When your kids are young, it is easy to bundle them and their friends all together into shared spaces. However, as they enter the teen years, that need for a sense of independence becomes very important—at least to the teen! Our clients have a family of three kids, two girls and one boy. As their son, who is the eldest, began having friends over, our clients decided it was time to give him his own space away from his sisters. Their little-used lower level offered the perfect opportunity to create a teenage boy bedroom suite.
The goal was to design a space that reflected their son’s personality. Whenever we work with a client, we take the time to get to know them, ensuring we create a space that reflects them. For this young man, we asked him about his interests and what he wanted to be able to do in his new bedroom suite. He is a masculine and athletic person, so we played those traits up in our design.
His love of basketball weighed heavily in our design of the more public parts of his bedroom suite. The entry to the space was large enough for an activity area, so we laid rubber flooring intend for use in a recreational area and placed a hoop on a wall with a large basketball graphic for him to play a bit of indoor hoops. We included a beverage and snack station area as well to keep him and his friends hydrated and full—not an easy task as any parent of a teenage boy can tell you!
From the basketball area visitors enter a hall into the main gathering space. Here we took advantage of an empty wall and brought in another one of the teen’s interests—collecting athletic shoes. We installed a display unit custom-designed for his collection. The shelving was built into the wall to keep it from invading the walking space, and included lighting to highlight the colorful collection. This feature turned out to be the highlight of the design by not only bringing in a large visual impact, but by making the teen feel like his space truly supported his interests.
The main lounging area centered around a large sectional in a durable neutral fabric for TV-viewing, video gaming playing and hanging out. We added a table and chairs to a side area as well for games, homework, etc.
The bedroom is a separate space off the TV area and was designed to support his downtime. Since he was clear about the look he was going for—dark colors with a sleek, modern feel—we painted walls dark gray and installed wallpaper with silver geometric patterns on one wall to balance the rich color. Modern furniture pieces like a platform bed and simple computer desk and chair support the masculine vibe and were chosen by the teen and his mom from mail-order catalogs. Cantilever shelving above his bed provides plenty of room for his many trophies as well as an opportunity to hang artwork. Fortunately, the space has a lot of light from an egress window which keeps the dark colors from getting gloomy. His mom even planted a lovely garden in the space outside the window so his view would not feel like the basement.
Our clients felt it was important to create a comfortable space for their son to express his interests and entertain his friends. We had a lot of fun helping him discover his style, and bringing his personality into his bedroom suite. Questions about this project? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
Living in a smaller space seems like it is becoming a popular trend, particularly for millennials and empty nesters. More and more, we at Hoskins Interior Design are getting calls from homeowners looking to maximize a small house rather than spread out into a traditional large home. For us, we use the same design principals for small spaces as large ones. What changes is the precision which must be applied as there is less room for each element. Each bit of space must be maximized for both functionality and aesthetics to ensure the home is comfortable for those who live there.
Creating Functionality in a Small House:
A space is functional if it supports the way you live, and this functionality is the key to your happiness with your small space. Every one of us uses our home differently, so if you have purchased a house designed around someone else’s life, chances are it will not suit you. Don’t be afraid to make changes, like taking out a bunch of drawers in a bathroom because you need shelving instead. Just because an element looks nice and worked for the previous owner does not mean it is appropriate for you!
Kitchens and bathrooms tend to cause the greatest amount of angst when it comes to designing for a small home. Below we offer some ideas to consider for your project:
Designing for a Small Kitchen
We promise—big cooks can live happily in a small house. All it takes is planning. You will want to consider the flow you need to prepare dishes and allow guests or family to hang out with you. However, what will really lead to your culinary dream is maximizing your storage. Our design approach begins with figuring out which tools and gadgets the cook will be using most, and making sure they are accessible within arm’s reach. Rarely-used items can be stored in low or high cabinets that require bending down or a step-stool.
The secret to storage is using your vertical space wisely. We take the upper cabinets all the way up to the ceiling in small kitchens, and are methodical about the types of cabinets we choose. How many drawers are needed? How many shelves? What exactly needs to be stored in each? We work with expert cabinet makers to ensure we take advantage of the specific styles available to maximize the guts of the cabinetry.
For example, we are currently designing a kitchen remodel in a small home located in Broad Ripple. The homeowner is an avid cook and was asking about how we could include a good-sized pantry in his new space. His existing 24” deep pantry is not helpful as the items in the back get lost. We plan to install fold-out cabinet inserts instead which will triple the amount of available storage and keep all items within sight.
Other opportunities to customize the insides of cabinetry include sliding inserts that allow for double storage in utensil drawers, vertically-oriented spice racks that nest within a bank of cabinets, appliance-specific cabinets such as those for standing mixers, and pull out shelving which really helps with the scary stuff hidden under your sink. There is no dead space allowed in a small kitchen!
Designing for a Small Bathroom
Americans love their large, spa-inspired bathrooms. However, we can create a similar feeling of serenity in a small bathroom as well. The key again is understanding how you function in the space. Do you need a lot of drawers or does shelving work better for your morning and evening rituals? What size bottles do you tend to use? Do you need to store hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers, etc.? Just like for a kitchen, there are specialty cabinet options designed to address bathroom storage needs. Creating a logical place for all your accouterments will make your time in the space more enjoyable.
One space homeowners tend to forget about in the bathroom is within the walls. Updated medicine cabinets can be installed into a wall, offering additional hidden shelving space. We can also build open shallow shelving into a wall, or create niches in a shower.
Unlike in a large space, you may have to weigh the importance of the amenities you would like in your small bathroom. If there is a tub in another bathroom in the house, you may want to opt for a large shower instead of having both. If soaking is a large part of your life, then creating a shower/bath design may be a better route. Finally, if you plan to stay in the house for a long time, we suggest planning for the future by adding elements that accommodate limited mobility as you age.
Creating a Beautiful Small Home:
Being comfortable in your smaller space is not just about functionality—the style has to suit you as well. Whether a home “looks right” or not has a lot to do with scale. The furniture you purchased for your large home will most likely not suit the smaller space. With the popularity of tiny homes has come a growth in the amount of “apartment-sized” furniture. Take advantage of these options to ensure your space does not look too full.
In a large space, there is more room for superfluous pieces of furniture—pieces that you love but are not necessarily comfortable. In a small home, each item has an important role both stylistically and functionally. It is important to choose your furniture carefully, maximizing comfort and usability. Your interior designer will be able to find the perfect pieces to support both your style and the way you live.
Choosing color wisely can help you space feel more comfortable as well. Lighter colors and tonal schemes allow the walls to recede, making a room feel more spacious. Then you can add pops of color for visual interest without creating a claustrophobic feeling.
Finally, another secret to designing a beautiful small home is to take advantage of multi-functional furniture. For example, there are console tables that have flip up table tops that can be used as another dining table or activity space when needed. We also love to include ottomans in small spaces for their opportunities to create visual interest, but also as extra seating.
At Hoskins Interior Design, we believe good design is always important, but it is especially crucial to the success of small homes. You have fewer options and less opportunity to implement your design scheme, so each element must be carefully planned. We are enjoying the growth in smaller living. The challenges these projects offer have made our problem-solving and creative skills even better. We’d love to help you design your space, large or small. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317. 253.8986.
An important tenet of our interior design philosophy is personalization. We design homes with our clients in mind, considering both the personalities and the functional needs of the people who live there. One way people express their personalities is through collections, whether it be china, stamps, books, figurines or sports memorabilia. While they can be a lot of fun to create, collections can be difficult to display in an aesthetically pleasing way. Too often they can appear cluttered or busy, completely missing the opportunity to highlight and enjoy the pieces. One of our clients has a son who collects athletic shoes, possibly one of the more difficult collections to show off attractively! While we were designing a lower level bedroom and lounging suite for him, we turned a wall in the main living area into a display space for his collection. We created shelving built into the wall to minimize encroachment on foot traffic and added lighting. This design not only allowed him to highlight his collection to everyone who visits, but the shoes add color and dimension to the space. He is happy to have his passion out of hiding, and his parents are happy the shoes are organized and tidy. If your treasures are wasting away in a closet somewhere, give us a call. We will help you come up with a creative and engaging way for you to enjoy and showcase your collection. Send us an email, or give us a call at 317-253-8986.