Designing my 5 year olds dream home.

In our line of work you get to spend a lot of your day – listening to what people are looking for in a home. Discussing where they want to live, their budget, how much space they want, and a lot about what they need in a home.  If you are really lucky and have taken the time you get into the meat of it… What they love to do in their space, what they want their space to feel and look like, and how they want to feel when they are in it.

You quickly realize how seldom in the home buying journey do customers get to truly design a home for the way they want to live in a home. It seems that we are conditioned to approach home buying like any major purchase; like a grown up, we consider mundane things like resale value and what others would find acceptable in our home. 

Getting to design a home yourself, or with a designer is something we often don’t consider within our reach or ability.  It is both exciting and powerful to offer families that experience. People often know bedrooms, bathrooms, location, budget, the basics… when pushed further they know items like if they want a garage, size of kitchen, orientation of spaces maybe, but it’s still a rare person who approaches home building saying I want a home designed for the way I want to live, what I enjoy doing, how I enjoy doing it and made just for me.

I got thinking about this a lot when my five year old, at that stage of interest in knowing what Mommy works at daily, asked me to help her design her home. I told her no problem, I’d schedule an appointment for her when we both had some time because designing a home is not something you want to rush.

A few evenings later we curled up in a cozy spot with tea, pencils, graph paper, lined paper, white paper and an IPAD. We started by talking a little about why she wanted a home, “To have a space to myself where I can still be close to mommy and daddy”, when asked if she felt this might be too soon at five years old, she replied “No, because my sister (18) is designing her house” and sparing an argument, (It’s important to never crush the dreaming process too early in the design phase) we moved into me asking her what would be the best way for her to share her ideas about a home.

Would she like to show me pictures (IPAD), talk out her ideas (LIST), show me her feelings about it (DRAWING), or get down to the nuts and bolts with drawing a space (GRAPH PAPER). She told me she had a lot of ideas, so we decided that maybe listing them would be a good place to start so she didn’t lose the flow of her ideas.

When it comes to listing ideas the straight list certainly gets them all in one place – but when it comes to listing for a home design there are some really fun exercise you can do to start understanding your needs and desires and then physically arranging the lists to see how you want them to interact with each other. We’ll discuss that further in a separate post, but with my daughter we choose this method to help group thoughts as they arrived.

Space for Friends

She wanted space for seven people in her home. Why seven? Herself, her three kids, and all of her kids would have friends visit so they all needed bunk beds….but only her room “the grown up room” needed to be a separate bedroom, the kids could have a bunk room (good choice given she may be paying for his room for a long time before all three of her children arrive!)

She liked having choices

She wanted two bathrooms in her house – one for her, one for the kids, but both of them needed to be able to do tubs and showers – just like my bathroom, not just showers because she liked having choices.

We like to be together

Luna told me she would be doing her Kitchen, Eating and Living all together, because it would save space and she would like to spend time with her kids.

We like to do stuff

She needed an office, just private for herself, and a space to do her crafts with her family, which can take up a lot of space so we left that in an uncertain category if she truly needed a separate room or if she could accomplish this with smart storage in her dining room to stretch that space into an occasional craft room.

When we got to her “grown up” room she had really clear ideas.

I need bouncing room

It went something like this “I like to bounce on my bed A LOT, I am not like you grown-ups who do no bouncing – so I need my bed to be low to the ground, but then very high overtop so I don’t hit my head, I can’t bounce in your room cause I hit the fan.”

I like to sleep in a cave

Luna went on…” Then I need there to be a cover that comes over the bed when I am not bouncing, cause I like to sleep in a cave.”

“Then I want you to make sure there are NO corners in my room, at all, I want you to cut all the corners off so there are no hard places to hurt myself when I bounce”

Don't forget the pet

“… and room for a dog, so I can snuggle him if I feel lonely”

We get it at 5

And here is where I got blown away – this is exactly you are looking for when someone talks to you about design – you want to understand truly what they love – what they want to do and how they dream about using their space – because only then can you design it perfectly –and if they love the idea that much, they’ve probably already got ½ the design work done.

When you are five – you know that, you can dream easily and expect that the world just be made to fit your needs.  As we age – we tend to lose sight of it… and we start to “colour inside the lines” and work within the world of what is considered “normal” or what is available. We often lose imagination or the confidence to build on it.

Listening is always inspiring

Listening to my little girl inspires me to encourage home owners.  Tell us all about that room you dream of – that space you love and what you want to do with your home – so that we can design it exactly for you.  Your dream builder will help you get as many of the spaces imagine in your home while working within budget.  Come in for your design session, come with the enthusiasm of a five year old – who knows exactly what she’s dreaming of and forge bravely into that great customer chat!