Kids that stay at home, but aren’t in the way

Prices are rising for capital city houses, many grown up children now facing the prospect of living in the family home for years after finishing school. However, living at home doesn’t have to mean living on top of your parents.

Many parents are converting underused spaces in their homes to “kid pads” allowing their kids to work and save for a deposit, or simply live in the family home indefinitely. Converting a garage is a good place to start with many city houses having a garage but generally not being used to park a car. You can get lots of natural light into the garage by adding large glass bifolding doors or windows. If you decide to go down this option, take a look at Brio for their range of high quality door hardware for bifold doors and windows. The good thing about garages is they often have lighting and installed already and a concrete floor that can be polished to give you instant style.

Got an old pool house that is now redundant? If you’ve filled in your pool to create more outdoor entertaining space, have you considered converting this into a rad bachelor pad? That’s what the parents of 23 year old Andrew Birch decided to do with stunning results. It didn’t take much to transform the then home of the pool net and sun beds to a modern studio pad complete with sliding glass doors and sun deck, room for a king sized bed and all the study space you could hope for. Andrew is loving having his own space and the close connection to his family while he studies full time at university and plays rugby for Oxford.

Converting a barn can be great option if you live in a rural or semi-rural setting. That’s exactly what Kath Rando did when she returned pretty much broke from a two year mountain biking sojourn through New Zealand and Canada. She needed rent free place to live while she worked on replenishing those bank accounts. Luckily her parents were kind enough to offer her the use of the barn on the back of their property just outside London. Previously the barn was home to a large assortment of old beds, furniture and impressive amount of mice and rats. Kath, who is an interior architect by trade, initially worked on restoring the space to a liveable condition before imparting her own personal style to the space. She also saved a lot of money by using the existing barn doors in the design. These were taken off, re finished and sealed with a weather proof coating. They were then re-hung on high quality Brio sliding door tracks to give many years of effortless function. Kath is very happy in the barn, and is even thinking about staying put longer term.

So there you have it. There are many ways to have your kids stay at home but be out of your hair (most of the time), and in this crazy property market, surely that’s a good thing for everyone.

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Creating more study space at home

Adding and extension or renovating your home to create more dedicated study space for your kids is a noble and important thing to do. It can however be quite overwhelming and scary if you don’t do your homework or go in over your head. It doesn’t need to be though, with the right advice and some careful planning adding more space for study or play can add quality living space for your enjoyment and serious financial value.

No matter the scale of your addition or renovation, the first step is always to engage a professional architect or building designer. Every extension needs a custom design solution to be devised for the individual property and desired outcomes. Therefore, steer clear of trying to design the addition yourself, as getting this step wrong spells trouble later down the track.

You also need to ask yourself, who am I building it for? Is it to create more study space for a growing brood? How long will the kids hang around at home? These are the big questions that you need to be clear about, rather than a whole bunch of random things you have collected as references. The next question you have to ask yourself , is do you have enough room to extend? Adding a small extra study space or bedroom may not take much space but adding a living or kitchen space will chew up valuable outdoor space. If you don’t have a lot of space to play with, consider adding a second story for added study space. Just be aware that adding a level will require quite a bit of work in terms of supporting the new structure.

Once you have answered these questions clearly, you need to start thinking about the actual look. Should the addition match the existing house?In my opinion, unless the existing house is modern and of certain style already, no, go crazy and have some fun with it. Chances are even if you try to match the existing house, it won’t quite be believable anyway. The key here is to make the distinction between old and new as concise and deliberate as possible. For example, if renovating an old terrace house, don’t try to match the look, but rather create a modern study space that is its own character. A very modern and stylish way to make this distinction is to include large glazed bifold doors or sliding doors that can be completely opened up to remove any barrier, but clearly define the transition between old and new. Brio make a huge range of to notch door hardware for bifold doors of all shapes and sizes.

Another benefit to going modern, is that older homes generally aren’t so good for their solo passive qualities. Understanding where south is and designing appropriately around this, will give you more light and warmth without having to rely on artificial heating or cooling as much. It’s a great opportunity to increase the amount of glazing in the home to maximise natural light and let study be a fun activity. Just be aware to use quality double glazed glass.

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