put in an instant boiling water tap either. And mixer taps throughout. Ooh and a digital shower as you can turn on the shower OUTSIDE the shower without getting wet. And of course places to.put lots of coats, shoes, wellies, hats and gloves.
I'll back what's been said above. Baby proofing is a myth, storage and wipeablility are the most important things to think about with kids!
I have wood effect laminate now in the children's bedroom. In the previous house DC1 had an impressive sick incident and it wasn't pretty. Here I had thrown one rug away from her room too. But at least we didn't have to get a carpet cleaner. Ditto with play doh in bedrooms.
Your hall will get trashed quickly - use wipeable paint at the very least in all of the downstairs. Storage for the living room - with 3 floors you don't want to constantly have to cart thing up and downstairs. A laundry room ideally.
We don't have carpet anywhere except our bedroom. It seems to have made a big difference to DS1's asthma.
I would go for really tough wipeable paint everywhere and very sturdy floor covering in the hall; tiles ideally. We have wood and it has taken a battering.
When mine were small they quite enjoyed standing up in the bath and being showered down, so a shower attachment over the bath is useful. I was always very taken with those little kids' loos but thought we wouldn't get the use out of it. But with four kids over 12 years we probably would have.
Hall storage, wooden floors downstairs, carpet upstairs, downstairs loo if you can have one, play room / area with sight line to kitchen, tower mounted over, separate utility with quiet appliances, storage, storage and more storage. Toddler friendly garden with sturdy fence & lockable gates to drive or side of house etc so its a completely enclosed garden at back, front gate, avoiding steps other than main stairs if possible, keeping your first floor lounge as a child free zone if possible.
We had (nice) carpet tiles in the kids : playroom. Bought a few spares at the same time for potential accidents. You can swap a new one with a yucky one. It's a hard - ish surface but not too hard.
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